Mindbomb (2006)

The penultimate adventure of the third series is a story that is arguably the finest story so far. This sees the first Gallifreyan elections in hundreds of years. The story is written by Justin Richards (Red Dawn) and his previous two stories have been interesting but slightly complex to understand. Both The Inquiry and Pandora had lots of good things about them but this is his best offering. Over the course of the last few stories there has been a steady build up to these elections and the lack of clarity over who’s President of the High Council of Timelords needed resolving and this is where it needed to be resolved. The story has three candidates in Romana, Darkel and Matthias. It’s clear from the outset that Matthias is the one that’s going to steal the presidency. Whilst Romana and Darkel are bickering about whether certain rules apply and whether Romana is eligible to stand for office and when people become president can they excuse political prisoners and so on and so forth.

Matthias has become one the best characters of the series and his rise to the ultimate prize has been a well handled and well crafted one. He has gone from being a nice normal character to being quite a caniving one and that’s what good about him. Stephen Perring’s performances have always been solid. His slyness was on par if not ahead of Darkel’s at times and Darkel has been the prime baddie throughout. Lalla Ward is very good now that Romana is back to full health. Now that’s she an ex-President there is a different feel to the character. However the relationship between Romana and Leela has been neglected to a certain degree over the last few stories however it doesn’t mean that Louise Jameson has suffered as a result. In fact she seems to have a new lease of life following her blindness. Jameson has more to do than just say that her blade thirsts for blood. She has come on leaps and bounds recently.

The story marks a surprise return of Braxiatel who’s return well and truly comes out of the blue. The moment that it was becoming clear that he was going to be named as president and not Darkel was one of the most enjoyable moments that I can recall whilst listening to this series. The idea that he is still regarded as Chancellor before and due to some long winded reason, he is still Chancellor and becomes President. However it’s a short lived joy when he accidentally admits placing Darkel under arrest was a political point and has to rather embarrisingly let her go. It’s a this point that he starts to stumble over his words. This is when an exciting story steps up a gear and it’s not long before Darkel’s demise sets up the end of the story and also the end to the Pandora story arc well and truly. I am gutted that Darkel has gone because I thought that Lynda Bellingham was one of the best things about the series next to Romana and Leela. Her demise was quite brutal and it was possibly the only way that the character could have been written out. I’m hoping that she returns in future stories.

Despite being 75 minutes long it didn’t feel like it. I would have said closer to 50 minutes and its surprising how they fit so much in it. The story is a wonderful adventure with the political side of the series getting comfortable centre stage and not wanting to budge. After all the epic things that happened in this story its quite a interesting thing to work out just how would they end series three.

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