Cousin Justine is a prisoner, enslaved by an Egyptian deity
on a billion-year cruise across the universe. As Cousin Eliza
and the Society of Sigismondo di Rimini go to desperate lengths
to locate her, Justine becomes embroiled within Osirian court
politics. Neither knows that they are on a collision course
towards a confrontation with Sutekh the destroyer...
seems like a billion years since I heard the previous instalment
of this story, Coming
to Dust. In fact the gap was substantial enough
at over seven months. Happily, the plot is surprisingly easy
to slip back into.
my confusion regarding Sutekh's (Gabriel Woolf) apparently
active status in 1763 (as opposed to being imprisoned in Pyramids
of Mars), I am pleased to report that this
is explained in this episode. Apparently time flows differently
for Osirians than it does for us mere humans, and sometimes
in different directions, so the events of Pyramids
have not yet happened as far as Sutekh is concerned (though
there are hints that his clash with 140 of his fellow Osirians
is not that far away). The title of the piece is also a pretty
big clue that time travel is involved.
and Julian Glover (as Upuat) played relatively minor roles
in Coming to Dust, but here they well and truly come
into their own. This episode contains a veritable clash of
the titans as the rich voices of two great villains from the
Tom Baker era of Doctor Who exchange verbal barbs.
OK, so Glover isn't actually playing Scaroth from City
of Death, but it's easy to imagine that he
is, especially when he mentions time fields. (Come to think
of it, a splinter of Scaroth existed in ancient Egypt. That
would be an interesting topic for a future adventure: Scaroth
minor vocal nit-pick is that all the characters pronounce
the name of Sutekh's people the way it is spelt, whereas it
was pronounced "Osiran" in Pyramids of Mars. Perhaps
writer Lawrence Miles and the rest of the production team
wish to correct what they see as an oversight in that earlier
serial. Alternatively, maybe this is a cunning get-out clause
in case of legal action from the BBC, in that the makers could
claim this is a different race of beings than the ones used
in Doctor Who!
also an amusing double entendre as Eliza (Jane Lesley) encounters
Sutekh in a space-time tunnel and asks: "What are you doing
in my passage?"
though, this episode (and somehow that word doesn't do justice
to this packed 79-minute escapade) is a satisfying resolution
to the current Faction Paradox tale.