DrWho_BF_AnimalLost Story 2.05
Written by Andrew Cartmell (from a story by Ben Aaronovitch) Directed by Ken Bentley
Released June 2011

The TARDIS lands in the near future of 2001, much to the annoyance of Ace and the bemusement of the Doctor. The U.N.I.T. forces are anticipating the arrival of the time travelers and Brigadier Winifred Bambera (last seen in the Season 26 opener Battlefield). The Doctor is curious about what is going on within the walls of Margrave University, which U.N.I.T. has under close security. A mysterious revolutionary force threatens the university from within, prompting both Raine and Ace to go undercover. Man-eating plants and revolutionary idealists are the least of the Doctor's worries, however. Not far off an alien vessel is watching and things are about to get much more complicated.

The 'lost' 27th Season is a bit of a muddied mess, but at least with Cartmell and Bentley at the helm they are consistent and fit within the tone of the previous transmitted year's worth of adventures. There is a healthy dose of humor, action, social commentary and convoluted narratives (or plans within plans) that place this adventure on equal footing with the preceding two years' worth of stories. McCoy and Aldred are in fine form and relative newcomer Beth Chalmers is a welcome addition as the upper class safe cracker Raine Creevy. The chemistry between the three performers is so good that it is frustrating that we never got to see it on screen, but this is a close approximation.

The plot of Animal is more than a bit ropy as it turns from the revolutionary cell thread to the man-eating monsters to an entirely different threat from the unfortunately named Numlocks. Summoned by the revolutionaries, the Numlocks appear to be benevolent creatures seeking to free the research subjects of Margrave University, but of course are far from harmless. The first half of Animal sets up the dilemma of an alien race offering a peaceful solution to the carnivorous and harmful race quite well, but the resolution is far too pat and convenient for its own good.

While I was disappointed by the logic of Animal, the dialog was inspired in places, especially when Raine realizes her father (who had been established cleverly in two stories) has died by 2001. In her moment of shock, the Doctor presents a calming message regarding the passage of time and the place of the travelers within that stream. It's a very touching scene made all the more poignant by the inability of either Raine and Ace to understand. Only the Doctor, a being whose life has been an aimless journey through time and space, is capable of perceiving the rich tapestry of time.


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