By Steve Gallagher
“I'll miss you. You were the noblest Romana of them all.”
Looking for a way out of E – Space The Doctor and Romana are surprised to see a strange creature enter the TARDIS and pilot it to an empty white space that looks more like a void. The void is the gateway and it holds the key to getting home and back to normal space. The creature that did all this is called Biroc and he is a Tharil. The Tharil’s are slaves by the humans that are also stuck in the gateway looking for a way out. Biroc explains that they are time sensitive and can navigate the timewinds.
The gateway is the only exit from E- Space but The Doctor notices it is contracting and will close in on itself. The Doctor learns a lot about the Tharils by entering through the mirror and goes back in time to when they were the masters and the humans were the slaves. Then the party is interrupted by the Gundans who are robotic soldiers that carry axes and are ruthless to the core and enslave the Tharils.
The Doctor has more problems as the crazy commander of the ship that is trapped with Rorvick wants to get through the mirror as he thinks that is the way home. The problem is he is trying to use force to get through the mirror and that will kill everything in the void. So its up to The Doctor and Romana to save the Tharils and find a way home
Warriors’ Gate is the last story in the E – Space Trilogy but more importantly it is the last time that Romana will be a companion of The Doctor as her character would remain in E – Space and help to free the Tharils from slavery with the help of K – 9 who goes with her. Lalla Ward was a decent Romana and her character grew on you but was better in season 18 than in 17 were her character was just a screamer and kept getting captured and just wasn’t as smart as she was when she was played by Mary Tamm. But in season 18 and especially this story she was really good and makes you wonder what could have been if they wrote the character differently.
Warriors’ Gate is a strange story but one that I enjoy. The science fiction aspect of it is pretty cool with the gateway and the time travel aspect of it. I liked the concept of being touched by the time winds allows you to be able to go through the mirror and experience a surreal world that has a completely different feel to it. The scenery behind the mirror always impressed me even when I was a kid watching it for the first time. I always wished there was a place like that because it looked pretty cool.
What sets Warriors’ Gate apart from most stories in Doctor Who is the big slavery message it convayes. Biroc tells The Doctor “The weak enslaves themselves” as The Doctor chastises them for being the masters the Gundan spoke of. The enslavers and what happens to the Tharils is that they become enslaved themselves by the humans they had as slaves. It is a cruel turn of events and now they are the ones that are looking to be free after a taste of their own medicine.
This story was mainly a green screen story for the most part as there were some sets used. It was pretty clever to try this and make the void look decent for the time. It is far better attempt than Underworld which was a horrendous green screen story. I liked the fact that it was something different and that makes Doctor Who so special as you can do different things that most shows cannot.
Watching this story you can tell that Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were not having fun and enjoying themselves. Hell Mathew Waterhouse who’s Adric was regulated to the background didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. Well this was the time that Tom Baker wasn’t having fun and he was leaving plus he was fighting an illness so he just did not have his usual go lucky performance that we all know and have enjoyed for years. Lots of behind the scene bickering about the script also hurt Warriors’ Gate but I still enjoyed the story.
Warriors’s Gate ended the E- Space trilogy on a high note as all three stories were pretty good and could stand alone without the trilogy linking aspect. Warriors’ Gate was also a good departure story for Romana as the character really found a purpose and a cause to get behind. Plus it is also the last time we see K – 9 also as this is the last time he is a regular on the show and stays to help Romana. Warriors’ Gate is a fine story from a good season.
Grade B –