Doctor Who: Stranded 4 – Crossed Lines & Get Andy Review

The often divisive Stranded sub-series reaches its final phase and with a set that is no less divisive, though most of that comes in the second half. As for these first two episodes? Well, they continue the time and alternate Earth shenanigans with The Doctor, his companions, his neighbours and a near-immortal time-travelling moody teenager / evil despot named Robin. Let’s take a look!

Fresh from seeing Robin push a big button that ends all of humanity The Doctor, Liv and Helen (Paul McGann, Nicola Walker, and Hattie Morahan) meet back up with Tania (Rebecca Root) and discuss what happened, including seemingly losing Andy (Tom Price). This leads to The Doctor and Helen zipping back to a few months in the past to try and stop the young Robin (Joel James Davison) moving away from Baker Street and starting on his long journey into insanity, while Liv stays with Tania. This is the key set-up of “Crossed Lines” as The Doctor and Helen meet a young Robin and start to mess about with time, but also meet a slightly younger Tania, which makes the Tania in the “present” go through a great deal of pain due to his timeline re-writing itself over and over. Liv takes Tania to see The Curator but instead of the older Tom Baker its an older Colin Baker, who claims his version of the Curator is a bit more willing to directly help (but still not giving anything away as to the true nature of the character).

It works really well, to be fair. The Doctor desperately tries to “save” Robin while Liv tries to save Tania with the help of the far future version of The Doctor (seemingly), then eventually the two timelines “collide” and we get a neat revelation leading to the next episode. As usual Nicola Walker and Rebecca Root work well as a pair, and while Colin Baker is maybe a little bit too “Doctor-y” compared to the original Curator, it still works well enough.

I don’t know what going on to the right of the cast but they seem pretty shocked about it!

“Get Andy”, as you may imagine, is all about The Doctor’s new realisation that he can change time without any worry about damaging the web of time any further so he goes back to the previous box set’s climax and tries to save Andy. This is where having a spoiler section at the end of the review is challenging because it’s hard to talk too much about this episode without spoiling the end of the previous one, or indeed the end of this one, but I can say I didn’t enjoy this episode as much. It had a similar theme to the previous episode and a long drawn out sequence with The Doctor that, while well acted by Mr. McGann, was not engaging at all because I knew it wasn’t actually going to have any consequence.

The Continuity:

Much like a lot of Stranded the only continuity is with the prior three box sets or the next two episodes in this set. You can just click on the Eighth Doctor link at the top of the site and find all of them there if you want to know more!

Overall Thoughts:

I enjoyed “Crossed Lines” and how it played with the often-used timeline jolting / alternate timelines stuff but “Get Andy” was more of the same but not done as well as wastes far too much time on a “dramatic sequence” that every listener knows full well won’t actually mean anything so it just kept going on for no reason. Looks like I’ll have to break out the split scores again!

Episode 1 – Crossed Lines:

Episode 2 – Get Andy:

So the big revelation in “Crossed Lines” is that the mysterious Mr. Bird (Clive Wood) from the first box set is actually an older Robin who had gone back in time to try and stop The Doctor and change history himself, or keep it on course because he thinks there’s no way of changing it. During the episode however he becomes convinced he can actually change fate and be like his hero The Doctor and leaves to do so.

This is what the big thing is in “Get Andy”, when The Doctor goes back to save the Welshman he finds the ship empty and ends up getting caught in the same explosion that killed Andy in the first place. It turns out that Mr. Bird, in his first act of trying to be The Doctor, went back and saved Andy first, bringing him to a dystopian Earth which then slowly melded into a regular timeline version of Earth the further Andy got from Bird (long story!). Meanwhile The Doctor very slowly dies as the remaining air in a bubble created by the TARDIS runs out, and I mean SLOWLY. He talks to projections of Liv and Helen as he goes and its all very dramatic but again, we know he’s not going to die and it’s even resolved by the end of this very episode, so all it did was waste time and be over dramatic for the sake of it.

Anyway, the Andy that arrives with Liv and Helen in the present ends up fading away when they go back and have The Doctor save Andy instead, meaning the Andy that went through all the hell with Mr. Bird never existed. This Andy’s struggles just reminded me of what Tania went through in the previous episode, so it kind of fell flat the second time round…

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