Sunday, May 10, 2009

P4 - The Warlords

Somewhat oddly, after so much emphasis is given to Richard I and his deteriorating relations with Saladin over the past three episodes, the main focus of the final installment of The Crusade switches over to Ian's (eventual) rescue of Barbara. Barbara, in a disappointing turn after that wicked cliffhanger from the last episode, manages to quickly escape the clutches of El Akir and hides out in a harem for the rest of the episode.

Meanwhile, The Doctor and Vicki's only goal is getting back to the TARDIS. After being involved in the midst of the intrigue of the court for three episodes, to have the main protagonist of the show all but removed from the proceedings is unfortunate.

All of a sudden, after a terrific third episode, the story ends with a bit of a whimper. It's a great shame that we see so little of the wonderful Julian Glover in this episode (he features in only two scenes, and minimally at that). We only hear about Richard's eventual fate in passing from The Doctor, and Joanna's involvement in the story also comes to an anticlimactic end.

The Crusade is, in the end, a serial that adds up to less than the sum of its parts. Great acting, great writing, great costumes, great scenes...but no one subplot carries through the full four episodes. Thus, it all feels a bit empty and unresolved, but it still is a fun ride along the way to disappointment.


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