Screenplay by Barbara Clegg.
Doctor Who: Enlightenment is the conclusion to the Black Guardian Trilogy, which finally reveals the Black Guardian’s presence to the Doctor, and resolves Vislor Turlough’s role in events by giving him the chance at redemption. I mostly disliked part one, Mawdryn Undead, mostly liked part two, Terminus, and for Enlightenment, I’m going to say I unfortunately felt as if it could have given me more.
Enlightenment, the Doctor says, is a choice. The choice Turlough had to either give the Doctor over to the Black Guardian in trade for a source of power, also named Enlightenment. The power was sought by the competitors as the prize in a space race of sailing ships, which is an interesting, original idea. The Guardians don’t have corporeal form, so make entertainment by experimenting with Ethereal beings. It’s a neat concept, but it quickly runs out of steam because it doesn’t really go anywhere. The majority of the plot is spent below decks, despite the outer space element being far more exciting, especially for the grand conclusion to a mini-anniversary story arc.
Also – who’s idea was it to cast Lynda Baron? To say this was made during a period of 1980s stunt-casting (this serial’s: Leee John), she’s by-far the most annoying aspect. In fact, I’d go so far to say she could be the worst casting choice of any episode. I liked her in Closing Time, which I think is underrated (if not by much), but here she hams it up more than any other actor I’ve seen in anything! The scene where she achieves Enlightenment is just confusing – what was happening there?
Ultimately, Enlightenment is a story where not much really happens. The events that happen are triggered by Turlough’s totally out of field attempt at suicide by space suffocation, and having only seen it the once, I find it difficult to really remember anything that actually happened after that until the meeting between the Guardians. So then we get the scene with Turlough’s choice, and the realisation that darkness and light by definition can’t be extinguished until there’s no longer a place or way for them to exist, prompting the famous line of Enlightenment not being the crystal but the choice, which I guess is true. On the journey to the crystal, he’d learnt enough to know he didn’t want to go through with it. It’s a good story, but feels unrealised and it isn’t really until the end that it seems to know exactly what it wants to be. It’s really more suitable for an animated Disney adventure than a Doctor Who serial.
Doctor Who: Enlightenment – concept and message forgettably unrealised 4/10.