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“I hate to say it but I think I’m several hundred years too old for these nick of time rescues.

A seventh doctor story complete with allusions to Shakespeare? Yep already off to a good start.

The Big Finish Solicit:

“Decades ago, the mysterious time-travelling Doctor and his cheerful companion Mel became the toast of the planet Prosper, when they brokered a peace between the native Mogera and humans from the colony ship The Duke of Milan.

But when the TARDIS at last returns to Prosper, the Doctor, Mel and their associate Ace find only a warzone. The burrowing Mogera have become brutal monsters, dominated by their terrifying leader Caliban – and it’s all the Doctor’s fault!”

This month we get to hear the Doctor go from Hero to Zero, one minute he’s basking in the glory of saving an entire world, the next he’s returned to find the place a shell of its former self and presumably the Doctor himself is to blame.

My Favorite Things From This Month’s Release:

  • A failed Doctor: We are led to believe that the Doctor has botched one of his heroic adventures so badly that he’s inadvertently started a war due to miscalculations he made decades ago the body count of this blunder is mighty steep. This is an interesting dynamic on a classic doctor, it’s not that we never see this kind of regret from classic doctors but typically this kind of self-pity and shame is reserved for the Modern Doctors post Time-War. It seems to work pretty well on Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor though as he’s willing to go to incredible lengths (the sort he’d never consider under the usual circumstances) in order to set things right.
  • Ace: it’s not uncommon for Ace and the Doctor to be separated in the course of story but this tale does a really great job of using that separation to put the plot points into all the right places and gives her breathing room to do the kinds of things that she doesn’t always get to do when she’s in the pacifistic company of the Doctor. She’s given a real chance to shine in this script.
  • The Mogerans: The native race of the planet Prosper is transformed into monstrous almost demonic looking beasts. As the plot deepens and more details are revealed it makes for a pretty interesting setup. At first I found myself disliking the Mogerans because their voices are quite slobbery and lispy. (That vocal quality is of course due to the large tusks or fangs that protrude from their mouths and makes complete sense but doesn’t make them any less annoying to listen to at times.) When Talpa’s plight becomes more obvious I really started to enjoy them and the twist the plot takes in regard to them.

Out of the most recent trilogy of Seventh Doctor stories (chronicling Mel’s return to travel with Seven and Ace) this story was more my cup of tea. I found the writing and allusions to The Tempest (William Shakespeare) to be quite clever without being too on the nose. I like that Mel’s intelligence and faith in the doctor are back on display in this tale. I like to see Ace back in action and confident without being too over the top excitable and bombastic. I think that this story bangs on all cylinders which results in a story that easily stands on it’s own. I like a story that  puts the Doctor at odds with his own decisions and makes him question whether he’s done the right thing after all. It makes the payoff of a  fantastically clever final confrontation all the sweeter in the end. Despite the fact that our protagonist is down in the dumps and doubting himself  a lot of the time, this story manages to be a good healthy dose of fun! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Doctor doesn’t mess up often… well okay unless he’s piloting the TARDIS to a specific time and place… but when he does it seems to be as grand a failure as his grand successes. Do you have a favorite tale of the Doctor’s failure? Let me know in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com.

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