Bloodtide (#22)

Big Finish Main Range

Of all of the Dr. Evelyn Smythe stories, I think this one is the best. She wanders off with Darwin at one point and the Captain of the Beagle at another, doing some exploring mentally and physically. I really love Evelyn as a good counterpoint to Colin Baker’s Doctor. She’s got the personality and intellect to match him, which should make for some great stories. But alas, some writers just don’t quite know what to do with that.

Luckily, this is not true of this story! It’s an excellent little tale of Baquerizo Moreno, a town with a huge prison that holds no prisoners and has no guards. Now this may be something fine and wonderful for the governor of the island, Lawson, but wouldn’t his superiors and the townsfolk notice this? No jobs for them as no guards are required. Perhaps Lawson and the Silurians have depopulated the town so heavily no one’s noticed? Just seemed like the one big glaring weak point in the story but it honestly didn’t bother me much.

Shvak ends up being the hero in her death but ultimately, the Doctor does what he preaches against usually—send the bad guys to their deaths using their own weapons against them, namely the murker. The actors all seem to be having a good time and the story moves along very nicely. The bad guys remain hidden for awhile so the mystery of the town is set up nicely. I think it’s always a good thing to keep the audience from actually “seeing” who the bad guys are right up front. Keep it a bit mysterious, especially as Dr. Who can have the formulaic bad guys with Daleks, Cybermen, and the like, always out to conquer the universe.

This story is a rather nice adventure for Evelyn and the Doctor, too. And it’s a really nice touch and shows how much he respects Evelyn already by actually taking her somewhere she wants to go! All very nicely done.

Colin Baker and Maggie Stables

Writer: Jonathan Morris

Director: Gary Russell

Release: July 2001

Laura Vilensky 2019