Vol. 4: Ruler of the Universe

  Big Finish Special Release

 

The City and the Clock

This second series with Bernice and the alternate universe Doctor, played by David Warner, starts out with a ghost story of sorts. Bernice is digging up the mythical Apocalypse Clock, which may hold the key to saving the universe by locking away part of it from the Great Darkness that is devouring the universe. This story takes place around the dig to find it but it’s always surrounded by the demands the presidency puts on the Doctor. And apparently he either isn’t good at it or other people have expectations he cannot meet. Politics were never his strong suit.

This story is my least favorite of the bunch as it’s short on humor and long on angst, which is fine but not nearly so entertaining as the other stories in this volume. There are ghosts and cults and natives with ideas of how the clock will work. And ultimately I’m not sure where this dig is but the clock must be dug up and I missed it? Later stories have the clock set to work so I’m just not sure.

Asking for a Friend

The Doctor in therapy? WOW. This story is just amazing and unique. Not only does the Doctor have a therapist, he tries to set her past on a “happier” path and she meets Benny, which isn’t a happy friendly type of meeting. Benny is on the Doctor’s side but she definitely doesn’t always give off that impression… I found this story to be minorly tedious at times but wow, it just winds up and up and up! Nicely done, James Goss!

Truant

The Doctor runs away from the Presidency in order to try to help defeat some bad guys in the universe and they all just surrender as soon as he shows up. That is amazing and funny! Then Benny catches up to him and they get gassed, which he finds intensely fun and thrilling, to Benny’s horror. But they find out about an ages old invasion and meet the remaining native on the planet, to their horror. This story has plenty of funny moments where the Doctor and Benny get to have fun solving a mystery and having an adventure. I kept expecting the Doctor to say he quits being President so he can go back to rescuing but with the universe shrinking, he would have less places to rescue. Another fun story in the volume!

The True Savior of the Universe

<spoilers in this one>

An evil robot, the Master returns and wines and dines, Benny, politics and machinations are going on from every quarter, but then it turns out it was all up to one man, who planned out the whole adventure from the start. There is a theory that the Apocalypse Clock is set up to release ancient aliens from the dawn of this universe, which the Master does by finishing the calculations the Doctor started. And the Doctor swoops in, steals the energy to return Benny home. It’s a magnificent end to everything with the Doctor saving the universe, dumping the Presidency on the Master, and also abandoning the universe. So now he has a tiny TARDIS in our universe, presumably, and is raring to having more adventures. A wickedly good ending though it just takes some tedium to get there.


Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), David Warner (The Doctor), Sam Kisgart (The Master), Samantha Beárt (Chamu), Ben Arogundade (Joto), Stephen Critchlow (Leonard), Ben Crystal (Hood), Guy Adams (Host), Annette Badland (Guilana), Wilf Scolding (Radio / Mogron), Catrin Stewart (Killian), Jonathan Bailey (Lakis), Rhys Jennings (Slaygar), Oliver Mason (Sordo), Rowena Cooper (Mother Superior), Hattie Hayridge (Ebbis / Morlick)

Writers: Guy Adams, James Goss

Director: Scott Handcock

Release: September 2017

© Laura Vilensky 2018