Big Finish Audio Drama #33, 2002
<major spoilers in here so look out>
Wow. I didn’t remember just how good this one gets! The beginning of the tale, as Charley chooses to meet the Time Lords, is all one big build-up to the metal forest and meeting those Time Lords (and possibly others) banished in the Oubliette of Eternity. The deceptions are all around, from the Time Lords and the Neverpeople. Who is telling the truth? We find out slowly and it’s all very convincing…
Then comes the Doctor’s tete-a-tete with Rassilon and some things come together from previous episodes, where the voiceover came in out of nowhere. Rassilon, the guiding archetype of a grandfatherly figure for the whole Time Lord race. Is the quite so benevolent as he seems? Isn’t he dead? More to come on that mystery in Zagreus, which is 17 stories down the line! (sure took their time getting to that answer, didn’t they?)
But most of all, there was the Doctor’s refusal to kill Charley. His actions have led to the death of species and millions of people, leading them against the villains and killing off villains. Has he directly actually killed anyone for the good of the universe? It’s not clear but we do know that he will go to great lengths to save companions, such as Peri when the 5th Doctor regenerates due to a killer virus, giving her the only antidote. (yeah, yeah, if I was a total geek I’d know the name of the virus, the episode it happened in, the date, etc. I’m not that good of a geek! So revoke my geek badge. J)
The whole scene, Charley trying to convince him to kill her, the gun dropping to the floor, Centris arguing with the Doctor, Charley’s pleas… I just couldn’t help it, I cried. Comparing the Neverpeople to the Lost Boys in Peter Pan, with the Doctor as the Peter Pan, naturally, it was just amazing acting for an audio drama. “You’ve betrayed the whole web of time because you can’t bear to bloody your hands.” The Doctor has bloodied his hands for some serious things though not at the cost of friends, usually. Principles. He’s a character who sticks with his principles, that’s for sure.
Perhaps it was a moment where this type of story would get to me. All I know is that the build-up to the ending is magnificent in Neverland and far outweighs the conclusion in Zagreus. How the Doctor isn’t forced to regenerate by his actions is beyond me but the resulting pain he has to endure to save time itself, the energy backlash, it’s just amazing and crazy. My only question is who/what else does the Doctor have to save to get another set of regenerations? It’s making me nervous that they’re already up to 10 Doctors (including the TV show) and they’re talking about getting to #11 already. That’s just two actors left! What else does he have to do, who does he have to save? He can’t die at the end of his 12th regeneration!!! Oh dear, whatever would we do? Who would save us then???
“Zagreus sits inside your head / zagreus lives among the dead / zagreus sees you in your bed / and eats you when you’re sleeping
zagreus at the end of days / zagreus lies all other ways / zagreus comes when time’s a maze / and all of history’s weeping
zagreus taking time apart / zagreus fears the hero heart / zagreus seeks the final part / the reward that he is reaping
zagreus sings when all is lost / zagreus takes all those he’s crossed / zagreus wins and all is cost / the hero’s hearts he’s keeping
zagreus seeks the hero’s ship / zagreus needs the web to rip / zagreus sups time at a drip / and life aside, he’s sweeping
zagreus waits at the end of the world / for zagreus is the end of the world / his time is the end of time / and his moment time’s undoing”
Gallifreyan Nursery Rhyme (http://www.geocities.com/willbswift/docwho1.html)
Paul McGann and India Fisher
writer: Alan Barnes