Big Finish Audio Drama #79, 2006
It all starts out mysteriously enough, with Ace seeing a dead body under the water in a lake and Hex talking about dreams of an operating theatre. The first part of this adventure has some very witty and cutting dialog in it. For example,
Major Dickens: “So, this is to be a battle of the minds, is it Doctor?”
Doctor: “So nice of you to come unarmed.”
Sue is really the most interesting character of the story. She has Happy, her crazy rabbit character and things get kind of kooky for everyone eventually. I had just two issues with the story—how the Doctor goes back and actually encourages them to kill Edie as it’s just not his style, as it were. And that he doesn’t realize that Edie is out there in the end. That seems like a possibility he would normally not dismiss quite so readily. Or perhaps he’s just allowing things to take their course, allowing Edie to get her revenge on the last person responsible for her and her mother Maggie’s deaths. He is the great schemer incarnation so that would be a scheme for him, though usually he is against killing, no matter what.
It does strain credulity a bit that the Doctor, Ace, Hex, and Dr. O’Neil all show up on the island around the same time. The atmosphere for this tale is really well done! There are plenty of spooky moments and Ace is definitely doing a bit more than her usual share of being the girl in peril thing. By charging ahead, she puts herself in danger several times over in this tale. Which is mostly normal but the amount of danger is a tad higher than we usually hear, I think. The whole lack of eyes thing is pretty gruesome and the ending sound effect to the whole story just made me go cold all over. Blech. Not a nice way to go. I’m not actually sure how the Major keeps everyone imprisoned there. It’s not always cold and dark there, surely! It’s not that far north, is it?
This story is also timeless—there is nothing to really place it in a particular part of history. There aren’t corsets and bad boots so it could be any time in our modern age, past WWII, that is. The sporadic electricity and lack of phone service is a bit odd but with it being a deserted island, it could be understandable. Except they do have to get food somewhere! And they just believe that the Major called for the police? Hmmm. Not sure if I buy that one. This is the third story after Hex joins the team and his medical knowledge isn’t put to much use here but he is presented as more independent. He’s investigating despite the Doctor’s warnings to stay in his room. Ace is playing it safe and getting put in more troubles for her caution. I really loved this audio the first time I heard it but there are a few too many issues to really give it the excellent mark. But it is very good and spooky to the last! Excellently written dialog, too. So four jelloids it is!
Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, and Philip Olivier
writers: Edward Young