Big Finish Audio Drama #89, 2006
Rob Dixon plays Sergeant Wood, an ape of an officer in this story, as well as Reggie Mead in Project: Twilight. And he’s just an evil guy in both stories and since they’re tied together somewhat, it’s understandable to use the same actor. Hints for those who recognize voices? Torturing Hex is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to listen to in all of these audio adventures. Why is it that Hex has to experience the hardest, most evil type of stuff they’ve thrown at any companion in awhile?! That emotional aspect to the story makes it very strong and have more of an impact. Though I’m not sure if that makes it a better story or not…
Captain Dudgeon’s the voice of reason and his story is actually more amazing and telling about the war. He’s ridiculed about seeing an angel on the battlefield. So there are stories of pain and crazy people gone even further mad. Post traumatic stress disorder is everywhere. The morning Hate is their daily brainwashing as the troops are getting ready to be part of a crack team of crazy fighters. There isn’t an actual alien threat to this but instead, a twisted human thought behind the crafting of zombie supersoldiers. And the Forge, naturally. They do seem to crop up in the 7th Doctor stories more than others. Sixth and seventh doctor, anyway. Peter Davison and Paul McGann haven’t run across them in any audios, though.
This story has a very convoluted beginning and a rather straightforward ending to wrap it all up, strangely enough. The brainwashing of the soldiers doesn’t allow them to think of how to kill most effectively or efficiently without being killed themselves—they don’t care about that. Instead Lieutenant-Colonel Brook develops killers without conscience and becomes a victim himself. Having Hex be subjected to the Hate room seems almost pointless, actually. It gives the storywriters something additional to add to his character further down the line but it sure doesn’t make a difference in this story or in Nocturne, the next story he’s in. But there’s always that opportunity down the line and it could just be the thing that makes it impossible for him to continue traveling with the Doctor. He goes from unassuming nurse, son of a vampire, to tragedy of the Doctor in double doses. Though from what Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor tells Evelyn in Arrangements for War, Hex lives happily. Unless he was lying?
I really do like how Ace and Hex talk about his dad and mom, Cassandra Elizabeth Scofield. Hex thinks about her and misses her, wants to know what really happened to her. Will the Doctor ever tell him? I do wonder. Seems fair but wouldn’t it also be hurtful? Something the Doctor will keep to himself except in case of need, when manipulation is required for good or for bad. He doesn’t seem to have too many humorous adventures these days. They are more serious and dangerous than, say Bang-Bang-a-Boom. And until the Forge issue is confronted, I seriously don’t see Hex and the Doctor airing out their differences or seeing what they really mean to each other until that happens. Can’t wait! It will be fraught with tension and dangerous for sure, across the board. It was difficult to decide whether to give this a three or four jelloid rating but I went with a four because of the characters. The story arc is good to very good but the crazy cast of characters really wouldn’t have changed much with or without the Doctor’s presence. Though it might’ve kept on going longer before disaster struck!
Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, and Philip Olivier
writer: Martin Day
director: John Ainsworth