The Prisoner's Dilemma

Big Finish Audio Drama, Companion Chronicles, January 2009

This audio is actually more interesting than it’s “companion” audio, The Judgment of Isskar.  This is the introduction to the Key 2 Time trilogy and the sister to Amy, who chooses the Doctor as her mentor and helper.  Zara finds a different path, where she is betrayed by Zink and yet, he returns and she turns the tables on him, eventually.  She is used and learns to use others.  It’s an intriguing concept—this woman is born an adult and learns how to cope using the coping mechanisms given to her by the people she interacts with at first, latches onto, even.

Everything is tumbling all over each other and the Doctor makes a cameo or two in here, unspeaking but watching.  And Ace is, once again, in danger and comes away damaged but we know that the Doctor will be able to fix her up.  Though how well isn’t clear.  And the damage that Zink and Zara try to do actually causes the opposite to happen and the world becomes part of the universe again.  But the trail to the conclusion is a meandering one, though mostly in time.  We move back and forth between Zara’s perspective and Ace’s to gain our understanding.  And we only are marginally ahead of the action, instead of able to put it all together outside of what we are listening to.

It works out really well, though.  I like the way this is written and I think it definitely is more interesting to listen to than The Judgment of Isskar.  Even in its disjointed moments, this audio makes sense and eventually the story unfolds and I can put it together.  It’s not as convoluted as Brotherhood of the Daleks but the story makes me pay attention as it wanders the path it needs to go.  On its own, I think I would rate it more of a 3 jelloid audio as it’s good but not excellent.  Something about the production seemed a bit cobbled together but perhaps that’s a result of the way the story is told?  But it’s definitely a good intro to the Key 2 Time audios and more compelling than The Judgment of Isskar ends up being.

Sophie Aldred and Laura Doddington (Zara)

writer: Simon Guerrier

director: Lisa Bowerman