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Reviews By Drew Vogel
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 12/4/17 9:02 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This episode begins right where the last one left off. Then we get lots of good Dalek-fighting action, giving us our first real look at the Fearless in action, and they do not disappoint. Unfortunately, in the course of the battle, the Daleks decide to completely destroy Kedru VII, which is the planet where Kade's wife and child were living after having evacuated Tallis Minor in the previous episode. It is not at all clear why the Daleks would target that planet, but it's a key step in Kade's character development.

So we get a longish mid-section where the story focuses on the aftermath of that battle, particularly Kade's grief. Landen convinces Kade to rejoin the war effort by convincing him to go after the Angel of Mercy.

I have mixed feelings about this, I must say. It makes sense that the Earth Alliance would want to kill the Angel of Mercy, and it makes sense that someone like Kade would get the job. But then the story suddenly jumps to Suz's point-of-view, and we're introduced to new characters and a completely new storyline. The result is that this episode, taken on its own, is profoundly unsatisfying. It wraps up the previous episode and sets up the subsequent episode, but it doesn't have its own story to tell. It doesn't even give us very much of a clue as to what the story is now.

So the story is now half over, and other than the ongoing Kade/Landen relationship, which is very good, I have no idea what the story is about.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 12/2/17 2:41 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"Helicon Prime" is a fairly mediocre story combined with a fairly mediocre performance. Oh, I know everyone raves about how well Frazer Hines does the second Doctor, and that's true enough. It's a remarkable impersonation. But to me, that's really not very important. The actor's job in a Companion Chronicle is to perform the story. Being able to do a convincing impression of another actor is a neat trick, and it's impressive in its way, but it has nothing to do with a good performance. Peter Purves didn't sound much like William Hartnell. Certainly, Purves sounded far less like Hartnell than Hines sounds like Troughton. But Purves gave a better performance of that story than Hines did of this one.

To be fair, part of that might be attributable to the fact that "Mother Russia" is just a better story. Frazer Hines certainly doesn't do a bad job with the material her's given. But he doesn't do much to elevate it, either. The end result is that it feels like someone is reading you a story, rather than telling you a story, and that makes all the difference in the world

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 11/30/17 8:28 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

It's a nice bit of foreshadowing to set this story after Erimem's departure, but to release it before Erimem gets her departure story. It creates an added level of anticipation for the (then) forthcoming "The Bride of Peladon". The script is also careful not give anything away. Erimem is gone, and the Doctor and Peri are sad, but that's all we know.

There is a certain level of weirdness to this story that strikes me as arbitrary and forced. At its core, the story is about introducing the Viyrans, and the specifics about what happens to Peri under the influence of the virus really doesn't matter. Basically, the story is one-half a bunch of meaningless stuff happening, and one-half exposition. But the exposition half is really interesting. The idea that the Viyrans need to suppress Peri's memory in a way that doesn't make her suspicious is an interesting one, and the dynamic between Peri and the implacable Viyrans is very good.

Incidentally, this story was written by Nicholas Briggs, not Colin Brake. The previous 3-part/1-part releases have both stories written by the same writer. This represents a departure from that format.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 11/30/17 8:18 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

There's a lot in this story that's a little hard to swallow. The idea of plants causing people to fall into lucid dreams isn't so bad, but the idea of someone else being able to enter those dreams is a little ropey. But only a little. It gets a little worse when you realize the Doctor is having a conversation within Erimem's dream outside of Erimem's presence or awareness. That's a serious problem. The dreams make sense when they're told from the point of view of the dreamer. The Doctor's scene with Kharto breaks the premise.

Still, plausibility isn't necessarily all that important when it comes to "Doctor Who" stories. Problems like this only bother me a little bit. The bigger problem is that, with so much time given over to telling these isolated dream-stories in a three-part adventure, there's very little room for telling the story about the scientific/military expedition's nefarious plans to exploit the plants. In the CD Extras, there's a lot of discussion about how they just couldn't get four-episode worth of story out of the premise, but the non-dream portions of the story are so rushed that I feel like a little more space could only have helped.

The dreams themselves are interesting mostly for what they tell us, by implication, about Peri and Erimem. Although, given the premise (the the dreams are designed to pacify people long enough for the plants to consume them), I'm surprised the dreams are so filled with conflict and struggle. I would have expected them to be more pleasantly seductive. Of course, filling them with drama and conflict make them more entertaining to listen to.

So the dreams are reasonably entertaining, and the three-episode format means that the story never wears out its welcome. But it doesn't amount to much, and the whole thing ends up being rather forgettable.

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