Reviewed By: Guiannos
Review Date: 6/8/19 7:32 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
Continuity note: this story is part 2 in a linked pair of stories and the middle of a trilogy. The previous release is required for background to this one. All 3 are consecutive releases in the Companion Chronicles range.
"I was a god, from a race of gods" is how Stoyn reflects on his lost home and people. It says everything about how he feels about himself and how deeply his loss affects him having been abducted from his home, from his life. All that he knew, all that he loved, was taken from him by the Doctor's careless and he has sworn revenge. In the previous story he was separated from Gallifrey for centuries while he, the Doctor, and Susan were suspended in time. Now we meet him again centuries later, possibly millennia, while he has quietly tracked the Doctor in an attempt to recapture the TARDIS to return home and to see the Doctor punished for his meddling across time and space.
The plot of this part is better than the last but still on the thin side. We're introduced to a floating city on a watery world near the end of its life. The planet is alive and supports the meager people who live on it and Stoyn has adopted a leadership role, helping the people along while enacting his plot to capture technology in the ultimate hopes of escape. Stoyn is more interesting here, half mad from centuries alone, frustrated by time sensitivity in places where the timelines are in flux, and obsessed with revenge and escape for so long that he's lost sight of himself and his original purpose. He's a tragic figure as a villain and made more so by the fact that the Doctor never apologizes, never owns his mistake in abducting and crippling the man to begin with. As a continuation, Stoyn has a pretty satisfactory arc across these 2 stories and could have been done without the third chapter.
What makes this story interesting, though, is how it handles the Time Lords and Gallifrey in general. Where The Beginning derived strength more from the knowledge of the listener by connecting dots it assumes the audience knows, Dying Light takes the opposite approach and comes from the perspective of Jamie and Zoe who know nothing yet of the Doctor's planet and people. Chronologically this release would fall sometime nearly before The War Games and Stoyn heavily foreshadows the closing events of that story. The result is pretty unique in that this isn't a great story on its own, it is improved by the previous story that was heavily entrenched in series lore, but it becomes even better if the listener knows *less* not more about what happens next. It makes for an interesting bookend with the previous story as a nostalgic live note to the black & white era, one piece exploring the beginning and the other the ending when Gallifrey was introduced on television.
Stoyn's story is not yet complete but it could have ended here.