Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 9/20/17 5:28 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
At the Pinehill Crest Hotel in Kent, three random events with seemingly no connection are all taking place at the same time. One is a cross-stitch event, quiet and content. Another is a scientific convention based around a time travel experiment. The other one is a New Age spiritualism gathering with a dark motive behind it: to summon the dreaded Scourge to Earth. When the Seventh Doctor, Ace, and archaeologist Bernice Summerfield are pulled in to the commotions, threats come at them from all sides and all angles dark and mysterious. But what is on the Doctor's mind by his actions and this time is he going too far? Minus the horrendously bad cover art (I mean seriously.....it looks like it was photoshopped together in the worst possible way), this is a story that does what future stories such as "Nekromanteia" try (albeit with a very different premise and setting) and succeeds. One of the first stories Big Finish used to step into continuity outside the show, 'Shadow' takes darker and more adult ideas (in this case centered around depression) and tackles them in a very mature way without losing itself to shock and over the top parody as well as existing very well as a great Doctor Who story. The plot starts off relatively inconsequentially but gets bigger and more epic as time goes by and more details are revealed that connect everything together and while the tone is a little bit all over the place with so much going on, the themes and good elements here tie everything together in a way that other stories have a hard time with. There are also a ton of surprises and twists going on here full of drama, humor, and power that makes this one stand out from Big Finish's initial run of stories. Sylvester McCoy is wonderful here and his portrayal of Seven's Machiavellian manipulator is on full display here which has always been his most intriguing quality. From minute 1 of this story, this Doctor knows exactly what is going on and what he has to do with the Scourge to order to save everything. At the same time however, the alien menace this time around have prepared for him and so he's forced to compensate through most of the story in a surprising way that keeps things extremely interesting. His two companions Ace and Benny are great here too in the humorous sarcastic hardass kind of way that really makes this team one that I need to listen to more often. The supporting cast are extremely varied in terms of performance and plot but they all work well for the most part even if it gets a little confusing jumping between all of their conventions at first. The threat of the Scourge is also much more unsettling than Doctor Who usually goes with its one-off monsters and the performances of the cast really sell them as an intimidating foe. Despite a few moments of unevenness and complications that I think come from the nature of where it came from as a story and the fact that it does take a sharp dip in quality after the amazing set up and cliffhanger of the first episode, "Shadow of the Scourge" is a wonderfully dark tale with stronger themes, an engaging menace, and a scheming Seven at his absolute best. Give this one a chance outside of the lackluster cover and synopsis and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.