Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 12/6/15 6:33 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
'The Brood of Erys' written by Andrew Smith and directed by Nick Briggs is the second part in a loose second trilogy of stories for Flip. While, in space near the planet, Asphya the Doctor and Flip encounter a race of petulant pint-sized aliens with Psychic powers, known as the Drachee, who invade the Tardis after Flip fearing for their safety lets them in. They then fail in mind wrestling with the Doctor for control of the Tardis so instead take Flip back to their home, Erys, the moon of Asphya. The theme of parenthood with every character being a parent, surrogate parent or child, is as subtle as the sixth Doctor's dress sense.
The theme of parenthood permeates every particle of this story, not just the characters' relationships with each other. Erys is a living megalomaniac moon with psychic abilities; although, the concept of a living moon is as equally unscientific as in 'Kill the Moon' it isn't the resolution either - if you have a problem with the premise of the story then why listen? The Drachee are symbiotic dependants of Erys as are a number of other lifeforms, but then we get into spoiler territory, and the logic behind it all is in danger of being Byzantium and nonsensical, anyway. While, Erys is a domineering parental figure, Flip is her usual naive and effervescent self and probably the most child-like character, except for the Drachee. Although, we see a lot more of her loyal and heroic nature here - rather than being the mere plot device to be put in peril and rescued that she was in 'Antidote to Oblivion'. Flip is very much an old school type of companion, nothing wrong with that, and she was given quite a lot to do in this.
It's hard to fault the technically ability or production values of the modern entries into the main range of stories. Though, this is permeated with uninspired pounding drums coming in during the action and then fading out again, making this one of the dullest yet functional soundtracks I have heard in a while. Good for heightening tension but utterly dull to listen to. The acting is well-paced and I can't remember the last time I heard really bad acting in a Big Finish audio for ages. Briggs has done a great job with casting and his directing has gotten better over his career with Big Finish.
Despite a solid midsection to the story, it seemed shaky at both ends. The first episode is packed with over describing and the Doctor seems to just let things happen. He lets Flip open the doors despite his protestations and then lets the Drachee take her away with no audible trace of a struggle. Then at the other end, the denouement was equally unsound. Erys now possessing of some memories of the Doctor's which leads to impromptu reminiscing about Susan and Peri, with the Doctor resolving to find out what happened to Peri? The exchange about Susan just seemed to happen to enforce the already laboured theme of family ties as it had passed the point of contributing anything useful to the story.
All in all, this was a mixed bag. I appreciated the uncomplicated nature of the story but some of it only borderline made sense, and the absorption rather than leaving open the obvious chance for the release of characters removed any threat very early on. Some events were painfully predictable, such as Flip stealing a skimmer and departing into space in the sequence prior to Erys sending the Tardis out into space, and that was the cliffhanger to the second episode. Once again, it was the writing that really let this down. Definitely, one to let wash over you and not try to pick it apart too much if you really want to enjoy it, but if critical analysis is your thing then there is plenty for you too. It's intriguing, suspense filled with a very middling and linear plot.