Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 2/25/17 11:30 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
A real irritation... after complaining about the ethical quagmire at the end of Zygon Who Fell To Earth not being addressed with any dramatic depth, a few weeks later I found myself tearing up as the consequences are carried through to one of the most emotionally crippling companion departures in all of Doctor Who.
Without spoiling the story, the Doctor and Lucie following Worldwide Web get to Blackpool only to bump back into Auntie Pat. There's an interesting spin on a classic who monster, played with genuine menace - but to focus on the plot mechanics would not only spoil the story, but also get the focus completely wrong.
As has been written far more eloquently by other reviewers, the sci-fi plot is simply a framework to hang on the drama. After putting up with 'arcs' in New Who, it's a real gut punch to see a perfectly executed culmination to a companion relationship - make no mistakes, this isn't a case of following through on the odd line of foreshadowing, the entire thing organically follows Lucie and the Doctor's relationship from Blood of the Daleks.
There's excellent direction and superlative performances all round, but that's no different to any New Who departure. What sets Death in Blackpool apart is the self-restraint. There's the odd point where the serial pivots and twists, sure, but there's no stop-start as we've seen with Clara, the Ponds, Rose... Donna... come to think of it - all new who. Obviously, from CD covers I'm aware Lucie will pop up in future releases (assume this serial is being told with the same chronology of Six and Evelyn), but there's a sense of finality in Death in Blackpool which TV viewers rarely get.
Despite all the gushing praise, I'd hold off a perfect 10. To get to the drama there's some rapid exposition and taking place mostly in a hospital, there's little scope for interesting vistas. Granted - this is to maximise the dramatic weight and I certainly wouldn't want it any other way, but it just left me feeling a bit rushed in parts. Furthermore, the comic relief for me just didn't work. In an irritating trend, he seems indicative of Big Finish's direction and scripting of anybody from North of Birmingham: comically thick accents and Alan Bennettisms left right and centre.
On the whole, a brave and bold sendoff for a great companion. Whilst I've missed other companions more or found departures more tear-jerking - its often been down to personal preferences or melodramatic direction and music (Nyssa & Amy respectively). Death in Blackpool on the otherhand, whilst weak in the story department, handles the departure in particular with more weight, and fulfilling use of character arcs from across the last three seasons than any other I can care to remember. A tremendous accomplishment.
Do not listen in public - you will tear up.