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< 228. The Blood Furnace
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229. The Silurian Candidate

Rating Votes
10
20%
4
9
30%
6
8
15%
3
7
25%
5
6
10%
2
5
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4
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Average Rating
8.3
Votes
20
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: komodoReview Date: 10/23/17 10:47 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This began with the moment I have been waiting for since the whole Ace/Mel reunion began: Actual meaningful, character driven dialogue which was followed by a story that allowed the three main characters to develop and interact as their characters should.

Matthew J Elliott is a writer I will be watching out for in the future.

The rest of the story, with the silurians and the dinosaurs was pretty good too.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 9/25/17 5:45 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The year is 2085 and the world is on the brink of another Cold War. Mutual assured destruction could happen in the blink of an eye with both the East and the West primed and ready with intercontinental nuclear missiles on standby. It's in to this tense situation that the Seventh Doctor, Mel, and Ace land and encounter a professor Ruth Drexler desperate to find the mysterious and ancient Parliament of the Silurians that might be able to help the situation. With the Doctor and Drexler on the case, saving the world should be a no-brainer. But the Doctor has a mysterious mission of his own that could disrupt everything and put him at odds with even the Earth itself. This story is meant to conclude Big Finish's recent trilogy of Seven stories with 'High Price of Parking' and 'The Blood Furnace' and celebrate the Seventh Doctor's 30 year anniversary this year and it's one hell of a tribute. This story really does have it all in spades: an different story with a new take on a classic foe, the Seventh Doctor and his Machiavellian scheming, some great moments from both classic and companions, and the dark plot and twists that make Seven and his stories so interesting. All of the cast in this are also on their A game particularly McCoy who gets everything about his incarnation so right. He's dark and yet funny, voice all-encompassing, and always ahead of the curve with his plotting and planning even to the expense and morality of everyone around him. Langford as Mel and Aldred as Ace are as great as ever with specific parts to play in the narrative for once. Even Mel who normally gets a lot of the short stick has a role as the compassionate side to Ace's hardball and the Doctor's amoral nature and it's really her who ensures that the plot in this story gets foiled. While the side cast isn't quite as memorable, we do get Fiona Sheehan as the no-nonsense Drexler who plays really well off of Seven as well as Nicholas Asbury playing a Silurian puppet in control of the areas with the most to lose. While the plot is fine and good with it fitting really well not only in to the Seventh Doctor timeline but also the Silurians' canon as well, its the subplot that is the most intriguing with the Doctor's actual plans taking most of my interest. It elevates the story and the conflict up nicely and makes this one probably the best Silurian story I've heard in any medium. The soundscape and the design all also coordinate well and it all feels completely natural as it kept my interest the whole way through. My problems with this story are tiny in comparison to everything it does right. The Silurians themselves sound almost like Cybermen with their tone and voice inflections. I know these are supposed to be the species of Silurian from the Classic show and not New Who that Madame Vastra comes from and I love that but those voices did bug me just a tad. There are also some story beats that don't quite gel together as much as they should and the music is fine but not memorable. Overall though, I really loved this story and it's a perfect representation of Seven and his TARDIS team and how good his stories should always be. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 9/12/17 4:40 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

In The Silurian Candidate, the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Mel (Bonnie Langford), and Ace (Sophie Aldred) arrive in what was once China in the year 2085, in the midst of a new Cold War. The East and West blocs are poised to unleash a torrent of missles upon one another at the slightest provocation. And in the midst of it, Professor Ruth Drexler (Fiona Sheehan) is on a secret mission deep in the Eastern bloc, looking to discover the ancient Parliamnet of the Silurians. So when the Doctor and Drexler meet, humanity should be saved; but the Doctor has a secret mission as well, one that may put him at odds with the planet he has loved for all his lives. The Silurian Candidate ends this year's Seventh Doctor trilogy with an enjoyable, Cold War-esque story, featuring a rather brilliant subplot with the Doctor and his plans with the Silurians, and a return of the more manipulative Seventh Doctor. McCoy shines in this story, as do both Langford and Aldred, while guest stars Sheehan and Nicholas Asbury both give notable performances. Matthew J Elliot's story is a thoroughly enjoyable one, with lots of great character clashes, and an enjoyable, tense story, with a satisfying ending to it.

Sylvester McCoy once again reprises his role as the Seventh Doctor, and we have the return of the manipulative, secretive Seventh Doctor with this story. McCoy, despite rumours that he dislikes the more manipulative Seven, is on point here as that particular version of the Doctor, rolling his 'r''s, and playing the role of the secretive schemer with particular relish throughout the story. I particularly enjoyed McCoy's big speech at the end, promising the Earth to the Silurians if they'd just go to sleep for a few thousand years more, because McCoy just knocked it out of the park. He was pleading, he was hopeful, and he expressed genuine care for making sure the Silurians were happy in the end. Bonnie Langford and Sophie Aldred also reprise their roles as Mel and Ace, brought together many years after the events of Dragonfire. Langford is particularly great in this story, as she stands in contrast to previous stories from the last two years, being given something important in this story. Rather than being shunted off to the side to make way for more Seven and Ace adventures, it actually feels like Mel is an integral part of this story, as she stays behind to be the "compassionate" one (according to the Doctor) and her role in ensuring the plans of Falco would be found out and stopped. Similarly, Aldred gives an excellent performance here, reverting to her old ways of questioning the Doctor and his motives, and feeling that she's not trusted. In her own words, she feels that she, "constantly has to prove herself" to the Doctor, and that the only reason she travels with him is, "because she still doesn't trust him". She gives a rather excellent performance, especially as she realizes that the Doctor's plans are to give the Earth back to the Silurians. She reverts to her suspicious version of Ace rather well, almost as if a lot of the stories since the 200th release never existed.

In the guest star category, there were numerous guest stars, but the highlights include Fiona Sheehan and Nicholas Asbury. Sheehan pulls double duty in this story, portraying Professor Ruth Drexler, a scientist looking to uncover the hibernation technology of the Silurians, as well as member of the Silurian triad, Avvox. It's her role as Drexler that stands out most here, as an earnest yet hardened leader of a scientific operation. Sheehan is enjoyable throughout, often acting as a grounded counterpoint to the TARDIS crew, and for that, she's an excellent addition to the cast. Asbury is another excellent addition to the cast as head of the Western bloc, Chairman Bart Falco. He's a bit of an asshole, and that aspect of his character is played with relish by Asbury, who does a really great job bringing this crass, boisterous character to life. His ending too is a strong bit of work, as he effortlessly slips into the character of a Silurian puppet.

Matthew J Elliot's script is where the story begins to really come together, as one of the stronger Seventh Doctor stories in recent years. The story of a Cold War-esque conflict set in Earth's future, mixed with a Silurian invasion is an interesting story in and of itself, but not necessarily one that can carry the entire story for two hours. It's the subplot that Elliot gives to the Doctor, having him attempting to give the Earth back to the Silurians, and the eventual payoff of that story, that elevate this story so much. Of the first two aspects of the story, those are done well by Elliot. The characters he created for that, especially Falco and Drexler, alongside his interpretations about the TARDIS crew and their characterizations, mesh well to make for an interesting conflict that the Doctor and his friends get caught up in. I particularly liked the scenes with Falco throughout the story, and the interactions that he had with Drexler and the TARDIS crew.

But to address the latter aspect of the story, the idea of the Doctor giving the planet back to the Silurians is a shocking one. It's no secret that the Doctor recognizes that the Silurians have more of a claim to the Earth than humanity does, and he recognizes that over the years, he's done a great many terrible things to the Silurians, as they simple attempt to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. But for the Doctor to seemingly completely side with the Silurians, instead of attempting diplomacy comes as nothing short of a shock, and indeed, a lot of what makes Ace so great in this story arises from that shock. But the plan, and it's resolution in the end is frankly a brilliant bit of writing by Elliot, as he proves how well he knows the Doctor, by having him set the Silurians on a track to wake up just as humanity is returning following the devastation of the planet. He hopes that the two species will be able to work together to inhabit the planet, and that ending comes as a brilliant bit of writing, because it's left open as to whether or not the Doctor will be right in the end.

The final aspect of the story I'd like to focus on is the excellent cover artwork by Anthony Lamb. Right off the bat, the thing that jumps out at me the most is the colouring of the cover; it's a gradient, starting off with traditionally "human" colours, and shading down to more "Silurian" colours at the bottom. I really like that aspect of the cover, because it addresses the overall plot of the story and how it progresses; it starts as a human story, but ends as a Silurian story. Also, I quite like how Lamb uses the cover to the full extent; often times, most covers simply use the space to the right of the banner, but Lamb chooses to use the full cover, giving it a bit more life, as Mel and Ace are running away from the dinosaur. It's a small aspect of the cover, but one I really enjoy. Overall, Lamb's work on the cover is rather excellent, and Lamb is a cover artist I'd like to see get a lot more work, compared to some other artists Big Finish employs.

Overall, The Silurian Candidate is an excellent story on several fronts. It's well acted throughout, with some excellent performances by the main cast, and a couple of great performances by guest cast members Fiona Sheehan and Nicholas Asbury. It's also very well written by Matthew J Elliot. Elliot captures the feel of several different eras with his story, but more importantly gives the story an interesting concept, with regards to the Doctor's secret mission. Coupled with the excellent characterizations that Elliot gives to the main and guest cast, the story is an excellent adventure for the Seventh Doctor, Mel, and Ace, and one of the best adventures for this particular TARDIS crew.