Reviewed By: ShinyVaati
Review Date: 2/20/19 5:40 am
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A strong story and a fascinating look into an early work of one of the show's most prolific writers.
"The Least Important Man" is probably the most eye-catching of all the stories collected into the Treasury for the simple fact that its writer is Steven Moffat. Of course, the man who would go on to run the show for nearly 8 years (divisively for some) and write some of the New Series' most seminal stories for even longer than that. This entry into the Benny world is not only a strong story by its own merits (if a bit rough around the edges) but it contains a lot of what would become Moffat's bread and butter.
It uses the garnish of a time travel plot to set a uniquely human tale, one that is quite sad at its core but ends on a hopeful note. There's Moffat's ever famous "life-in-death" theme and finding the humanity in the mundane of day to day life. Our PoV character is lonely, feels unimportant, and quite likely suffers from some sort of mental illness but wants to achieve something greater in life (almost a composite of all of Moffat's future companions). It's a story that by the end is not at all what you'd expect it to be from what you know in the beginning and in the middle. This is a quality that many often found irritating in Moffat stories; he never gives you what you think you want. The universe ending paradox and the time travel are a plot device. The humans at the center of the story are the emotional core and actual narrative drive.
And for someone who has always loved Moffat's writing, it's fascinating to see all those seeds here in a one-off story. One that had almost certainly been forgotten by most until Big Finish revived it for Benny's anniversary. It's perhaps not the boldest or best in the set (though its certainly among the stronger ones) but its time capsule-like quality makes it enjoyable indeed.