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< 131a. Klein's Story
132. The Architects of History >

131b. Survival of the Fittest

Rating Votes
10
10%
14
9
15%
21
8
41%
56
7
20%
27
6
9%
13
5
4%
5
4
1%
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Average Rating
7.8
Votes
137
Survival of the Fittest
8.2
Boxset Average Rating
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 4/18/18 8:51 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Continuing on from the threads of "A Thousand Tiny Wings", 'Survival' takes a hard left turn into something completely different and brings the Seventh Doctor and Klein to an extremely weird world for some tense twists and turns. Arriving on an alien planet populated by the insect-like Vrill as well as humans encroaching on their territory, Seven and Klein of course begin interacting with the alien creatures and do their absolute best to intervene with them in a positive manner especially with a dark threat on the horizon threatening the entire colony. But humans are meddlesome creatures and Klein is waiting for her moment to strike.....Survival is a very traditional sci-fi story on the surface with our Doctor / companion pair engaging with the alien culture and the conflicts associated therein especially in regards to the mysterious Winterlack. The soundscape and world are very interesting with the Vrill being one of the more creative hierarchical bug races of Doctor Who. I love how they communicate and associate things with sound and smell and their voice is modulated in an extremely cool way that makes them fascinating to listen to and somehow kind of engagingly sweet. Granted their repeated phrases can get a little annoying at times but for me it just adds to the alien nature of their race and there are some great twists associated with them that make the situation tricker than it first appears on the surface. Things take a turn for the worse however both literally and metaphorically once Klein finds out more about what the Winterlack actually are and it all leads more or less where you'd expect from there especially as the Doctor and companion are once again seperated in a trope that I'm rapidly getting sick of. McCoy's Seventh Doctor is good as always and I love how the Vrill associate his scent with "helping, healing, and information" which was a great and comforting touch and he gets his share of twists and moments associated with his incarnation of course but he's not the primary focus of the story. The biggest strength here is of course on Klein and her relationship with the Doctor. Tracey Childs continues to improve on her character and give a much more nuanced performance each time really enhancing her character for the better. You continue to want to like and sympathize with her through her journey in her brightest and darkest actions no matter if you agree or disagree with her and she continues to get stronger with every audio. Seven and Klein are very warm with each other at first and we actually get to see Klein travelling and at times even enjoying herself a little bit with the Doctor especially at the beginning. But of course everything goes wrong with the two and that's primarily where the intrigue and drama of the piece lies. Lies are told, sides are taken, and the ultimate conflict is at once intense and jarring with the term hypocrite being thrown around on both sides leading into a final opportunity that Klein immediately jumps on. While none of the elements here come together quite as strong as they did in the previous story, "Survival" is still a damn enjoyable tale. It's somewhat shorter than any of the other stories thus far due to the presence of "Klein's Story" that comes with this set but I actually sort of like that as it keeps the pacing tight and the plot focused rather than meandering off into any unnecessary plot threads as Main Range stories tend to do occasionally. With an intense cliffhanger and a betrayal leading into the next story extremely nicely, "Survival of the Fittest" is definitely a powerful tale overall and a strong continuation of Klein's story.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 5/19/16 9:29 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Doctor and Klein arrive on a world where the dominant species are a hive of giant insects and humans are encroaching.

The concept deserves credit. I've heard lots of Doctor Who giant insect creatures, but Jonathan Clements story is remarkable for how he really fleshes out the species and gives them functions similar to real insects, and I love the idea of how the TARDIS allows them to communicate by translating words into smells and vice versa.

At the same time, Klein is quite a fascinating character in this one. She's been travelling with the Doctor quite a while and in some ways, he may be influencing her as she denounces the humans who have devastated the sentient insects. But she's still holds to her Nazi views. I loved the scene where she reacted with delight when finding out that there were fascist in this brave new world.

The three part format really helps this story as it zips along at a very pace. The end has a great twists that sets the stage nicely for the end of the trilogy.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 2/16/15 10:13 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Ok lets start with Survival of the Fittest, this takes off from the previous encounter of Klein and the Doctor. The Doctor who is convinced that he can change Klein's thinking by taking her on a tour of the galaxies and convince her that her right wing thinking is not conducive to a individual's well being. However we begin with McCoy and Childs, landing in the chambers of the Vrill, a insect like race, whom in some respect have a hierarchy like that of bees. They soon however discover that the Vrill have been under attack from the "Winterlack" in their language whom turn out to be right wing humans intent on destroying the colony for what we are lead to believe is to establish a new place to live. There is a healthy amount of lying floating around here from all parties, and soon as the story starts to progress we realise that this is far from their actual intent. The humans have come here, with no intent of trying to settle, they are after a secret of the Vrill to turn them into something a lot more invincible.


It would be hard not to give away too much of the story, as to be honest you could callously sum this story up in a few sentences, the big reveal in this story is that we get to learn how Klein gets her hands on the TARDIS. In saying this, for a 120 minute drama, it felt incredibly quick, some lovely acting performances here, by all. McCoy again based on my theory of him having no real companion equals superior performance cliché is in full effect, with what I consider a story that would not have been possible in the TV years simply due to the inadequate budgets, and the real lack lustre that the scripts being hacked by the BBC in that time. So what we have here is a story that actually based on the classic Doctor, but moves forward the character and the story really well. Rupert Wickham and Adrian Bower who play the parts of the human antagonists to the Vrill also come across excellently with real gusto and for me painted the picture in my mind of those Commando comic style gung-ho soldiers with the war paint on their faces. So well done to the production team and writers and of course the actors there. Nice little intro into what happens next in this very odd paring of Who and Klein.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
NR
Acting Rating:
NR
Replay Rating:
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Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: jolyonReview Date: 5/31/14 7:24 am
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Goodness me this little three-parter is something very special.

We have a Doctor and Klein who have travelled far and wide, allowing her to have mellowed. The tensions become a grudging respect as she finds that she learns from him. Then we have the TARDIS, a focus for Klein's interest and central to this production as the device that allows the humans to communicate with the aliens. We have the aliens, like bees in a hive, communicating by scent, with a capacity to engage with what they see in total honesty but an instinct that kicks in when the fear and anger become too much. We have the humans, a sort of Glitz and Dibber, who bring humour, humanity and dishonesty into the mix.

Klein's journey here is glorious. From mellow time traveller, she learns about the insect culture, becomes our viewpoint character against the humans and we support her, even though she delights in being able to play the authority figure again. But, like the insects, when it all becomes too much - the anger of having been manipulated by the Doctor again - her instinct kicks in and she is as base as the warriors of the hive.

If you can be moved by the death of a butterfly, horrified by the impact humanity can have on a hive, intrigued by a fresh take on what insects might say if they could speak to us, and delighted by a tidy calm performance from Sylvester McCoy, this is the story for you. Incredible world-building.