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< 30. Seasons of Fear
32. The Time of the Daleks >

31. Embrace the Darkness

Rating Votes
10
5%
8
9
11%
20
8
33%
58
7
23%
40
6
18%
31
5
7%
13
4
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4
3
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1
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0%
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Average Rating
7.3
Votes
175
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: WhovianArchiveReview Date: 5/24/19 4:49 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A fairly average story that struggles to keep up with the quality of the previous two stories.

Paul McGann and India Fisher once again put in brilliant performances.

The guest cast are likeable and fun but the story is weak. Nothing really exciting happens.

Overall, not bad, not good. Not one I'd relisten to for a while, however
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
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8
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8
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8
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8
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 6/17/17 1:29 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

My biggest complaint about this story is that its placement within the season disrupts the flow. I would have placed this between "Invaders from Mars" and "The Chimes of Midnight". The only hint of a connection is the brief appearance of some Type 70 TARDISes apparently attempting to apprehend the Doctor, which is a nice bit of foreshadowing, but it feels tacked on for the sake of having that connection. Fundamentally, this is a standalone story that has nothing to do with the Charley Paradox.

It's quite a good story, though. It's one of those stories where the tension comes from the unknown. Once the truth is revealed, it turns out that there was never much danger after all. This sort of thing can sometimes seem rather unsatisfying. As others have pointed out, the Doctor doesn't really accomplish much. In fact, he makes what seems to be a catastrophic mistake, which fortunately turns out just fine, so no harm done. It's unkind but not incorrect to say that the Doctor blunders his way through the story accomplishing very little.

That doesn't bother me, at least not this time. The story works because the mystery is compelling, and the resolution of that mystery doesn't change that. Still, there's not a lot of story to fill four episodes, so a lot of time is spent running through plot. For example, the Doctor spends a lot of time arguing with ROSM. These scenes are well-written and fun, but they don't really advance the story at all. With a total running time of 126 minutes, some of that could have been trimmed down a bit. I think this story would have worked better at a more traditional 100 minuntes. On the other hand, the slower pace seems to complement the atmosphere of the story.

Lastly, I want to say something about the characters. There's this idea that character development involves informing the audience of a character's biography or backstory. That's certainly one way to do it, but it's not the only way (or necessarily the best way). Look at Lupton from "Planet of the Spiders". At one point, the story comes to a complete halt so that he can deliver his backstory to us via infodump. It's a good scene because of John Dearth's compelling performance, but it doesn't make Lupton a better character. By that point, we've already seen his drive, his ambition, and his ruthlessness. Likewise, the character development of Orllensa, Haliard, and Ferras comes from how they respond to their situation. They are all good, well-developed characters, regardless of how much or how little of their backstory we learn.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
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6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 10/16/16 4:16 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

‘Embrace the Darkness’ was recorded on 22 January, 25 January and 26 January 2001. It was both written and directed by Nick Briggs. This was originally intended to feature the Morestrans (Planet of Evil) instead of the Throxillians, but Big Finish failed to obtain the rights from the BBC.

The Tardis lands on a scientific base to investigate a missing sun in the Cimmerian system. The Doctor and Charley are soon confronted by ROSM, a large security robot. Detecting harmful bacteria within Charley, the robot puts up a security shield around the Tardis and tries to annihilate Charley as she escapes to the planet’s surface, where she meets Orllensa and Mike. Orllensa, Mike, and later a third member of the crew, Haliard, have all had their eyes removed by the Cimmerians; Charley appears to be next.

The ethereal atmosphere is suitably creepy with sounds and effects that help detail the surroundings. Lots of haunting yet futuristic technical and industrial sounds in the manmade environments, for example. On the planet itself, there were lots of chime and Theremin sounds. The whispering, hissing voices of the Cimmerians, voiced by Ian Brooker, were particularly good, and a far cry from the usual over-modulated alien voices Big Finish tend to go for.

We missed a great Doctor in Paul McGann, but his performance here is quite laid back. India Fischer, however, rarely has an off day. Thick caricature foreign accents and thin characterisation are the stock-in-trade of early big finish. But by the end, we know very little about the crew of the scientific base on Cimmeria IV. Personally, I found it hard to invest interest with such a shortage of backstory, apart from Orllensa telling Charlie a bit about herself in the third episode but it’s too little too late. Also in the Companion Chronicles adventure, Solitaire, the Celestial Toymaker refers to the Solarians in a riddle.

‘Embrace the Darkness’ is an average story that lacks the narrative content to fill four episodes (just like old times, eh?). The Doctor gets everything wrong in this one and doesn’t save the day but misinterprets the danger which I found interesting and refreshing. The production values were good, but losing an episode, or two, would help to inject a bit of pace.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
5
Replay Rating:
2
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5
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/9/15 11:03 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

This story finds the Doctor and Charley tracking down the mystery of a sun that went dark. They find themselves on a scary space station where odd things are happening including a crew that has their eyes removed and there's a mystery as to what's going on and what the intentions are of the Cimmerian aliens. India Fisher turns in a great performance in Charley, particularly in the last episode when she sees through a superficially penitent act by the Doctor as something he was doing just to assuage his ego. There's also a couple of references to the season long plot involving Charley. The aliens also feature some clever concepts including the idea of a species that's most powerful sense is a sense of taste.

On the other hand, the story suffers from some truly unlikable characters. Chaley outright tells Orllensa that she's perhaps the most annoying person she's met and Charley pegs it. The rest of the crew comes off as flat and one dimensional. Even the dense and inflexible artificial intelligence has been done better elsewhere. The story's pacing seems off and while it utilizes the traditional Doctor Who cliffhangers, it does so poorly as these are mostly weak moments with the exception of Part 1.

It's a disappointment after two superb stories, though I will say I enjoyed this story more than Invasion From Mars.