Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 7/17/17 5:12 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
This is another story where I simply cannot explain to my own satisfaction why I don't like it. It should be good. It's got a good story, with lots of interesting and even powerful ideas. It's raises interesting themes about coping with loss, about loyalty, and so on. It's got a really villain good, and Michael Keating gives a fantastic performance. Yes, it's got some bland characters, but it's got some good characters too. Personally, I think the story would have been considerably improved just by having Jeremy James (Bryn) and Dale Ibbetson (Quillian) swap roles. James is good in everything he does for Big Finish, but Ibbetson sounds like he's doing a table read.
But every time I listen to this story, I find it dull, tedious, and unmemorable. I wish that didn't sound so harsh, but it's accurate to my experience of this story.
I don't have much else to say about the story, but let's take stock of the Divergent Universe Arc so far, as we are now halfway through it. Unfortunately, it's still extremely nebulous and semi-formed. This story doesn't really help much. It introduces the term "crucible world", and introduces the idea that it's all some kind of experiment. And that does tie in, vaguely, with "Scherzo". But how does the whole set-up work, exactly, and how come no one notices?
And then there's the ending. In the most memorable and dramatically effective moment in the story, the Doctor announces to Kro'ka that he's looking for Rassilon. The first time I heard the story, I admit I felt a frisson of excitement when I heard the Doctor say that. But looking back on it, I don't see why. It's a complete retcon of what we thought we knew about why the Doctor is here, and it comes entirely out of nowhere. Why does the Doctor expect to find Rassilon in this universe?
Halfway through, and I'd say the Divergent Universe Arc is still not sufficiently well-established to be honestly called an Arc. It's a set of stories circumstantially tied-together but with only a minimal narrative connection. It gives me the impression that no one ever decided what they wanted to do with this arc.