Reviewed By: adamelijah
Review Date: 4/2/15 2:11 am
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The Divergent Universe saga comes to an end in the Next Life as the TARDIS crashes and the Doctor, Charley, and C'Rizz crash on a strange blue planet and are separated and Rassilon takes a hand and move towards his ultimate goal.
This story answers most questions about the Divergent Universe and how a Universe without time functions (and what exactly it means to be in a Universe without time) and it's diabolically clever. Nearly all the questions I had throughout the saga were answered. They rarely made it feel like we were getting a ton of exposition thrown at us even if our heroes had arrived on the Planet of the Back Story.
The guest cast is solid including the return of Daphne Ashbrooke (who played the Eighth Doctor's TV companion) as the intriguing Perfection.
Paul McGann turns in a fine performance as the Doctor. In his last appearance as the Incumbent Doctor, the Eight Doctor is a mix of sarcasm, a bit of whimsy, and a lot of courage, cleverness, and compassion. The Doctor's concern for his companions defines him which goes contrary to so much of what Rassilon suggested.
Charlotte Pollard is superb in this story as she had been all Season. Though there is one off moment with her at the end. But more on that later.
Rassilon and Keep are great villains that play off each other, though it tends to guarantee that one will take care of the other leaving the Doctor only one to contend with and perhaps less.
OVerall, there's a labyrinthine plot which mostly turns in interesting and unexpected ways. I appreciated the very end which set the stage for the next portion of their adventures.
On to negatives. I really had mixed feelings about the developments with C'Rizz. It fills in some backstory but essentially make him a companion more susceptible to mind control plots than Kamelion.
The later part of the story where the Doctor holds all their hopes and futures hostage to the C'Rizz and Charley making up after a serious row and betrayal seems a bit forced particularly when each of them give a speech. The Charley speech is good except is alleged that there was some prior resentment with C'Rizz or jealousy which in no way was shown or even hinted at in the prior stories.
Also the cynical anti-religious element was a bit tiresome since they already did a whole story about religion earlier in the Season, three releases previous.
While the final scene was a perfect set up for the ongoing adventures of this TARDIS crew, there were parts that felt more contrived and less natural.
The story is also padded. The simple plot has the TARDIS crashing on a planet and the Doctor and Companions running about outside for most of the story. Even with all the revelations, there's no reason for this story to be a six part three hour plus epic.
Still, the acting is all very good, and we have some great concepts. Still, this would have been a better story had it been a tad shorter.