Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 8/15/17 4:27 pm
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.
"Terror Firma" is not a got a good story, but it has a good story buried somewhere in it. It's got several stories in it, and they don't really fit together very well. They're constantly pulling against one another, and the result is a confused muddle of a story that doesn't seem to have any significance at all. In some ways, this is typical of Joseph Lidster. Remember Ace's brother Liam? Remember how meeting him was very important in that one story, but he hasn't had any significance since? Well, get ready to meet Samson and Gemma....
To give credit where it is due, the Samson/Gemma backstory is by far the best and most memorable part of "Terror Firma", and it's what most people talk about when they talk about "Terror Firma". The idea of the Doctor having had previous companions that he's forgotten about is quite interesting, and the story of how Davros used them to conquer the Earth is powerful and chilling. But that's all just backstory to "Terror Firma", which isn't nearly as good. The problem is that you can't just introduce new former companions and expect the audience to care about them as much as we care about actual companions. The brief glimpses we get of Samson and Gemma suggest that they would be likable enough companions if we ever got to hear their adventures, but we don't. We just hear about them.
Gemma and Samson are a wonderful bit of backstory, but in this story (the only audio story to date in which they actually appear), they are bland, forgettable characters. If Samson and Gemma were actual former companions, it would be incredibly disappointing that they never even meet in this story, and that Gemma is killed "off-screen" as part of C'rizz's story, which has very little to do with anything else that's happening.
C'rizz's story is also interesting, building as it does on the revelations about his backstory that we got in "The Next Life". The final scene of "Terror Firma" is very good, as we hear C'rizz musing that he expects he'll eventually have to "save" (he means "kill") the Doctor and Charley. This is another nice idea that never really goes anywhere.
Frankly, nothing about this story works. None of it feels real because none of it seems to have any consequences. I mean, the Daleks conquered the Earth, using a plague which allowed them to turn people into Daleks (just like "Dalek Empire III"). Eight billion Daleks! But in the end the Daleks just leave, and everything's fine. When does this story take place? It sounds more-or-less contemporary, and "eight billion" implies the near future , but it can't be. How come no one in the future ever mentions the time when the Daleks turned almost the entire human population of Earth into Daleks? This clearly isn't meant to be one of those stories that never really happened, like "Jubilee", but it must be. This story simply can't have happened. It's just too unbelievable.