Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Doctor Who, "Phobos" and "No More Lies"

Two more stories in the first season of adventures with the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller. "Phobos" is set on the Martian moon of the same name - transformed into an adventure park for "Drennies" - adrenaline junkies, into extreme sports. Visitors can take part in activities such as the "Wormhole" - a vertical tunnel, apparently bottomless, to jump down with a bungie cord of arbitrary length.

Lodge keeper Kai Tobias claims that the Wormhole has monsters in it. No one believes him until one of the guests is wounded. The Doctor and Lucie investigate...

Unusually for the Big Finish audio productions I've heard so far, at times I found it difficult to distinguish the voices of some of the women, especially Amy and Eris. Two of the visitors, Drew and Hayd, are young adventurers (and obviously gay). I found their California surfer dude talk to be somewhat irritating.

Although the story started out slowly, it picked up steam and had several late twists in the plot. The story also had some characteristically witty dialogue. For example:
Lucie: "What does it want?"
Doctor: "I think it wants to kill us."
Lucie: "Simple as that?"
Doctor: "You can't overcomplicate these things some times."
At one point, Lucie says to the Doctor, "Maybe you're scarier than the monsters." She's getting to know him better.

In "No More Lies," Lucie and the Doctor fail to stop Nick Zimmerman from stealing time travel technology and are left for dead, barely escaping the Tar-Modowk - creatures that live in the time vortex. They track Zimmerman, only to find him at a garden party looking some 30 years older. Soon it becomes clear that the TARDIS has landed in a time loop, and the Tar-Modowk aren't far behind...

At the garden party, the Doctor meets Zimmerman again while Lucie spends some time with Zimmerman's wife, Rachel. The Doctor must find out who created the time loop, and why, as well as what happened to the time-travel technology that Zimmerman stole.

The monsters in this story are almost a distraction - the focus is on Zimmerman and his relationship with his wife. Did he change from a baddie when he fell in love with Rachel? Why the time loop?
One thing that struck me, however: if you're stuck in a time loop do you really experience time passing? Doesn't the passing of 30 years seem only like the duration of the loop to you, rather than 30 years?

The story was solid and the resolution satisfying.

At the end of the story, the mysterious Headhunter, who has been chasing Lucie throughout the season, reappears. This sets up the season finale and resolution of the "Who is Lucie Miller?" story arc.

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