Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Doctor Who, "Love and War"

This double-length audio drama, based on the Paul Cornell novel from 1992, is a marvelous story that provides an emotional journey for both the Seventh Doctor and Ace. It also is young Ace's exit as a companion and introduces archaeologist Bernice Summerfield (Lisa Bowerman) as a new companion.

The plot has a number of different threads and a detailed summary would give away too much of what should be experienced. However, the Big Finish summary describes it as follows:
On a planet called Heaven, all hell is breaking loose. 
Heaven is a cemetery for both humans and Draconians - a final place of rest for those lost during wartime. The Doctor arrives on a trivial mission - to find a book, or so he says - and Ace, wandering around Joycetown, becomes involved with a charismatic Traveler called Jan. 
But the Doctor is strenuously opposed to the romance. What is he trying to prevent? Is he planning some deadly game connected with the coffins revered by the mysterious Church of Vacuum and the unusual Arch that marks the location of a secret building below ground? 
Archaeologist Bernice Summerfield thinks so. Her destiny is inextricably linked with that of the Doctor, but even she may not be able to save Ace from the Time Lord's plans. 
This time, has the Doctor gone too far?
The story takes a while to develop and for the listener to understand how the different plot threads come together, but ultimately leads to a satisfying conclusion. The double-length format allows for both multiple plot lines and a little more examination of each of those plot lines than in shorter Big Finish drama, though less so than in a full novel.

Once again we see that the Seventh Doctor is willing to do whatever it takes - manipulating friends, enemies, and innocent bystanders alike - to resolve a situation to his advantage. Sophie Aldred's performance as Ace is one of the highlights of the production.

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