I was so pleased in listening to “The Marian Conspiracy” and finding that the Sixth Doctor was finally given a good companion. Evelyn Smythe is great, and the chemistry Maggie Stables has with Colin Baker is just perfect. Naturally, when I saw that Big Finish was giving the Fifth Doctor a new companion, I was pretty excited there too. Unfortunately, “The Eye of the Scorpion” was pretty much entirely a let down.
The Doctor and Peri find themselves in ancient Egypt, just in time for a pharoah called Erimem to take her throne. The Doctor and Peri rescue Erimen from someone trying to have her killed, as apparently there are a lot of people who aren’t too crazy about the idea of a female pharoah (although she wouldn’t have been the first). There’s a lot of assassination attempts and general ne’er-do-welling going on, including conveniently writing the Doctor out of part two to give Peri a time to shine.
It is kind of ironic to be listening to an audio featuring a companion who, on the television show, was essentially just eye candy. I don’t think Peri is the worst companion in the show’s history, but she is hardly upper echelon. I do think she is slightly better in the audios than she had been on television, but I’m not singing the praises of her audio performances the way I am Colin Baker and Peter Davison.
The new companion, Erimem, just didn’t compel me at all. I can’t pinpoint exactly what I don’t like or like about her, but she lacks the chemistry with the Doctor and Peri that makes the aforementioned Sixth Doctor & Evelyn Smythe pair so great. Her performance is above average, but she’s not a particularly interesting character.
The story itself was pretty weak, too. It drags a bit and even when stuff is happening I never felt particularly interested by what was going on. It didn’t transfix me the way some of the previous audios had. It’s not offensively bad, but there was just nothing to like here. Meh.