The Cosmic Hobo

Thoughts & reviews about the science fiction series Doctor Who.

Archive for the category “fifth doctor”

Audio Review: The Eye of the Scorpion

“The Eye of the Scorpion” (Big Finish #24)
Written by Iain McLaughlin, directed by Gary Russell
Featuring the Doctor, Peri, and Erimem

Rating: D+

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.

Audio Review: Loup-Garoux

“Loups-Garoux” (Big Finish #20)
Written by Marc Platt, directed by Nicholas Pegg
Featuring the Doctor, Turlough, and werewolves

Rating: B+

In one of the few adventures to feature only the Doctor and Turlough, Peter Davison as his Doctor and in my opinion his only really worthwhile companion find themselves in not-so-far future Rio de Janiero, just in time for the festival known as Carnival. If it wasn’t obvious enough from the title, there be werewolves in them tharr Portuguese-speaking hills.

I quite enjoyed the first Fifth Doctor & Turlough audio adventure, “Phantasmagoria,” and ended up thinking this one was better. Strickson and Davison have a really great chemistry that I don’t think Davison has with any of his various other companions. I generally don’t feel one way or another about werewolves, but I thought the story of this one was very strong, as well as being well acted.

Aside from being just fun, which it is, and having some good character moments for the Doctor and Turlough, which it does, it raises some interesting questions about morality. In the story, not to spoil anything too heavily, the Doctor comes down against a scientist trying to force a cure for the werewolf genetic anomaly on those who have the gene, claiming that they have a right to be as they are.I don’t think this is as black and white a moral dilemma as is often presented in Doctor Who, because obviously werewolves have been detrimental to people in practically every media they are portrayed in.

In the case of this story, not all werewolves are evil. Much like the Silurians, one of my favorite Doctor Who races, there are some good and some bad among them. But does it really make sense to be “against” a cure for it? It seems to me that it is similar to being against someone finding a cure for down syndrome. I absolutely think that people with down syndrome have nothing to be ashamed of, but I don’t know that it makes sense to say that there shouldn’t be a cure for it. I’m usually someone who manages to have a distinct opinion on every subject, but on this one I just don’t know. Neither side feels right. I think that kind of makes this a brilliant story, because it asks questions that there are no easy answers for.

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