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To The Death

So, the separate run of Big Finish audios featuring the Eighth Doctor comes to an end after four years of fun with Paul McGann and (mostly) the fantastic Susan Sheridan. Eight gets reincorporated into the main Big Finish run from now on.

To The Death is a moderately satisfying end to the fourth season - taken on its own terms, rather good, though not quite as good as I was hoping for. (Then again, most Who finales leave me feeling that way.) It wraps up the story of the second Dalek invasion of Earth started in Lucie Miller, with much drama, death and destruction.

Further discussion requires SPOILERS.

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I'm not going to go on about this at great length because beccaelizabeth has already done so. (And for a more positive and also spoiler-filled take on the season as a whole, see Reality Checkpoint.) But I felt that the powerful dramatic impact of Lucie's death - as ever, superbly conveyed by Sheridan Smith - was actually weakened by also exterminating Tamsin and Alex. When Adric was killed off back in 1981, it was as if the show was saying to us, "Look what we can do!" And BF are clearly trying to emulate some of that (note that Lucie dies in almost the same way as Adric, isolated on board an exploding spaceship). But by killing off their own characters and leaving the BBC's characters alive, Big Finish are saying something more like "Look what we can't do" - the Doctor (well, obviously), Susan and the Monk must all survive. True, each has lost a loved one, and is in that sense forever changed; though I also felt that this was a bit flawed, because as beccaelizabeth points out the Doctor doesn't seem to be mourning Alex much, and for my own tastes the Monk mourns Tamsin rather more than I'd have thought consistent with his character. (Myself, I won't miss either of them.)

wwhyte pointed out somewhere, and I can't find it right now, that Caves of Androzani works far better than Logopolis even though Logopolis is about the end of the universe and Caves of Androzani is about a sordid drugs and guns smuggling operation. In this season, I thought the most successful play was the very first, Death in Blackpool, about a simple family drama (where the awful family secret is that one of the family happens to be an alien). Sometimes small is beautiful.

Surely there is also a fairly major continuity problem? (Though sometimes problems are opportunities, I suppose.) In To The Death, the Doctor clearly remembers the events of Patient Zero; but my memory of Blue Forgotten Planet is that Charley zapped all the Sixth Doctor's memories of travelling with her. Or am I wrong on that point? Might go back and listen to that sequence again while waiting for next month's releases. Though I have the new Gallifrey series to get through first...

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
parrot_knight
Mar. 23rd, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
Feel free to delete this comment...
Sheridan Smith, I think (though Susan Sheridan would also have been good).
nwhyte
Mar. 23rd, 2011 07:21 am (UTC)
Re: Feel free to delete this comment...
Yeah, young F has been getting into the original H2G2 (broadcast 20 years before he was born...)
parrot_knight
Mar. 23rd, 2011 07:31 am (UTC)
Re: Feel free to delete this comment...
I remain impressed by your parenting.
abigailb
Mar. 23rd, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
Supposedly he remembers the events but thinks he had a different companion, not Charley. I've not listened to Six/Charley yet so cannot confirm.
jeanne_dark
Mar. 23rd, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
In To The Death, the Doctor clearly remembers the events of Patient Zero; but my memory of Blue Forgotten Planet is that Charley zapped all the Sixth Doctor's memories of travelling with her.

At the end of Blue Forgotten Planet, Charley asks the Viyran's to change the Doctor's memories so that Six remembers their adventures, but with Mila in place of Charley. They even implant memories of Mila leaving him, so he doesn't remember her death.
nwhyte
Mar. 23rd, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, thanks. One of those points I didn't concentrate on at the time.
caz963
Mar. 23rd, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
Popped over via who_daily

I've very recently worked my way through all 4 series of the Eight & Lucie adventures, so I'm fairly new to the while BF thing, but I've really enjoyed what I've heard so far (and have a long, rambly post in preparation!)

I think what you say about the impact of Lucie's death being a bit diluted by the others is true and I wonder whether there's more of a Doylist explanation for the other two, in that BF just needed to write them out in preparation for Eight returning to the main DW line. Whatever the reason, it's not especially satisfying. And yes, it seems odd that the Doctor doesn't seem to be mourning his great-grandson at all, although I suppose he didn't know him as well as he knew Lucie after all.

In any case, I did like the story as a whole, despite these quibbles - and I'm glad to find there are people around these parts that are listening so that I can join in with discussions!
goatsfoot
Apr. 6th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
Seemed really odd to me too that the Dr didn't seem to be mourning Alex. I've put it down to careless dramatic writing focussing on Lucie's tragedy to the exclusion of Alex at the end. But given the Doctor's dark mutterings/shoutings about bringing them back, and the CD Extras (I don't think?) not focussing on Alex's death either, it's possible that Nick Briggs intends on bringing him back?? Which I wouldn't mind, I liked the family dynamic & its possibilities. I'm still wondering why Alex had only 7% Gallifreyan DNA (from Relative Dimensions), that was left hanging rather.
goatsfoot
Apr. 6th, 2011 05:32 am (UTC)
I chose to interpret the Monk's OTT mourning of Tamsin as being the child side of him realising that something he's done has had consequences/permanent changes for himself for a change, and that he had a pathetic need for companionship, even if he was all about manipulating that companion. I think it was slightly left of field but I managed to make it work for me. (Also, I very much enjoyed Graeme Garden's performance, perhaps it is partly cos he was my fave Goodie as a kid.)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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