Monday, 24 March 2014
REVIEW - DOCTOR WHO - SCAVENGER - (SPOILER-FREE)
The best of William Gallagher and a mindblowingly good send-off!Before we start, I must confess that I have not been a huge fan of William Gallagher's scripts. Doing Time featured the Fifth Doctor and didn't really keep my attention and because of my intense dislike for the Wirnn, I didn't enjoy Wirnn Isle either. But Scavenger? This is probably one of the best spaceship tales I've ever listened/watched regarding Doctor Who. It's brilliant!
This story is chalk-full of nods and references to Doctor Who past and future. One of the most prominent ones is the inclusion of of Anjli Mohindra (better known as Rani to Doctor Who fans) who plays amateur film maker Jyoti Cutler. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship fans will recognize the ISA (Indian Space Agency). These are the ones that stand-out and which I enjoyed the most.
My respect for Flip Jackson has steadily increased throughout this whole trilogy and Big Finish decided to pull a hat trick and bowl me over with another Flip-centric storyline. The year is 2071 and the Anglo-Indian Salvage rocket has been launched. It's mission is to clean up space and remove all the junk floating in orbit. It's not long until Scavenger makes an appearance. Scavenger is 'zombie' space junk that scans and absorbs all the tech it can use. If you want more info, you'll just have to buy the story and find out more.
The characters in this story are also incredibly well thought-out. Salim is in charge of the clean-up program. His authority is being constantly undermined by Jessica Allaway, a British personality who is vain and arrogant enough to see her reflection in a rock. Incredibly annoying, pompous and someone who the Laws of Fiction must punish in some way before the story ends.
What I found particularly enjoyable about this story was the continuous use of the TARDIS to travel between the multiple space stations making up the setting for this story. The Doctor pilots the TARDIS remarkably well here. I can't remember him missing the target at least once. This was fun to listen to, as was the 'integration' of Flip. After a while, I gave up on the possibility that Flip might escape this story, but I was mistaken. Don't worry. I haven't spoiled anything. She doesn't die, nor doesn't she not die. Confused? Well that's the idea. This story ends on a cliffhanger - a bad one.
Damn you Big Finish!
This is cruel and unusual especially considering that it doesn't look like 2015 will feature Flip as the Sixth Doctor's companion. Yes folks. Be careful listening to this one. If you're a uber Flip fan, be prepared to have to have a long wait for a sufficient resolution to miss Jackson's story.
One of the things that bugged me about this story was the fact that Scavenger's voice sounded almost exactly like the voice used for the Viyrans. This is somewhat obvious from the get-go, but doesn't ruin anything. Although I was expecting Scavenger to be another Viyran connection. Maybe another virus released before it's time. Another would be the name of one of the space stations - the Nelson Mandela. The late Mandela is an important person in my country's history, but naming an Indian built, British owned station after a South African president seems very out of place. Out-of-universe, this is a great way to pay homage, but in-universe, it makes less sense, especially when you realize that this story is set in 2071, almost 60 years after Mandela's death.
Rating this story: 10/10. This is how you do spaceships on Doctor Who!