Friday, 20 March 2015
REVIEW – EQUILIBRIUM
It would’ve been so ironic had a story centered around balance been unable to balance its own elements, but thankfully, Equilibrium tips the scale in its own favor in more ways than one.
First off, wow, this second installment in the Fifth Doctor E-Space Trilogy is fantastic. Normally the Fifth Doctor stories are good, not usually overly spectacular, but Equilibrium is that and then some. The idea to balance everything like some kind of planetary scale is quite the bold and bizarre move. It is also something I’d have liked to have seen on the television so we can chalk this one up and put it in the ‘should’ve been made for the TV series’ category.
Frozen wastelands, ice palaces, monstrous shadow bear – black lightning? Damn we so needed this, though I’m not so sure how ‘amazing’ the graphics on some of these ideas would’ve been back in 1983. Either way, it’s not just the setting, but the plot and the characters that make this piece work so well. Queen Karlina (played by Annette Badland) is such a well-rounded, tragic character. You can’t help but sympathize with her. Her daughter Inger (played by Joanna Kirkland) I admit did start working my nerves, but in a strange kind of way, I enjoyed her scenes with Turlough. Seems the redhead is quite the babe magnet. Must be the school uniform.
But it’s Peter Davison who’s the star here, portraying a Doctor so driven and desperate to help people and because he is Doctor Number 5, you know things are going to end badly. The Fifth Doctor is famous for being so caring, but always seems to find himself worse off than when he started. This is the Fifth Doctor I want to see more of because there are not many things more tragic than a hero who just can’t seem to win no matter how driven or compassionate they are.
I’ve noticed that these last few Fifth Doctor stories have been about 15 minutes shorter than usual. This actually feels like a massive improvement in the case of Equilibrium as some times, a lot of stories end up being too long. Equilibrium successfully ducks that bullet and like a lot of Big Finish stories, manages to give every character something plot worthy to accomplish. Equilibrium is well paced, well characterized and really manages to end in a way that sets up the grand finale that is The Entropy Plague.
Rating this story: 9/10. One of the best Fifth Doctor audio stories out there.