Friday, 28 August 2015
REVIEW - RETURN TO TELOS
The Fourth Doctor meets the Second Doctor…kinda.
If you’ve read my review from last month, then you’ll know I’ve been eagerly anticipating this series finale. I’ve been counting the days and if I had to sum up my thoughts after listening to Return to Telos, in one sentence, it would have to be: Well done Nick Briggs!
If I had to expand on that one sentence – because you lot reading want reasons for picking up this installment – I’d have to start with: SECOND DOCTOR!
This shouldn’t come as a huge spoiler as Frazer Hines’ Jamie McCrimmon is listed on the casting list. Those of you who are newcomers to Big Finish, Frazer also does the voice for Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor. Don’t worry; he does so eerily accurate to the point of people second guessing whether or not Troughton is really dead. Interesting enough, this story manages to be both a tease and a celebration at the same time. Return to Telos takes place during Tomb of the Cybermen. That’s right. This story is a sequel, taking place during the thing it’s supposed to be sequel-ing. And my hat is off to Nicholas Briggs for managing to keep the continuity completely intact. No retroactive continuity here folks.
One of the strongest aspects of this two-parter has been evil K-9. Turning the Doctor’s best friend evil and having the (dis)loyal robot dog working against his master is novel, not to mention one of those things you wonder why the TV series didn’t try to do it first in the 70s. While K9 isn’t as involved in this month’s story as last month’s Fate of Krelos, his presence and menace is felt everywhere. It’s understandable considering the amount of new characters added to this second story.
Speaking off, welcome back 60s Cybermen! Nick Briggs captures the very core of the early Cybermen both story-wise, as well as audibly. I’m just going to touch upon that the Cybermen’s voices can get grating after a while. They have that heavy electronic zing-zang voice and I listened to this story with headphones so yeah. Be warned.
But other than that, these Cybermen are a cut above the ‘beaten by the power of love’ Cybermen we keep getting in the new series. Seriously TV Series; take heed and hire a Big Finish writer to pen a proper Cybermen story. They know how to write the metal Mondasians. You don’t! Rant over! The Cybermen in Return to Telos harken back to their 60s roots. They are logical to a fault, scheming, cunning and the fact that we kinda get two sets of Cybermen is an added bonus.
I’m not going to talk about Jamie or the Second Doctor. That will spoil things, so let’s move on to the Fourth Doctor and Leela. This story genuinely feels like a direct continuation of the last. All the tension and the drama is still there and it only seems to enhance Tom Baker and Louise Jameson’s already stellar portrayal. As usual, I cannot fault Leela. She is genuine funny to listen to. The Doctor is the embodiment of his fourth incarnation. He is everywhere in this. In fact, I think at one point he literally confused himself that even HE didn’t know where he was. That’s how Fourth the Doctor is in this. I am happy Nick Briggs decided to take the Doctor’s nonsensical chattering down a smidge. It is one of the few things I disliked about last month’s story.
Oddly enough, it’s the ending scene to this story that surprised me the most. I can’t really explain it, but listening to it, it sort of felt like I was hearing the very last scene between the Fourth Doctor and Leela. As though, we might not ever get any Four/Leela titles ever again. I know it sounds absurd, but remember the last scene from Survival. It felt like that. Hopefully it’s just my imagination, but I won’t deny how potent and heartwarming the scene was.
Rating this story: 8.2/10.