blogger_who (blogger_who) wrote,

Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles 8.06 - The Dying Light

Blurb: The TARDIS materialises on a dying world circling a dying sun, where the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are welcomed to Sanctuary - an entire monastery carved out of a mountain.

But little here is quite what it seems.

Quadrigger Stoyn has waited through the centuries. And it is time for the Doctor to pay for his first terrible mistake.

Format: Limited-cast audio drama, a Companion Chronicle from the point-of-view of Jamie McCrimmon. Published by Big Finish Productions and released December of 2013.

Setting: The Sanctuary on an unnamed planet, time unknown. Stoyn mentions that this location "puts heaven within his reach" with heaven being a euphemism for Gallifrey. The literal interpretation would be that either the time, location, or both are near Gallifrey.

Continuity: This story takes place between The Space Pirates and The War Games. The intention of the writer is that this story takes place immediately prior to The War Games, so this story would take place after The Apocalypse Mirror and The Menagerie. Mention is made of the Doctor leaving his society, the damage done to Stoyn's face, and the fact that Stoyn was left on Earth's moon (see The Beginning). Stoyn mentions that Jamie left Earth in 1746 (see The Highlanders), that he travelled to Earth's moon (see The Moonbase), and then to the outter colony worlds (see The Macra Terror). Stoyn also mentions that Zoe left space station W3 in 2079 (see The Wheel in Space), that she travelled to the galactic rim (see The Dominators), null space (see The Mind Robber), and back to the Earth (see The Invasion). The six squares that the Doctor pockets from Stoyn's beacon are the same six squares that he uses to create the hypercube that he later uses to contact the Time Lords. (see The War Games).

Canonicity Quotient: Stoyn tells Jamie a lot about the Time Lords that he seems to have forgotten by the War Games. Stoyn lists the order of the Zoe's travels but strangely leaves out the Big Finish adventures that occur between The Wheel in Space and The Dominators. Stoyn mentions in the Beginning that he realizes that he can never return home as the Time Lords will hold him just as accountable as the Doctor yet here it seems that he's hellbent on returning. It's not to bad but there are enough things that don't match up with the surrounding stories that it knocks this one down by a few points. 0.93

Discussion: The Dying Light continues Big Finish's trilogy of stories celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. It continues the story of Quadrigger Stoyn that started with The Beginning. Unusually for a 2 episode companion chronicle we get one primary narrator and two guests. This is primarily a Jamie story and is told from his point of view, but Wendy Padbury voices Zoe while Terry Malloy reprises his role as Quadrigger Stoyn. The story then concludes in Luna Romana, which was released in January.

The Dying Light suffers from being lumbered with the Quadrigger Stoyn story. Author Nick Wallace even mentions that the idea of Sanctuary had been with him long before he wrote this story. Stoyn is here but he seems to be grafted into the story. It doesn't really tell us much about the man, but at the same time loses a lot of the nuance developed by Marc Platt in the first story. Stoyn mentions that he can't stand the chaos that exists in the outside universe, but he loses some of the character traits like the nervous eye tick. I'm also a little baffled by his motivation. He realizes in The Beginning that he can never go home again so is his whole plan here just so that he can get the Doctor in trouble? A revenge motivation could be interesting but Stoyn doesn't really act like a man after revenge. The one thing that I do like is the few touching moments between Stoyn and Jamie. It seems like Stoyn really does view Jamie as a corrupted child under the Doctor's influence. It would have been nice if they'd been able to develop more along that line, but instead it only comes out in two short scenes.

The rest of the story is fine. The idea of a place that fulfills your wishes has been done before, but it's kind of interesting that it's at the conflex of multiple wormholes so that beings from all over time and place find themselves marooned there. I also like the idea that the whole of Sanctuary is actually a giant ship on a sea of sand. It's a nice, unique image that helps to visualize the place in your imagination. There are some perplexing things though. Why would Quadrigger Stoyn write the time vector equations when he doesn't know about the special properties of the Sanctuary? How does he know the exact size and shape of the TARDIS footprint, since when he last saw it it was disguised as a boulder? But that aside the story still manages to keep you involved as it unfolds.

The performances are fine although Wendy Padbury doesn't have a whole lot to do as Zoe. Terry Malloy does give a fair performance as Quadrigger Stoyn although the script doesn't give him to much to work with. Fraser Hines still does a standout performance both as Jamie and the Doctor although his performance with female voices is fairly poor. I think that they should have let Wendy do the female parts. The music was good on this one and the sounds worked pretty well. All-in-all it was a fairly well done production.

Final Rating: 7/10

Recommendation: A competant story. Unfortunately the Quadrigger Stoyn character doesn't seem to have been well thought out from the beginning and the idea of an adversary that just wants to get home and be left alone by its very nature doesn't really make for a lot of interesting drama. The Dying Light is fair and it should hold your interest, but it feels like damning with faint praise. Listen to it if you enjoyed The Beginning but I wouldn't say that it's a must-listen story.
Tags: apocalypse mirror, audio drama, beginning, companion chronicles, doctor who, dominators, dying light, fraser hines, highlanders, invasion, jamie mccrimmon, macra terror, menagerie, mind robber, moonbase, nick wallace, season 6, second doctor, space pirates, war games, wendy padbury, wheel in space, zoe heriot

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