Synopsis: Picking up from Doctor Who: Warzone / Conversion, the Tardis team is split up. The travelers have much needed time and space for reflection in two new adventures by Dan Abnett and Guy Adams.
Review: Doctor Who: Thin Time / Madquake is an excellent continuation of the story begun in Doctor Who: Tartarus. Abnett and Adams have tough ground to cover. Giving the Doctor and his companion’s separate adventures allows for all of them to air grievances.
“Thin Time” by Dan Abnett is set during Halloween of 1892. The Fifth Doctor needs time to inwardly scream, while outwardly saving the universe. He just gets on with it, because saving the universe is his therapy. The Tardis understands that about him, even if his companions don’t entirely. The Tardis brings him to London 1892 where she knows he’s needed.
That’s the thing about The Doctor. They’re a static character even as they constantly change, so doing the same things they always do in slightly different ways clears the cobwebs.
The literal scares of this particular late Victorian Halloween are well realized. I’m genuinely sorry Big Finish didn’t have room in the October schedule, as this strong story would’ve been even more effective as a festive treat.
I also have to congratulate Abnett for giving listeners two of the best Doctor meet-and-greet sequences ever. At this point, it’s got to be freakishly difficult to write the scenes in which the Doctor introduces himself into the given situation one more time. Abnett manages two fresh variations in the same adventure.
Meanwhile, in “Madquake” by Guy Adams, Tegan, Nyssa, and Marc encounter the Slitheen. They’re not the central point of the story, however. Unlike the Doctor who can multi-task as he processes baggage, his companions have to stop, get help, and accept a planet’s healing.
I really appreciate how Adams confronts Marc’s and Tegan’s traumas head on. My one quibble, though, is that the nature of the story doesn’t allow Nyssa quite as much time as she needed. That’s par for the course in the Davison era, though, so the situation is almost meta.
The other more general problem lies in the fact that this is a prequel story. As a result, the characters can recover from the damage only so much without impacting future televised adventures. Adams is aware of the structural shortcoming. He compensates for it by using the companions’ therapy to foreshadow those future adventures.
The regulars are superb as ever. George Watkins, who is happily a regular for the duration of Marc’s tenure, continues to really impress. Marc has a ton to process, and Watkins jumps through an assortment of performance hoops with skill.
Thank you once again, Big Finish, for giving these classic Doctor Who characters the layers and space that the original series writers couldn’t. Thank you also for Marc, a great Big Finish specific companion, who hopefully has a lot more running to do.
- You can purchase Doctor Who: Thin Time / Madquake here.
- Audio Production10