Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Audio Review: Doctor Who- The Eight Truths

I have always stayed away from the kooks and weirdos that hang around airport terminals handing out flowers or the strange man on the train who hands out those little comics that give me instructions on how my soul can be saved from the Devil himself if only I'd listen.

It's nice to feel vindicated in one's beliefs, even if the source of vindication is a science fiction audio play from Big Finish Audio's Doctor Who series called The Eight Truths.

It opens with the Doctor and Lucie on Earth in the year 2015, and while the Doctor is off on a mission to solve the mystery of a missing satellite, Lucie is off shopping, where she bumps into an old enemy, Karen, who once worked for the Headhunter in other Eighth Doctor audio plays.

Karen is now back on Earth and a member of the Eight Fold Truth group, who's aim is to help people and is located in the former BBC Television Center.  Karen convinces Lucie to come along to the nearest center, and she is brainwashed into thinking the Doctor has been using her all this time.

Meanwhile, the Doctor has found that the missing satellite has been taken over by an alien intelligence and after learning about the Eight Fold Truth from a former member he realizes that the satellite and the cult group are intertwined.

After the Doctor is attacked and knocked out for 23 days, the artificial sun comes into being, as humanity is convinced that the Eight Fold Truth's prophecies have come true, even if it's just to save their own skin, until at the end of the first part of this two-part play the real enemy comes crawling from the light of the new-born Sun,

The play's plot not unique, in both the science fiction and Doctor Who universe there are often cultist groups that take a stab at becoming Humanity's savior or its destroyer and despite the retread, it is still powerful as people do fall into these deceptive webs in real life,  giving the tale that always useful 'real world' quality that makes it more  poignant to  the listener.

The aspects that focus on the relationship between the Doctor and Lucie are covered quickly in both the dialogue and the narrative, but it is this that drives the story, both in the Doctor's motives in investigating Eight Fold and in Lucie's turn of faith against the Doctor.

 I had, in fact, wanted to pan the overused plot scenario, until I heard the big reveal at the end, which given it's nature not only made sense, but also made me want to surely listen to the second half of the story, proving that both the play's author, Eddie Robson and the staff at Big Finish had done their jobs well, building the plot up to a finish that I for one would never have guessed at, and which had me smiling and shaking my head at which villain had returned from Doctor Who's encyclopedia of evil alien races.

The mood is set well by the incidental score, some of the music used really conveys a sense of dread and it also does not seem to overshadow or push out the voice actors lines, something that I have had a problem with in various other audio plays.

The supporting cast is pretty good, despite some necessary yet odd sections, such as the scientists' easy acceptance at the Police Box the Doctor landed in their lab or the unconvincing dilemma of the Eight Fold founder Clark Goodman.

This is all really nitpicking, though, as a whole the acting is good and personally I still think the eighth Doctor and Lucie are the best audio pairing of any Doctor/companion.

In any case this play makes me want to grab my crystal and look deeply into it to see the outcome of this tale, and hopefully, it can live up to the build-up given in The Eight Truths.

-Thomas Spychalski 

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