Cradle of the Snake (#138)

Big Finish Main Range

Often I don't feel the concern for the characters, especially the companions or the Doctor, because of my knowledge of how and when their stories end. But today, I felt the fear and anxiety in a story that I haven't felt for a long time. Both the beginning and ending are predictable, which is why I gave it a 4 jelloid rating. However, the writing and story in between is superb! There is drama, suspense, and a wariness that doesn't come in even the stories where there are some great cliffhangers. No fabulous cliffhangers here, just a very well written story that had me on the edge of my seat.

So the Mara is back and man, it sounds just mean, mean, mean! In a way that they couldn't portray in the TV series, I think. It was more mysterious and alien in the TV show. Here, you can hear the malice, the hate. It's amazing how much emotion Big Finish can get into the hiss of a snake! Excellent stuff. I don't remember the Mara stories from the TV series clearly but I think this would be an excellent "conclusion" to those two tales, though it is strictly audio. I was riveted and it was story I was most looking forward to after last month's story-ending cliffhanger. But by the end of the first 10 minutes I was fascinated, riveted, and sickened. Who is involved in what ways is predictable. However, the moments in between, the dialogue, the things that aren't said, that is where the story really takes off. When is the possessed person speaking and when is the Mara speaking? You will never know. Excellent writing and dialogue! Well worth the wait, too.

Peter Davison, Mark Strickson, Janet Fielding, Sara Sutton

Writer: Marc Platt

Director: Barnaby Edwards

Release: September 2010

Laura Vilensky 2019