The Entropy Plague (#197)

Big Finish Main Range

It’s difficult to write a review of this story without spoilers so I will just give you the proper warning and try to keep it to the end of the review. Tegan, we discover, was kidnapped by some pirates in E-Space to offer as tribute on Apollyon, the planet where the last CVE is wreaking havoc, stealing time and energy from the whole of the universe. Pallister is the apparent genius at work, who is opening and stabilizing the CVE to allow people to escape, which causes a greater drain on the energies of E-Space. And the tribute is a nice way to say “sacrifice” to keep the CVE open so the ship can pass through it.

So the Doctor and Turlough, no really it’s Nyssa and her new friend Cherryanne (a very unfortunate name, in my book) who rescue Tegan. The Doctor spends the story trying to find a way to get himself and his companions back to N-Space before E-Space collapses and to close the CVE behind him. Actually in front of him as he plans to stay trapped in E-Space forever. Which we know he doesn’t actually do but perhaps a companion does?

And here’s where the tears began and spoilers can no longer wait. This is Nyssa’s fairwell story – older Nyssa, to be sure. She never returns and will never see her children again – broke her promise to Adric in doing it. Each of the TARDIS crew narrates some of the story as they go to tell Adric of Nyssa’s sacrifice for them, telling the story in bits and parts. This makes it all the more poignant and terrifying throughout. I had to stop the story twice and take a few breaths before going on. The Doctor isn’t his usual self, trying to save everyone. But the 5th Doctor is more pragmatic in general – save those you can and by closing up the CVE, he is hoping to save the rest of E-Space that remains. Nyssa wants to stay behind to help as that is what she does.

And much as it happened with Evelyn, I cried my way through the final 15 minutes of this story. Nyssa has been with Big Finish and the 5th Doctor since the beginning and though this is just one incarnation of her life, it’s difficult to listen to her leave. Though she does the final narration, as a letter to Adric he will never read, she does leave us with hope for E-Space as a new star is born. It’s still just crushing to hear her go. And this looks to be a year of endings (6th Doctor anyone?) that they seem to do oh so well. Though young Nyssa will continue it will be the Nyssa without the kids and no more trio in the TARDIS. This one’s a 5 tissue and 5 jelloid tale!

Peter Davison(The Doctor),Mark Strickson(Turlough),Sarah Sutton(Nyssa),Janet Fielding(Tegan),Catherine Skinner(Cherryanne),Robert Duncan(Pallister),John Voce(Branarack),Alistair MacKenzie(Robots)

Writer: Jonathan Morris

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: March 2015

Laura Vilensky 2019