The Gathering (#87)

Big Finish Main Range

Hehehe. Alan Fitzgerald is rather a funny character at the Gogglebox. Hehehe. It’s rather amusing. Pulling together all of the times and ages as things cross—nicely written. But the rest of it? eh. Okay, I get that it’s supposed to be this kind of nice, weepy drama since Tegan hasn’t seen the Doctor in awhile and she’s dying. They didn’t part on the best of terms—she just didn’t come back to the TARDIS, if I remember right—but what is a good way to leave? I don’t think there is one.

Once more we return to the idea that when the Doctor’s around, people die. But I see that argument as a smokescreen. He’s the hero of our tales and despite the fact that he fixes wrongs and sticks up for the oppressed, he has a dark side. I’d rather see it in his actions, being torn between the death of millions and the death of one person, rather than revisiting this perception of him from the outside, as it were. Certainly anyone’s actions can be looked at in a negative light. There are always at least two sides to an argument, after all. But with one storyline, he’s showing up where he’s most needed to help when he can. To do his best. In another storyline he’s the cause, the center around which everything turns. All different perceptions of the same person. We’ve even seen that on the new TV series where Martha’s parents were turned against the Doctor deliberately. We find out why later on but it’s a common tactic, a way to make the Doctor seem like the bad guy. I prefer to see his dark side in a different way…

Overall this story is tightly woven but it’s just not excellent. The Doctor shows up just when things are being set in motion and the testing begins. Though why system has to kill him to scan him is unclear. Okay, they’re trying to get the secret of regeneration from killing him but at the same time, are scanner that primitive that they must kill him? Almost an excuse to put him in the line of danger. James makes off with system (Eve) who we later meet in The Harvest, of course. It does give us a taste of what it’s like to be the Doctor, trying to not meet yourself as your past is our future type of thing. In this case, his future is our past as The Harvest is audio #58.

The ending is supposed to be touching and nice and I suppose it is. But I didn’t find it all that fantastic but I didn’t like Tegan as a companion too much anyway. Turlough’s much more interesting. And Nyssa may be retiring and quiet in comparison but she’s much more of an equal to the Doctor. Tegan was just scenery, having her own adventures but really, she was a traveler too. And that was her “in” and the whining and arguing were just part of her personality. I didn’t really like it. She was more in the category of the companion there to ask the Doctor questions and further the story. Only. Not really all that interesting on her own. I’m sure others feel differently or she never would’ve been so anticipated for a return. But I prefer my spunky companions more like Erimem—she’s got her own sort of power and though she asks all of the “dumb” questions, she had a power and life of her own before she started traveling with the Doctor. Tegan was just another person. Could be that is her appeal but I know I’d never make it as a Doctor’s companion—too many attachments to people and things here to really be able to just leave it all behind.

Peter Davison and Janet Fielding

Writer: Joseph Lidster

Director: Gary Russell

Release: September 2006

Laura Vilensky 2019