The Kiss of Death (#147)

Big Finish Main Range

The irony of the title doesn’t really come into play until the last 5 minutes of this audio so don’t expect death from kissing throughout! As much as I love Turlough as a companion and this story is all about Turlough and a piece of his history, it was a bit disappointing in terms of the bad guy people. The hired guns, Hoss and Kanch, were stereotypes for the most part with a bit more loyalty to each other than I’d expect. Their boss, Renol, was just a greedy thug-type who is more concerned with his reputation than people. And Deela is someone I expected to be complicated but she turns out to be, well, pretty shallow and despite the character conflict she supposedly goes through, a person who chooses her past over the present. When we find out her true motivations later on in the story, as much as it’s a bit repulsive, I at least found that she was a “true” character. When she gets into her conflicted mode I just lose all respect for her and just roll my eyes a lot while she hems and haws about life, the universe, and everything.

The best parts of this story are the trip down memory lane for Turlough and the true monster in the cave, the Morass. It made me think of molasses from the descriptions but a truly icky version of molasses, that’s for sure! Stephen Cole’s stories are of the hate ‘em or like ‘em type for me – liked Land of the Dead and The Whispering Forest but I could live without Apocalypse Element (blech), Wormery (Iris Wildhyme!), and now, Kiss of Death. This story has its moments but it just doesn’t come together satisfactorily for me. There’s a definite improvement in the companion interactions but the Doctor is left out of that. And though they are separated at times, the Doctor and his companions have a good instinct for survival. I kept expecting the henchmen to shoot Tegan or Turlough at any moment, though I never had that sense of “imminent danger” at the same time.

Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Mark Strickson, and Janet Fielding

Writer: Stephen Cole

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: May 2011

Laura Vilensky 2019