Assassin in the Limelight (#108)

Big Finish Main Range

I chose to listen to this audio before The Haunting of Thomas Brewster due to Robert Ross’s past record of writing bad stories. I also received The Haunting of Thomas Brewster almost a month late due to some weird mail snafu. The CD cases are getting worse and worse and some of my older CDs are just not holding up. Putting them on my iPod gets more and more tricky each year… So I’m really looking forward to being able to subscribe to the downloadable audios to avoid the CD decay issue!

I tried to listen to this audio with an open mind and mostly, I was just bored. That partially comes from the fact that we already know what happens to Evelyn Smythe’s relationship with the Doctor in Thicker than Water. She isn’t really threatened here and just gets relegated to a side-character. The Doctor and her really don’t have anything new or unique happen in their squabbles. Nothing really interesting happens. I just couldn’t get involved in the story. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is a historical marker as things went off in a new direction after his death. But the alien creature here indicates that more bloodshed ensues and the battle continues! And from the books I’ve read about this era in history (I took a few classes in it since I am American, thanks), the South was just as tired of fighting as the North so even if he had lived, the predicted bloodbath wouldn’t have happened. I’m not a Civil War scholar but this was a bit much.

I had hopes that this would be the end of these ephemeral monsters for whom iron is like kryptonite. And for Knox. But no, I wasn’t that lucky. The ending made me just roll my eyes. How long does Mr. Ross expect to continue this? I’ll admit that he is giving himself the room to go back to them or move on, and he is being a bit more lighthearted here in general, which works better. But if he’d started off with something more along these lines, I wouldn’t’ve been so jaded about his stories as a whole. His other adventures, Pier Pressure and Medicinal Purposes, also involved Evelyn and the 6th Doctor and they were amongst the worst audio adventures Big Finish has done.

So he did improve on his stories with this one but it really just didn’t grab my imagination. Perhaps the British historical do better is just because I haven’t studied British history and you can convince me of any back story on those. But the American backstory? It just makes me shake my head. So a whopping 3 jelloids for Mr. Ross on his third attempt and here’s hoping that buries the lot.

Colin Baker and Maggie Stables

Writer: Robert Ross

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: May 2008

Laura Vilensky 2019