Criss-Cross (#204)

Big Finish Main Range

In her introductory story, Constance Clarke is the Leading Wren at Wearingdon House. We already know, thanks to the 6th Doctor’s regeneration story, that she’s a well-worn companion for this Doctor. So her introductory story happens after we see her the first time. Interesting concept and it does work for me in this story but I was very weirded out by her in the regeneration story. Knowing she’s from WWII is helpful in placing her in the adventures, too.

So Doctor John Smith is “listening” for Sparke, a code name for a spy in 1941. And golden eggs. (I immediately thought of a golden ticket but not quite…) He’s using the resources at Wearingdon House to find these references in the ether since the TARDIS is completely dead. Why? Well, we find out it’s due to interference from an electromagnetic life form stuck at the bottom of the ocean due to the radio interference across the surface. THEN it gets really complicated! There is a spy who is double-crossing everyone he can find for the money and power. There’s the whole reasoning behind how the alien being functions (which I didn’t get hardly at all and reminded me of ish… in many ways), Germans and British running around trying to “use” the alien for their own ends. And the amazing code crackers who play a vital role in caging the alien.

As I was listening, the story was just over half-way done and there were no major obstacle to the Doctor freeing the alien. So I just knew there would be something coming up that he didn’t expect. As usual, he wasn’t quite right in his assessment of the situation. But overall the plot was pretty tight (not too many holes) and there was a fantastic use of the side characters – really brought them to life. Other than my lack of comprehension of the code breaking, plus how the alien and radio waves work, it was a good plot.

Colin Baker(The Doctor),Miranda Raison(Constance Clarke),Paul Thornley(Robbie Flint/Cyril),Alistair Petrie(Major Harris/German Lieutenant),Hugh Fraser(Dr Schwartzmann/Rider),Charlotte Salt(Sylvia Wimpole/Waveform/Effy),Robbie Stevens(Captain Unger/Dutch/British Captain/Chuadri)

Writer: Matt Fitton

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: September 2015

Laura Vilensky 2019