Project: Lazarus (#45)

Big Finish Main Range

The first half has Colin Baker’s Doctor running into Nimrod and the Forge with Evelyn. Cassie is Artimis, who takes Nimrod’s place as the field agent in Europe. This half is more interesting due to the fallout from the story that the second half, honestly. This is the first time we hear about Evelyn’s heart condition and the first time that Evelyn is really, really upset that the Doctor couldn’t save someone’s life. Nimrod gets away with everything, naturally. He’s a really evil kind of guy, that ex-doctor Aberton! The acting is good, the story pulls you in with a mystery about what Cassie’s doing, but then the research guy dies pretty quickly so things get messy mighty quickly. And Evelyn reconnects with Cassie only to have everything go to hell.

I really wish there could’ve been more interaction there, between Evelyn and Cassie. If you only listened to this adventure, you’d think that Evelyn’s reaction to Cassie’s death would be a bit overkill. She doesn’t really get to talk to her much at all in this one, doesn’t really have much of a role except to bring Cassie back to herself and remember Tommy, suspected to be seen later as Hex. Too bad Evelyn doesn’t ever meet him—at least not yet in the Big Finish adventures and I doubt she’d ever get the change. It seems that companions of the Doctor don’t cross mingle much… Messy for him when they do, I’d imagine! Like Charley meeting the Brigadier—that worked out well but the characters would mesh well due to their similar sense of what it means to be in polite society, I think.

The second half has Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor and Colin Baker’s running around at the Forge while it’s under attack by the Hooldruns, the creature killed in the first half of the story. The Dr. being a fake was a bit deceptive the first time I heard the story but once I heard the convention, it was impossible not to remember it for each subsequent listening experience. So McCoy’s Doctor seems to spend far too much time figuring out the issue with the other Doctor when he should just know, shouldn’t he? Colin Baker’s Doctor, in The One Doctor, says he knows when there’s another Doctor around because his hair stands on end. Why doesn’t Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor just KNOW? There’s nothing too exciting about the attacking aliens, Nimrod predictably kills everyone, and the good people who stick up for the Doctor all die. And the Doctor doesn’t die, as usual.

But there’s never a sense of catastrophe with this adventure that can lend that air of danger. It’s too focused on aliens who aren’t really a threat that are threatening and a mystery about the Doctor that really isn’t a mystery. Not the best effort by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright—Project: Twilight and The Church and the Crown (a true classic, that one!) are both better done. I do hope that they write the next Forge adventure, though. They do have the atmosphere down and the characters.

Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Maggie Stables

Writers: Cavan Scott and Mark Wright

Director: G-Russell

Release: June 2003

Laura Vilensky 2019