Red (#85)

Big Finish Main Range

Initially this story sounds promising, with White Noise, a computer, controlling everyone’s impulse for strong emotions. Violence is the focus of elimination but with it comes the issue of love, hate, fear, all of the strong emotions that us humans have. And what are the consequences if they’re cut off completely? How will people behave? How can they survive and not be just zombies in the system? This type of question begins to be explored but then the action takes over and we’re dragged into a world where the computer kills everyone to prevent this mysterious “red” from infecting them. The logic of Red infecting everyone because White Noise is infected is moderately sound BUT it was infecting everyone already. And the machine is scared? Since when did it get programmed for emotions itself? The first half into the third part are good but then when the host for Red is revealed, things get just weird and illogical.

Red infects people to cause violence, it feeds on violence. It isn’t infecting White Noise as far as we can tell or are told until the very last stage of the story. Yet it’s also attracted to time travelers. Why is it in Celia to begin with? Is she a criminal? Is there some piece of her that is available in the future but not the past? Is this Earth in the past (our future) anyway? I don’t get that impression—I thought it was another planet. But I can’t say I know or care, honestly. I like the whole living building idea, too. It just all ends a jumble and confusion. Red is trapped in the Doctor’s chip but then, once White Noise is gone, it’s no longer there? It’s in his chip! Independent of White Noise, I thought. The explanations are lacking at times. It’s almost as if some of the explanatory dialog was cut out to make everything fit to the CD and some of the very important stuff that ties everything together got hit with the axe. Overall, not a very good Sylvester McCoy tale. Actually, if this was another Doctor’s story, I might’ve given it a three jelloid rating but since the McCoy audios just seem to be better written than Colin Baker’s, for example, I can’t recommended this one.

Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford

Writers: Stewart Sheargold

Director: G-Russell

Release: August 2006

Laura Vilensky 2019