Absolution (#101)

Big Finish Main Range

Well, for the departure of C’rizz, this is a real humdinger of a storyline! The fallout is a bit more than the Doctor is ready to accept, I think. Finally Charley realizes what it means to be friends with the Doctor as he’s not human. He can’t grieve for all his companions as they all leave him at some point. Though he could care a bit more, I think, that he shows here. But we don’t really have the experience of watching Paul McGann’s Doctor lose any companions, whether by death or just leaving him. Though we did see it in a secondary way with Terror Firma as he rediscovers Gemma and Samson that Davros took from him. But nothing along these lines of actually watching one die. Colin Baker’s Doctor “loses” Evelyn in Thicker Than Water and isn’t really up for facing that emotionally. But he can come back to correct that mistake and does.

Here, C’rizz changes, becomes powerful and saves everyone, only to die. And the Doctor doesn’t stop to mourn him for a moment. And in that time, when they return to the TARDIS and move on, Charley realizes how much the Doctor just can’t care and how much he can’t acknowledge change. He’s hard inside at times, though he can’t match TV’s David Tennant for that cold, hard edge, but he cares and has learned to depend on his companions. He even breaks up their squabbling before returning from the Divergent universe, insisting that they all must get along before he’ll allow them to travel together. He either cannot immediately take in the death of C’rizz and just won’t admit it, which Charley can’t see, or he really just doesn’t care. Now he and Charley are a team again and that’s what matters.

Though far from being the focus of this audio (I suspect that will come with The Girl Who Never Was), the death of C’rizz does fashion much of my opinion about this adventure. The adventure itself is good but not fantastic. They fall into a pit that is a world torn apart where people have been mutated into monsters by a science experiment gone wrong. They’ve lived in this pit for 3000 years, avoiding their pain and the inevitable. How they haven’t bothered to ask themselves questions about what happened and try to fix it before that, before the omeba comes, I just don’t know. Seems preposterous to me. Denial sure can go a long way, though! The companions are split up and their path to meeting again is long and dangerous but despite the death and destruction, I just didn’t feel the danger was imminent. I suspected the death of C’rizz was coming due to the company he was in but I never felt that they couldn’t solve the puzzle, fix the problem. And if the people aren’t re-fused, how will the world survive? That’s not really answered. And just why is the Doctor so unconcerned with C’rizz’s death? Can’t wait for #103 to find out!

Paul McGann, India Fisher, and Conrad Westmaas

Writer: Scott Alan Woodard

Director: Barnaby Edwards

Release: October 2007

Laura Vilensky 2019