Caerdroia (#63)

Big Finish Main Range

Well, not sure why the Divergents are actually afraid of the Doctor. Or are they? And are “they” actually just “him”? I won’t reveal him because that, I think, is the point of The Next Life. I like the use of the Welsh word for labyrinth as the title. This is one of the better titles for the audios we’ve had in awhile. The Last? A bit simplistic but that tells the story, basically, and kind of gives away the ending. Faith Stealer? Not so much. Doesn’t really steal faith but more likely to steal intelligence and/or wisdom. Icky stuff, actually, from the description. Gross!

It appears that Lloyd Rose has returned to the idea of Alice in Wonderland, which is a recurring theme for the Doctor in this new universe. Ever since Zagreus, things have tended towards the fantastic in a kooky way, where there’s a “march hare” twirling in the Garden of Curiosities, a clock with no hands, the neverending office block and bureaucracy. I really like the three aspects of the Doctor wandering, with the flighty one, the intellectual one, and the, well, expedient and cruel one. And their interactions with Charley and C’rizz are fascinating! In lieu of exploring the characters face-to-face, one Doctor to another, we get to see them each interact with others. Though how they are rescued by Charley and C’rizz yet manage to lose them after the rescue is a bit mystifying. That bit was apparently cut—the reunion. Maybe it just wasn’t interesting enough?

The divergent universe stories are mostly very good to excellent. There are multiple villains in the Kro’Ka and whatever world they’ve been moved to. They only have each other as a reference to anything in the past. Having a very alien traveling companion doesn’t impact them too much as he blends in and with this being audio, he doesn’t really stick out except in his lack of understanding of the colloquialisms that Charley and the Doctor use. He’s not so very alien after all so it leads me to wonder why make him alien looking, even. Something entertaining at times but it doesn’t make much of a difference to the adventures most of the time. Except for his unknown past that may just come back to haunt them all in the end. He and Charley get along swimmingly for the most part, despite their difference in backgrounds. And they understand each other, no matter what, so perhaps the TARDIS is always nearby in each zone or there’s a similar type of understanding circuit that is installed in each zone. And who would set up these crazy, mixed-up zones as experiments? Seems a bit radical. And who knows if they’re each on individual planets or all on one planet. I must admit that the ending implies they’re off to many adventures in this universe but next comes The Next Life, the end of their time in this universe. Seems pretty abrupt…

Paul McGann, India Fisher, and Conrad Westmaas

Writer: Lloyd Rose

Director: G-Russell

Release: November 2004

Laura Vilensky 2019