Doom Coalition #4

Big Finish - 8th Doctor Special Release

What a fantastic follow-up to volume 3’s cliffhanger! Though they’ve added another cliffhanger on to the end of this volume as well. Sigh. I hope she’s not hanging with the elder gods playing chess, like Hex was. Or was it checkers?

4.1 Ship in a Bottle

by John Dorney

Helen, Liv, and the Doctor are stranded in the disintegrating time vortex, trying to figure out how to get back. So Helen really tries to get her part in assisting the Doctor worked out as she feels as though she doesn’t contribute enough, as Liv is very hands on and being a med tech, it’s easier for her to figure out how to contribute. Helen contributes in a less hands on way in that she doesn’t have an expertise that can be used in almost every situation. Instead, she is a moral center and contributes through participation and discussion. Being teamed up with Liv would make me feel inadequate too!

Eventually, as the drama unfolds, Liv’s determination spurs Helen to come up with the solution for the way out. I won’t ruin the details but it’s quite the dangerous maneuver! I was definitely impressed how everyone is willing to work together to get things done and it became about the team. I loved this episode! Team TARDIS rocks! (even outside of the TARDIS)

4.2 Songs of Love

by Matt Fitton

I thought this story was a bit strangely titled, though perhaps it’s down to River’s contribution. It twists around as we head over to the current crisis and how River tries to assist the rest of the team, despite not knowing where they are. She has faith that they survived and are working to get back to the “main story.” So we see how she helps them and we mostly don’t see the Doctor, just his companions getting back to reality. But that only bothered me for a moment or two, ultimately, as I wondered where he was.

No matter how mercenary we’ve seen her get, I never for a moment thought that River switched sides in the conflict. I did wonder why Padrac thought that pairing himself with two crazy Time Lord types, Caliera (The Sonomancer) and the Eleven, is going to make his scheme work. Mind you, it does get pretty far along until the Doctor figures out what’s going on. As the audience, we know that once he knows the villain’s plan, he will stop it. No matter what. So we had to go through the gyrations of figuring it out in order to get to the place where the Doctor can solve the problem.

4.3 The Side of the Angels

by Matt Fitton

As much as the Weeping Angels scare the heck out of me, I found them to be just a villain living by instinct in this one, which mostly takes the scary right out of them. The live up to their predictable nature and we know that the Doctor is right when he questions Ollistra’s partnership with them. And the Monk! I wasn’t expecting him but he lives up to expectations as well. There are good pieces to the story but it just came together like a flat soda for me. Adding in the Eleven to stir the pot didn’t make it interesting, though it should have. And we never find out what he promised the Weeping Angels that was better than what the Monk promised them.

Liv and Helen learn about the Angels about the same way that Amy Pond does, up close and through the video screen! So though the story is generally good, I found it full of ideas already used. But what more can you do with the Weeping Angels to make them scary on audio? Other than have the Time Lords being idiots. Meh, it was okay.

4.4 Stop the Clock

by John Dorney

So we return to Gallifrey and the machinations of Padrac. Yet we get a clue from River’s discussions with Caliera that she is the key to making the universe fall apart. And Helen makes the final connection that gets her to realize her mistake in trusting Padrac. Helen does get trapped with the Eleven in a TARDIS but he’s quite the villain to deal with. I think she’s up for that task, if she can keep 4 from killing her… But ultimately, the time to destroy the universe comes then goes, as we expected from the first. I can’t remember much of this climactic story except that the good guys succeed, and we get our first hints of the Time War that we all know is to come. How do they not know who’s on the other side of things? Hmmm. That seems odd. It just doesn’t come to be well thought out. And justice for Padrac is quite clear in the end. Caliera gets her love for all eternity!

Paul McGann(The Doctor),Nicola Walker(Liv Chenka),Hattie Morahan(Helen Sinclair),Alex Kingston(River Song),Mark Bonnar(The Eleven),Robert Bathurst(Padrac),Emma Cunniffe(The Sonomancer),Rufus Hound(The Meddling Monk),Beth Chalmers(Veklin),Carolyn Pickles(Cardinal Ollistra), Jacqueline Pearce (Ollistra), Olivia Poulet (Jerasta), Vince Leigh (Volstrom/Matrix Keeper/Computer), Sasha Behar (Presidential Aide/ Tessno/ Ladonne), Ronnie Ancona (Joanie Carrington), Alex Beckett (Alekall). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Writer: John Dorney, Matt Fitton

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: March 2017

Laura Vilensky 2019