December 2, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Ravagers: Sphere Of Freedom”

The Ninth Doctor takes on time eddies and the mysterious game company behind them all.

Big Finish got maybe it’s biggest coup when they got Christopher Eccleston to return to the role of the Doctor.  Eccleston’s short tenure on the TV show was, in my mind, pretty darn good.  He was a good starter Doctor, someone to guide the viewer through who the Doctor was and what his whole deal with.  Regeneration, his preferences for nonviolence, the flashes of arrogance, a playfulness, general joy of discovery, a hatred for the Daleks, basically everything that the Doctor basically is.  But he walked away for reasons he didn’t quite explain at the time, and he’s made it very clear that he won’t be doing the TV show again any time soon if ever.

But Big Finish audio plays?  Hey, that’s a whole different thing, and now he’s joined the ranks of the many former Doctors to do these fun, fun stories.  But what about the this one?

OK, first off, whenever I put one of these CDs in my blu-ray player, and yes I use CDs for these stories, I get a total run time.  Most of the Big Finish stories are about an hour or so.  This one was 42 minutes.  Huh.

Then again, I didn’t realize it was Part One of Three because I didn’t read the cover that closely.

Anyhoo, the story opens with Eccleston’s Doctor working with a woman named Nova, but something goes wrong on some kind of gaming planet, and Nova doesn’t make it.  An older woman named Audrey, one who says she’s too old to be taken seriously by other gamers but at the same time was too young to be taken seriously before, offers to listen as the Doctor explains what happened.

In a nutshell, time is breaking, and the Doctor landed in 1950s London to find the local military was about to go in and shoot up a lost Roman century (80 soldiers instead of a 100, and the Doctor doesn’t quite understand why) that had attacked and killed a lot of civilians.  The Doctor can’t quite negotiate the two sides to peace, but he realizes there are time eddies involved, and if he fixes everything just right, no one will have died.

His next stop is an alien world where Nova, a woman who works in the commissary of a game lounge, is basically a slave, and she’ll help the Doctor since he promised to get her out of there, and he meant it.  Besides, this story seems to be taking place before he met a certain Ms. Tyler, so he needs a companion.  The Doctor by himself is always going to have more problems than he should.

Anyway, the Doctor’s plan doesn’t work, Nova falls into a time eddy, and that Audrey woman seems to know a lot more than she should.  Turns out she’s the baddie the whole time, the CEO of the company whose high end game, played only by rich aliens (or so we are told) is somehow destabilizing the space/time continuum, and it all has something to do with these lifeforms that eat things that get tossed through the time stream or something.

That would be where Audrey sends the Doctor when he tries to retreat in the TARDIS.

Oh, she is gonna regret trying to mess with the Doctor.  And so far, this story has been, in a word, fantastic.