Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
Without missing a beat the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), K9 (John Leeson) and new companion WPC Anne Kelso (Jane Slavin) are back for the second part of Series 8 and the drama only gets greater.
Time’s Assassin by Guy Adams
Continuing the story of Volume 1 which ended with Doctor and Anne are still stuck in the institute; who’s director and some of the patients call to mind some familiar names from the Dalek Masterplan. But when those in charge of patient care means the Doctor harm, will a fellow patient help save the day, even if he doesn’t know who he is?
This is a wonderful start to the set (and continuation of the series). Where in part 1 it gave Tom Baker a lot of chances to play it large and have fun being in the asylum and going with the madness as only he knows how, this episode takes the story on a more serious path and pays pathos to someone who thinks they control the universe because they can’t take the reality of what happened to them. Jon Culshaw treads the line perfectly between the arc of who Mavic Chen was and how this successor to the name is a poor copy who is trying to live up to the legacy. They both celebrate the past adventure whilst teasing its imperfections.
Fever Island by Jonathan Barnes
British Secret agent Jason Vane (Gethin Anthony) is on the trail of Okulov. His nemesis that is bent on distorting the world. K9 is musing on the subject of dreams, Anne and the Doctor get stranded following a mysterious storm in the vortex. Both answers to what is happening and an undue amount of peril await them all as they find themselves on Fever Island.
This is a really interesting mystery of a story. Having K9 quoting Shakespeare early on is enough to get anyone’s attention for a start. But it’s the many and varied stories within the story that keep it interesting. And to have the solution being intertwined with the problem is a lovely way to wrap it up. I’m aware this may not instantly make sense (as I don’t want to give away any spoilers) but if you like flights of the imagination, you will surely enjoy this tale. It’s also an adventure that gives John Leeson’s K9 something truly new to do, something not easy to pull off after so many years in the part.
The Perfect Prisoners (Parts 1 & 2) by John Dorney
As the Doctor and Anne finally start making some progress on tracking down the syndicate, Anne finds she’s not quite feeling herself. The Doctor finds more links to his past as he fights to win the day and suddenly even reality itself seems like something you can’t rely on when they find themselves in a world of augmented reality.
This series has really done a lot of firsts for the 4th Doctor. With a new companion for audio for the first time. Calls back to before his tenure as the Doctor and this 2 parter continues that trend in a way I can’t reveal without spoiling too much. Slavin as Kelso is given challenges in this script (and set) that would be a test for someone who’d been a Who companion for a long time, let alone someone who has been in the show for just 1 series. She pulls it off uncannily. The script is full of turns and manages to wrap up the mysteries of the run in a satisfying, if not sometimes heart wrenching way.
Baker and Leeson are by now and long since experts in these roles but as always find now things and areas to go with it. Slavin manages to not only hold her own but complements the Tardis crew effortlessly. The stories are a nice mix. Mostly making you feel like you are watching TV forth Doctor at his best, but where licence is taken toward modern story telling or to fit audio it fits. A great addition to the forth Doctor cannon. 9/10.
Download/buy here: https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/series-8b-1643