Review by Jacob Licklider
Echoes of Extinction is a release with a troubled history. Originally announced for a November 2020 release with the final Big Finish release for the Time Lord Victorious event as a download and vinyl exclusive at certain UK supermarkets, boasting Paul McGann and David Tennant both portraying the Doctor before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it, making the vinyl exclusive to Big Finish’s own website. Now it is April 2021 and Echoes of Extinction has finally been released, making it the final installment in the event to actually be released in the event. It is also interesting as being made for vinyl, it is essentially two interconnected stories, each approximately 28 minutes to accommodate the vinyl’s limitations. This is also a multi-Doctor story in the vein of Heart of TARDIS, where each Doctor’s plot affects the other’s while never actually meeting each other. The story follows the same format as the main range story Flip Flop which each disc could be listened to individually and in either order. For full transparency, I listened to the story in the order they were presented in the Big Finish app, with the Eighth Doctor’s story first followed by the Tenth Doctor’s story, rounded off with the customary bonus interviews as is with these ranges.
The Eighth Doctor’s story actually takes place before the Time War while the Tenth Doctor’s deals with some of the fallout of the Time War, including a genocide of the Kottruth which has been something that he will have to face. Paul McGann’s performance is interesting as it captures some of the youthful romance of his earlier audio dramas, especially those with India Fisher’s Charley Pollard and Sheridan Smith’s Lucie Miller, making it an interesting contrast to Tennant’s performance, which is more focused on showing the Doctor after the war and near the end of his life, dealing with coming to terms with his death. Each episode has a different cast of characters and honestly feels like two Short Trips instead of really telling a single two part story; though the villain is the same across the two essentially separate stories as each Doctor defeats it at two different places in time and space. Burn Gorman, Kathryn Drysdale, and Paul Clayton inhabit the Eighth Doctor’s half, while Mina Anwar, Inès de Clercq, and Arthur Darvill inhabit the Tenth Doctor’s half. Both casts are great, with Gorman as the villain in both excelling, but really in each episode there isn’t quite enough time in either to completely develop them, so they are slightly relegated to stereotypes.
Going in with the idea that this is two interconnected Short Trips instead of a single story and the listener will have more fun with it if that is the approach they take. Tennant and McGann each bring something different to the role, allowing the perspectives of two Doctors on a singular villain making interesting contrasts, even if having them meet would have helped those contrasts come to the forefront. Overall, a fairly fun story and suited to the medium of vinyl, though listening digitally doesn’t quite do it justice. 7/10.
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