WARNING: Significant spoilers ahead!
Previously on Doctor Who…
When last we left the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson), they’d just tracked down the source of an old Roman legend, met a bizarre colonel who chased Leela around in a tank (Michael Cochrane) and encountered the Doctor’s best enemy, the beef-jerky-in-a-cloak version of the Master (Geoffrey Beevers). The story ended with a set up for this audio. I liked part one. Does part two measure up?
In this chapter we have the Master working alongside the Kraals (previously seen in “The Android Invasion” and, hilariously, a name which my spell-check recognizes). He gives the Doctor over to them, and then sort-of steps back and mocks them (which eventually results in the Kraals arresting him), as they begin their plans to take over the Earth with the help of Colonel Spindleton (who the Master keeps calling Colonel Simpleton). This plan apparently involves the Kraal army and their legions of androids attacking a small village to get UNIT to respond, then destroying them, thus leaving the way clear for greater things to come.
Leela, not surprisingly, isn’t going to just stand by and just let these things happen. It isn’t long before she rescues the Master and rides off with him, on horseback, to the Kraal homeworld of Oseidon. There it’s revealed that the Master’s real plan has nothing to do with global conquest and everything to do with extending his life. So, pretty much Tuesday for him.
This was another fine audio outing for the Fourth Doctor and Leela. Tom Baker’s earlier problem of sounding more like “Tom Baker” than like the Fourth Doctor has almost completely disappeared and both Jameson and Beevers are in top form. Special recognition must also to Michael Cochrane for his great performance as Spindleton, who, in the end, is revealed to be more misguided than truly evil.
I also really liked the “androids within androids,” aspect of the story, where we find out that the Doctor is, at one point, an android. So is the master. And the next Master. And the one after that. Whether or not we ever actually meet the Master for real is something that can only be guessed at, and I enjoyed that.
On the other hand, there are times when that particular aspect of the story makes it kind of hard to figure out what, exactly, is going on. There are many times when I wasn’t sure exactly where everyone was and what they were doing. This is, I suppose, due more to a lack of imagination on my part than it is to any failings with the audios. By their very nature, you do have to pay more attention to what’s happening than you do with TV, since you don’t have actual pictures to fill in the blanks.
This is the final story for the first season of Fourth Doctor adventures, and I’ve been very pleased with them. Even the weakest, which I would say was probably “The Renaissance Man,” a story which has left me with no lasting impression, was still at least fun to listen to. Throughout the writing has been very good, and it’s been a real blast to hear Jameson and Baker together again.
Next season we’re going to see (hear), a whole new series of stories with the first Romana (a name which my spell checker does NOT recognize), and a special guest appearance by Jago and Litefoot, joining the Fourth Doctor after what will be five seasons of their own series of audios. If season two of “The Fourth Doctor Adventures” is as good as season one, then we all have something great to look forward to!