Tuesday, 7 November 2017

30 Discs Hath November #7: Time In Office disc two

Doctor Who (Main Range) #230
Time in Office episodes 3 & 4
written by Eddie Robson

History Repeating

And we start off with yet more agency and fun for Tegan. The basic set-up of this episode is that the Doctor is making a speech at Pyrdon Academy about some reforms he wants to make and a bored Tegan accepts an offer of a drink from another Time Lord, one who intends to steal a TARDIS in imitation of the Doctor and take (kidnap) her as his companion. As with the last episode it puts Tegan in a position of knowledge for a change, the experienced traveler to the naive young Time Lord who doesn't know what he's getting in to.

The Doctor, meanwhile, contends with the lightest plot of the set so far as he's confronted by a rather incompetent student revolutionary who, it turns out, has a list of grievances the Doctor was going to tackle in his speech anyway.

Its the least biting bit of satire Time In Office has to give, especially after the last episode was all about the sins of the past and colonialism, but by Doctor Who third episode standards its far from the depths of filler that have been served up in the past even from Big Finish.

There is also a part of me that loves the idea of Tegan going on a date with a Time Lord and maybe even starting off a casual thing with them. Maybe I'm hoping too much of this sudden turn towards agency for the character but I hope that some of what Robson has been writing for the character gets built on down the line.

Architect of Destruction

In all seriousness, Eddie Robson needs to write more Tegan stories, he has such a fantastic grasp of what makes her a great character. Her desire to take no crap from anyone, even a race of immortal time travelers millions of years more advanced than her, is the sort of trait that should have made her one of the most influential companions in the classic series. As it is she was written off as unsympathetic and we didn't get a companion with as much character or agency until Ace.

On a larger scale Eddie Robson has a wonderful twist on the conspiracy that anyone listening to this would have known was going to end the story even before the end of episode reveal in the previous episode. There are also some fantastic “visuals” described as the Doctor and company tour the new Capitol. I particularly liked the idea of statues whose faces change to represent all the incarnations of the famous Time Lords they depict.

Davison continues to enjoy the chance to get up to comedy antics and I hope Big Finish take this as an indication that they can do more with the character from here on out than light exasperation. I also hope it puts to bed forever the fan myth that, to misapply a quote from Jim Cornette, “funny don't make money”, a myth that has been with the series ever since fandom hailed the departure of Douglas freakin' Adams as the best thing to ever happen to the show.

No, seriously, that happened and whilst this story was nowhere near a Douglas Adams in quality it does show that BFP can afford to have a little more fun with the license. 

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