After the highly enjoyable Moonflesh, the second part of this Peter Davison/Sarah Sutton trilogy had a lot to live up to, and writers Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby have done so. I recently described James Goss’s Blake’s 7 script as labyrinthine, using the term metaphorically; it’s appropriate in a literal sense for this story, which feels like a high-octane version of Tomb Raider through a Doctor Who prism.
Director Ken Bentley has assembled a strong ensemble cast, who sell the idea of this highly dysfunctional family from the very first scene – in the extras a number of the actors refer to being ‘types’ and to an extent that’s what they have to be, since there isn’t room to expand all of them. However, in Vima, Eve Karpf has brought to live one of the most deliciously nasty characters we’ve heard in Doctor Who for a long time, and you have to hope that there are ways that this most unmotherly matriarch can make a reappearance.
There are more than a few surprises along the way in this story – the end of episode three in particular was a real what the hell moment – and it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens as a result of the final scene…
Verdict: A rip-roaring homage to high adventure tales. 8/10