The final two episodes of this epic five-part story begun in The Sands of Life pose quite a few questions which hopefully will see some answers towards the end of the season (particularly as we know that Cuthbert will be returning along with some dangerous new allies). The emphasis on Romana’s importance continues, making this a fitting tribute to Mary Tamm, (something that’s reflected in the cover) although fans of K9 may be disappointed by his lack of appearance.
The publication recently of a history of the Audio Visuals Doctor Who fan stories allows those of us who never heard those tales – but have heard about them and their influence on Big Finish – possibly to get some insight into who or what Cuthbert is, but those who only have David Warner’s cutting performance to work from shouldn’t necessarily feel left out. Other AV stories and characters have appeared in Big Finish form in a very altered state – or indeed, as with Frozen Time, Nick Briggs has played with the AV audience’s expectations. Still, it does seem as if Cuthbert and the Conglomerate are going to be as much of a pain in the fourth Doctor’s side as they were Briggs’ own incarnation.
With a couple of instances where Tom Baker almost plays against the way you’d expect him to deliver certain lines, this has some nice surprises along the way, and continues the strong series of stories Big Finish are providing for the Fourth Doctor.
Verdict: Very much a direct continuation of The Sands of Life, this wraps things up… but only to a certain extent. 8/10