Alan Barnes’ clever script benefits from some strong casting, with Farscape’s Virginia Hey playing the leader of a research group who have been prepared to go to some lengths to ensure they can carry out their mission. Those with a knowledge of Hey’s character on the Rockne O’Bannon series will get a wry smile from the casting, given some of the other characters and creatures involved in the story!
The Doctor/Leela relationship is being given some interesting twists and turns in this season – two stories in, and they’ve fallen out over some quite fundamental issues, yet despite their concerns, they are a very effective team, with Leela never losing faith in the Doctor’s ability to plan. Louise Jameson comments in the CD extras on some of the humour in the story, and how well-placed it is: one of the best comic lines is also one of the best insights into how Leela views the Doctor (you’ll know it when you hear it.) There are, of course, moments where her faith is challenged…
Nick Briggs keeps Tom Baker suitably restrained – the CD extras give a clue as to the sort of additions that he likes to suggest – but allows him to release the Doctor’s pent-up venom over certain adversaries. The conclusion makes a strong contrast to the end of the previous story, and given the connections between the first two tales, I hope that there’s going to be more made of this as the season progresses.
Verdict: A sometimes creepy tale which uses the audio medium well. 8/10