“They would stand in front of great maps, wave their arms in mysterious ways and conjure up misery and delight in equal measure.”
“They were sorcerers.”
“Or big fibbers. Nobody ever really worked it out.”
The Doctor and Leela break up an unusual hunting expedition. Did you know there were Zygons involved?
“No. We did not know that.”
“But it all sounds very impressive. Bravo.” (breaks into brief round of solo applause)
A reasonably slight offering from Big Finish frontman Nick Briggs despite being built around some good thematic concerns, this episode ultimately hearkens back to the more lighthearted and ephemeral of Tom Baker era Classic Who episodes.
There’s puns and silly banter galore (Hark! The ghost of Graham Williams draws near!) and as noted, a touch of sociopolitical commentary in the anti-hunting and colonization undertones. There’s even a much needed (and far more profound) message about the importance of empathy and conscience over blind jingoism and ‘patriotic’ devotion.
“What you’ve done, Mina, is see the other side of the argument. When you get to know your enemy as intimately as you have, sometimes it doesn’t feel like they’re the enemy at all.”
While a fairly enjoyable lark, there’s surprisingly little to comment on here.
More than the somewhat standard antiwar polemic we’ve become accustomed to from Who or Blakes 7 efforts (much less a more obvious anti-hunting one), Briggs has taken what should be a very basic, easy to understand moral applicable to each and every one of us (regardless of political persuasion, nation of origin, race, creed or colour) and overlays it with a bit of fairly basic and obvious sci-fi nonsense about Zygons and Earthian hunters for garnish. End of episode.
As always, it’s a pleasure to hear Baker and Jameson’s warm and lively double act – and for those who haven’t been following Third Eye or the series to date, this far moreso than was the case onscreen back in their televised heyday. Gillian Kearney offers a standup job as the conflicted Mina, and the fellows are no slouches either, albeit within the limitations of the far more one dimensional roles they’re given to work with.
Listeners to the two podcasts I’m involved with are doubtless well aware of the primacy of importance of the message Briggs is trying to get across here. While adapted somewhat to encompass a literal alien race rather than the more metaphorical Earthbound equivalent, without empathy, compassion and a concerted effort to understand those who think, feel, act, look or dress differently than ourselves, we are lost.
To be human is to be more than a closed minded provincial, adhering to what I know because I know it, and because that’s what I’ve been told to believe by my forbears…rather than what I experience and learn from the experiences of others, seeking out new experience and listening to other perspectives from those unlike myself.
Without that conscious and deliberate gesture, we devolve into atavism, tribalism, cruelty, warfare and hatred.
Take a look around you. Open a newspaper, or the electronic equivalent of your choice.
And then take a look in the mirror.
Given our individual and collective action (or inaction) and the results thereof…can we truly say we are human?
Maybe there’s more to this slight little story than it may at first seem.