“You? You’re the most dangerous person I know!”
New Who’s loveable Strax himself, Dan Starkey both appears in and co-authors this Sylvester McCoy and Mel-era adventure.
The Doctor investigates a seemingly abandoned mining facility cum prison, where some of the prisoners…or is it experiments? are still wating.
But when a Sontaran crew also arrives to look into the situation, they discover some very dishonorable behaviors have taken place here…
Why does everyone seem to be losing their tenuous grip on sanity? And what waits below, in the dark?
“I’m The Doctor. And you’re in distress.”
And with that nod to a cheesetastic Who fandom favorite, we enter a grim mystery marked by incongrously comic touches. It appears The Doctor and Mel have entered a madhouse, and all the comedy and horror of the insane ensues…
“I never thought I’d compliment a Sontaran on a matter of aesthetics, but there’s a first time for everything.”
Alien stage show comedians? Sontarans who knit and sculpt? All part of a rash of mysterious tortures, religious fanaticism, bizarre behaviors and suicides…it appears this facility holds many secrets, some known to the Sontarans…others, not so…
Prospective listener be warned, the title of this adventure is a bit misleading. Rather than the presumable implication that the Sontarans are the “terror” to be faced, Dorney and Starkey deliver more of a terror to the militarily-obsessed clone race, and those who join them at this abandoned, war torn facility.
As such, there’s a pleasant overtone of “mystery in space” to be found herein, and while the final act devolves a bit into the videogame standard “boss battle” with a touch of anarchy among the ranks, that aspect certainly helps to make what could have been an arguably typical Sontaran by way of prison drama story into something a few shades more palatable.
Starkey puts forth his best Sontaran, albeit with a surprising degree of po-facedness – there’s very little to laugh at in his portrayals herein, and the warmth he brings to the likes of Strax seems entirely absent. Similarly, Langford isn’t given much space to strut her stuff, leaving McCoy, the trio of Starkey characters and baddie Andree Bernard to handle the bulk of the heavy lifting. Daniel O’Meara offers a slightly comically crazed wiseass in Ketch, but in sum, this one is strangely serious.
And whether that works to the listener’s personal taste or contrarily to the tale’s ultimate detriment, I leave to the individual’s own discretion.