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“I suppose you’d think an idea can’t affect the real world.”

We join the Tom Baker Doctor and Leela (Louise Jameson) already in place on an alien planet, where abandoned alien mines dot the landscape and a primitive village hosts an unusual hotel…and The Doctor and Leela are the first paying guests it’s ever seen within its walls.

Who is the Black Dog, vengeful god of this planet?  And why is Leela suddenly dreaming of him…dreams that portend a horrific death?

“Why would they continue to worship him?”
“They don’t.  They just fear him.  And they live in terror of him invading their dreams.”

The Doctor leads a revolt against superstition, with Leela herself as the spearhead and symbol of uprising.  Looks like author Dale Smith has a bit of a bone to pick with religion, n’est-ce pas?

While there’s certainly some truth to be found herein, and a decided level of apropos commentary on some disturbing right-leaning political/anti-intellectual trends operating under the guise of organized religion, Black Dog starts in the middle (in terms of strict story construction) and quickly slides into polemic.

It’s a quickie, admittedly, and therefore subject to a flimsier backdrop of characterization, setting and build than a more typical audio script, but this one’s ostensible walls appear to be made of rice paper, letting its hardly-subsumed underpinnings bleed through like a Marshall stack through the walls of a ryokan.

Those of similar sensibilities should find themselves nodding along in agreement – the more spiritually inclined might be advised to find their Who fix elsewhere.