Greetings dudes and dudettes, and welcome to Big Finishing Move! It’s that loving little section of the internet where I get to take a look at the works of Big Finish both new and old and determine if they are worth that money we all slave to get or if you are better off getting that double order of fries and an extra patty the next time you hit up a good burger joint.
Moving right along (because now I’ve just made myself hungry for a burger), today we continue our look at the angry time anomaly Nazi lady, Elizabeth Klein. So let’s roll on into Survival Of The Fittest and see what we find.
TARDIS Team: The Seventh Doctor and Elizabeth Klein
To avoid further possible harm to the time-stream, and feeling guilty as the cause of the creation and deletion of her original timeline, the Doctor has decided to take Klein with him aboard the TARDIS. As they leave the Doctor asks about her past, a past the Doctor had theorized about back in Colditz. We then are treated to a time jump: the Doctor and Klein seem to have started to bond as they encounter the insectoid race, the Vrill. The Vrill have been decimated by something known only as the Winterlack. Can the Doctor save the Vrill from the Winterlack in time?
I love that we get more information on Klein’s past. Even though we had much of this theorized already by the Doctor, to hear Elizabeth tell it injects so much more humanity, and her reaction to what the Doctor reveals to her is understandable. Again, the writing does its job of the listener being able to understand Klein and perhaps even feel some sympathy for her while still totally aware that her ideas and values are evil and monstrous. We don’t want her to win, but we get why she’s mad.
What isn’t cool, however, is the time skip. When the main story starts it is established that the Doctor and Klein have already been on a series of adventures and have started to bond on some levels. Why are we skipping all these stories to get to this point? All those travels which seem like they would have been entertaining are passed over so that we could get to this point, which is frustrating to no end. Either they should have given us those adventures and built to this point or had this story be her first adventure with the Doctor in the TARDIS. Either choice would have been better.
Also, everyone has made sure to take their stupid pills for this one. The Doctor seems as befuddled at points as when he first he first regenerated into this incarnation. This is late in his timeline, he’s long since stopped being a bumbler. Klein is shocked that such things as fascism still exist in the future of this timeline and take this to mean the Doctor is full of crap and her deleted Nazi controlled timeline is just as valid. At no time has the Doctor EVER said that the current timeline is perfect, only that it is better and more correct. Oh, and our main antagonists are little more than callous and opportunistic numbskulls. I love Doctor Who and understand that you need to grant the franchise a good deal of latitude in the logic department to get into it, but his story dumbs down the characters, and that to me is always a bridge too far.
On the performance side of things (I’m just going to come out and say it), I find the Vrill annoying. I understand what they were going for and it fits the characters, but a bunch a naïve, child-like characters repeating the same phrases repeatedly will never be endearing to me. Less is more when it comes to the Vrill. Tracey Childs and Sylvester McCoy are fantastic during Klein’s Story and do the best they can with what they got once we move onto the main story. Make of that what you will.
I’m of two minds about Survival Of The Fittest. The main story, despite some nice trimmings, is about as stock as it gets and both the Doctor and Klein are a fair shade dumber then they are usually shown to be. On the flip side, the section known as Klein’s Story fleshes out the character nicely and the fallout of the main story leads directly into the events of the next Klein story. Survival Of The Fittest on its own is entirely skippable, but looking at it as part of the overall saga of Klein, this story enriches and enhances all the stories directly tied to it. Survival Of The Fittest was the first Big Finish story I ever bought and I almost gave up on the whole thing I was so underwhelmed. Thankfully, I decided to give another story a shot and found it to be much better, and thus my affection for Big Finish truly began. If you are already invested in the Klein character this story is worth your time as it relates to the grander scheme of things. If you’re just looking for a good story I suggest you save your cash and look elsewhere. Strictly for Klein fans only.
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Next time we complete this look at Elizabeth Klein with:
Check out my introduction to this series as well as all my previous reviews. Links are below:
Big Finishing Move Special Edition: An Introduction To The Series
Phantasmagoria, The Fearmonger, The Light At The End, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Storm Warning, Blood of the Daleks, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear, The King of Sontar, White Ghosts, Dark Eyes II, The Crooked Man, Project: Twilight, The Evil One, The Harvest, The Last Of The Colophon, The Council Of Nicaea, Destroy The Infinite, Afterlife, The Abandoned, Zygon Hunt, Revenge Of The Swarm, Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Box Set, Dark Eyes 3, Mask of Tragedy, The Fourth Doctor By Gareth Roberts, The Exxilions, The Darkness of Glass, Dark Eyes IV, Requiem for the Rocket Men, Signs And Wonders, Death Match, Suburban Hell, The Burning Prince, The Cloisters of Terror, The Acheron Pulse, The Fate of Krelos, The Shadow Heart, Return to Telos, The Sixth Doctor – The Last Adventure, Doom Collation I, The Yes Men, The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous, Wave of Destruction, The Labyrinth of Buda Castle, The War Doctor Volume 02: Infernal Devices, Doom Coalition 2, The Paradox Planet, Legacy of Death, The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 1, Gallery of Ghouls, The Trouble with Drax, The Pursuit of History And Casualties of Time (dual review), Aquitaine, The Peterloo Massacre, Doom Coalition 3, The War Doctor Volume 03: Agents of Chaos, The Beast of Kravenos, Colditz, A Thousand Tiny Wings