Hello everybody and welcome to this installment of Big Finishing Move, the place where I give a listen to the various audio output of Big Finish then tell you if I think they are worth your time or not. Today we’re back with the dynamic duo of Scarfy and Savage in Destroy The Infinite!
TARDIS Team: Fourth Doctor and Leela
The Doctor and Leela decide to hit up the planet Delafloss, which is supposed to be a rather quaint and friendly world. What they find instead is a planet ravaged by pollution and war. Because of some extremely convenient circumstances, they are soon brought up to speed with the situation. An evil entity known as the Eminence has seized control of the planet and has the ability to possess people. With the Eminence about to launch a massive warship called the Infinite, it is up to the Doctor, Leela, and a space fleet to bring this sucker down.
One of the more fascinating devices in storytelling is the simple act of telling a story out of order. While not limited to science fiction or fantasy, the very nature of the genres allow for great manipulation of the timestream in their plots so this technique has become somewhat of a staple in many of their releases, including Doctor Who. When done correctly, the device is great at building anticipation and surprise in an audience that wants to know how things lead up to the events they saw previously. Sometimes, however, you can build a story up to the point where it is a bit of a letdown. Such is the case of Destroy The Infinite.
You see, the Eminence was first introduced in early 2013 with the Sixth Doctor story, The Seeds Of War, where it was established that the Doctor had faced this foe before and that some piece of it, however small, remained a part of him and was trying to take over his mind. We next met the Eminence even further down the line with the Eighth Doctor earlier this year in another story that was told out of order, the wonderful Dark Eyes II. The Eminence had become such a terrible force that the Doctor considered it a bigger threat than the Daleks! Once again we heard mentions of how these two had battled before for the Doctor’s mind. Now finally we have the release of the epic first clash between the Doctor and the Eminence and it does not live up to the hype.
The main problem is one of tone. Most of this story has a light and fun vibe attached to it, full of slightly comedic characters and a share of genuinely funny one-liners from the Doctor. Even the much-hyped possession story comes with a sense of bouncy ease. Then almost out of nowhere the story turns somber and fearful right at the end. It makes the whole thing uneven and more than a little unfocused.
It is rather confusing why Nicolas Briggs chose to handle this story this way. If anything, you’d think he’d shoot for a much darker tone since he is building the Eminence up to be this huge evil force over in the Dark Eyes series. The events of the story are indeed horrible enough to handle a more serious tone and Baker and Jameson prove capable of handling the deeper material once the shift occurs. They do their damnedest to sell the ending with some fine acting, but without a story meaty enough to back those scenes up, the effort is mostly wasted.
In and of itself the story works well enough, but as a tale we’ve been waiting to see for well over a year to see, it doesn’t pack the punch you’d expect. It was enjoyable and harmless enough while it lasted, but it won’t be anything I think I’ll be quick to revisit.
Purchase Doctor Who: Destroy The Infinite Here:
Remember good readers, we here at One of Us have our own audio drama series Infinite Variations, so go check that out if for whatever reason you haven’t done so already.
For next time, it’s a tale of life, death, and what happens next with:
And then later in the month we’ll tackle a Fourth Doctor Adventure co-written by Louise Jameson herself!
Until then, happy listening!
Check out my previous reviews: