Hi-o and howdy-do, all you fine folks! I am very happy to welcome you all to that little slice of the internet known as Big Finishing Move. Said slice of internet is where I have the distinct honor and privilege of strapping on my trusty ol’ reviewer’s hat and looking at the many releases of audio giant, Big Finish, all to let you know if they are found worthy of your time and money, or if you are better served by saving that cash so that you can go buy something cool like all the kick-ass issues of Shirtless Bear Fighter.
Today we are wrapping up our little look at Klein. We’ve saw her introduction in Colditz, we’ve watched her grow and change in A Thousand Tiny Wings and Survival of the Fittest, and now we see the culmination of all these events as we roll right on into Architects of History.
TARDIS Team: The Seventh Doctor and Rachel Cooper
When we last left Klein she had managed to steal the TARDIS and was off to restore her timeline. Our story catches back up with Klein much further down her personal timeline. In full Nazi fashion she has set out to make a perfect society and take that perfect society and spread it across space to make a perfect universe, only the results have been less then, well, y’know, perfect. As leader of Temporal Affairs for the Galactic Reich she has crisscrossed and rewritten time so much trying to get things “right” that time itself is on the edge of collapse. She keeps returning to a moon base in 2044 to visit a prisoner, her sworn enemy and yet the only soul that may understand her, the Doctor. It is the Doctor’s vision of himself and all all of time vs Klein’s and the Doctor has a plan, even if he doesn’t remember it. Who will win, and what will that win cost?
What has made me such a fan of science-fiction/fantasy over the years is the way it is able to use imagination, a dash or more of real science (depending on the material), and use it to explore the human condition. Sure , we might have to make some folks put on a costume and some prosthetics or have them put on a silly voice, but at the core of sci-fi is humanity trying to figure out ourselves and our place in the universe. Architects of History is everything I love about sci-fi distilled down to its core. Steve Lyons, the man that created Klein all those years ago returns to deliver a beautiful swan song for this version of Klein. There have been other Klein tales since, but those are different stories for another time.
And boy does this sucker get dark! A bitter and disillusioned Klein has rewritten time so many times that she sees all life aside from her own as next to worthless and the Doctor has to face the fact that he isn’t as high-minded and moral as he thinks himself to be and truly is closer to Klein then he would ever admit. This is why Klein tries to get him to own up and do his own dirty work once. We don’t get to know what happened in that final confrontation, only the results of it, and I think that is for the best. It gives the audience a chance to think about all that has happened and their own individual moralities and then decide for themselves what happened. All the answers are sad and tragic, but all answers also carry a kernel of hope.
Strip this story down to its bare bones and all it is is a battle of wills. Two people have a vision of the future and what it should be and in their confrontations they leave a lot of death and tragedy in their wake. The admitted monster and the compromised hero both agreeing on what needs to happen, but because of their individual moralities at odds with who should deal the killing blow.
The Doctor and Klein, together again, as the world burns.
The performances here are noting short of amazing. This is the best work that Tracey Childs and Sylvester McCoy have ever done together. They compliment each other so well that you always want to hear more. Special praise must be given to Lenora Crichlow as Rachel Cooper. This is the only appearance of this character, and Crichlow makes use of every second of it to make Rachel endearing and memorable. I don’t know if Big Finish had any plans to use this character again down the line and if they did why they haven’t done anything with Rachel since, but there is something of value there should they ever decide to build on it. We had to wait almost almost a decade for Big Finish to do a second Klein story, maybe we’ll get lucky and they will do something great with this character in the future.
This was the story, the fourth one I ever bought, that cemented me as a Big Finish fan. Up to hat point I was just dabbling, but Architects of History proved to me that these audio dramas were worth my time. Part of even starting Big Finishing Move was so that I cover this story arc because I love it so much. My highest recommendation, go out and buy this right away!
This month marks the fourth anniversary of Big Finishing Move (did I really start this series all the way back in 2013?!) and it is fitting that we celebrate this occasion with the end of this look at Elizabeth Klein (for now) in one of my favorite Doctor Who stories of all time. I didn’t plan it this way, I wish I was that clever, but like my fiftieth review just happening to be the first installment of The Tenth Doctor Adventures and as a true-blue Doctor Who fan, who am I to not appreciate when time smiles on me?
Purchase Doctor Who: Architects of History Here:
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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, Survival of the Fittest