Hola, mis amigos, and welcome to the one and only Big Finishing Move. For anyone not already aware, this handy-dandy little series was created as justification for all the money I blow on the many releases from audio drama giant, Big Finish. I joke, but there is the distinct sting of truth buried in that statement.
Today we’re covering the final chapter of the latest major arc for the Eighth Doctor. What started as the manhunt for the rogue Timelord, the Eleven, has snowballed into a much larger and more complex threat. The titular Doom Coalition has struck and things are about as dire as it gets.
So, has Big Finish brought their A-game and finished the series strong or are those pennies you’ve managed to scrape together better served buying whatever useless but somehow trendy app that has just come out for your smartphone? Let’s roll right in to Doom Coalition 4 and find out!
TARDIS Team: The Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka, and Helen Sinclair
I’ve never been locked inside a half-working life-pod slowly drifting towards oblivion while life, the universe, and everything collapses, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess, it sucks. It is in this position we find The Doctor, Liv, and Helen. Padrac has been revealed as the mastermind behind the Eleven’s actions and many of the foes the team has put his final plan into action. Padrac became aware of the strong chance of war across all reality (the Time War) and seeks to nip the problem in the bud and destroy all reality save Galifrey and install himself as the leader of this new world order. It’s up to the Doctor and friends to stop his plan, but first they need to escape this damn pod and then even if they do, how will they get back to Galifrey to stop Padrac from delivering the killing blow to all reality?
It was a smart decision to use the opening chapter with them stuck in a pod for both the characters and the audience to take things in and digest all that has happened. It allows things to slow down for a bit and explore the characters in a way we don’t get to see as much given the usual constant need to keep the plot moving that you find in this franchise. Running from monsters along corridors and delivering heroic speeches may be Doctor Who’s bread and butter, but it is nice when we get to see that these characters are three-dimensional and have some depth. When trapped with nothing but time to go over their life choices, it isn’t surprising that our heroes get a bit introspective.
Every time I’ve previously reviewed one of the volumes of Doom Coalition I’ve commented on how the character of Helen needed to get some more direction and get more on the ball on things and I’m happy to report that I don’t have to do that again as we got exactly what we needed to see, Helen getting a hold on things and proving what an asset she can be. She grows out of her rookie phase and I am quite pleased to see it. Helen and Liv make a great team and know it with each able to pick up the others slack. You can hear in the extras how much Hattie Morahan and Nicola Walker enjoy working with each other and that bond carries over to there characters.
The performances are great, especially in the case of our three leads, save the the thick New York accents some of the poor Brits try and pull off (think Daleks in Manhattan style accents). That said I’d like to make quick comment on one of the guest voices. In an interesting twist we get a look at a previous incarnation of a character from the recent War Doctor series, Cardinal Ollistra. This Olistra comes to us courtesy of Carolyn Pickles, best know currently for her work as the head of the local newspaper, Maggie Radcliffe on the hit series Broadchurch. This version of Olistra is every bit the schemer with no regard for the lives of anything that isn’t a Timelord, but seems to have taken her stupid pills as she thinks that any plan involving the Weeping Angels is going to work. Seriously, the Doctor outright calls her an idiot to her face and I think he was underselling the point. Pickles really is fun to here, getting the pompous nature of Olistra down pat. I didn’t even know it was her until she came on the bonus features in her normal voice!
The final chapter of Doom Coalition hits with all the gravitas and power that it should. It’s hard not to see this arc as Dark Eyes 2.0. The writers unfettered by issues with actor availability that happened with Dark Eyes and were able to take all the cool elements from that arc, such as the multiple plotlines across varying planets and times, and remix it into an overall better story. The introduction of the the Eleven gives the franchise a new frightening adversary for the Doctor that I can’t wait to be explored further. The story told across these four installments was far from perfect, more than a few times it is obvious they stretched things out occasionally so that they could get enough material to spread across the four sets, but these final four stories are largely without any fat and all hit where they need to. This volume is an engaging ride on there own and a satisfying ending to this arc. Worth a buy.
Purchase Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 4 Here:
And if you want to grab other entries in the Doom Coalition series or pick the series up as a bundle you can do so here:
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Oh, and get excited for next time because it’s once again time for Ten to strut his stuff in:
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, The Architects Of History