Monday, September 1, 2014


Jonathan Morris has written quite a few Doctor Who stories for Big Finish and other mediums, but "Flip-Flop" is definitely my favorite. It's one of the more unique takes on time travel, changing the past, and living with the future. I remember being surprised when I got this years ago and saw that there was a black CD and a white CD, but no enumeration for either one. I think I even went online to find out which one I needed to listen to first. I was stunned to find out that it really didn't matter. How in the world could that work? ... OK, before going on, if you've never heard "Flip-Flop" this is probably one of those times where you need to trust me that this is brilliant, stop reading the review, and just buy the story. It's a brilliant time travel convoluted mess (in a good way), with some great humor, and is unquestionably my favorite 7th Doctor story. (Now, stop and don't spoil yourself. You have been warned.)

I can't imagine how hard it was for Morris to plot this one out. Just coming up with the two parallel realities in the present, and managing to juggle two different versions of four characters existing in both is a bit head spinning. Oh and go ahead and throw a little bit of time travel back an hour just to make the present even more confusing. To do it in a way that once you've heard both discs, completely makes sense is just brilliant. This is one of the best examples of parallel universes ever. It's amazing how nearly perfectly symmetrical each reality is with each other, with almost every scene lining up perfectly from one CD to the next (... or previous). The fact, that it's done with such great humor is another accomplishment.

Once again, I find myself enjoying McCoy paired up with Mel. Given how dreadful their TV season was, it's amazing how often their audio pairings work out so well. This is just the perfect story for the 7th Doctor. It brings out his quirky, humorous side, as well as his brilliance beneath the clownish facade. It's nice to have the 7th Doctor swept along in events, and not the dark manipulator as well. Bonnie Langford is great here too. I love the moment where Mel sends up the awful line from "The Trial of a Time Lord". It's one of many very funny moments for both of our leads. The other huge source of laughs, is the obsequious conquering race of villains, the Slithergees. It's so absurd for a race to have conquered with political correctness induced guilt, but it's very funny, and a welcome jab at the overly politically correct society we lived in back then and still do now.

In many ways, "Flip-Flop" is another example of how Big Finish can do a story that just couldn't quite be done in a book or on TV. As much as I would love the new series to rip this idea off, it just wouldn't work as well since one reality would have to be established first. It's just a brilliant take on time travel and parallel universes. I love to ponder the fact, that by the end of the story (or each story) the Doctor and Mel have swapped universes with their counterparts, and they don't even seem to realize it. I've listened to this a few times over the years, and I think I like it more and more each time. Now, if I could only remember to listen to the black one first next time... or was it the white one? This is a pretty nice run of releases for the 7th Doctor, that I am not sure Big Finish has matched since.


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