Sunday, September 14, 2014
This is the first Big Finish story written by Nev Fountain - and thankfully not the last! Ian Collier, who voiced Omega in "The Arc of Infinity" returns to reprise the role here. It's the right choice as he has a distinctive voice and is immediately recognizable as Omega from his first few words of dialog. A lot of the story consists of the Doctor and Omega conversing, and the chemistry between Collier and Davison works quite well. There is also a lot of humor from some amusing characters and the backdrop of a historical tour where they do dramatic reenactments of famous historical figures (in this case Omega). It's interesting to have a setting like this where Gallifreyan history is the subject of common knowledge and gawkers come from all over to check it out.
Amongst the humor are some grim and violent scenes. Omega is back - seemingly in non-corporeal form - and seems repentant and wanting to simply get back to his anti-verse he worked so hard to escape from. But, there are flashes of madness, and it takes a while before you realize just how mad he is. This story is probably most famous for its big twist. It truly is a fantastic moment. Revisiting the story, there are quite a few clues given to the nature of the twist. I admit, that my dull mind never saw it coming. The big reveal at the end of part three was a true jaw dropper for me and even listening to the story for a third time, I got goose bumps listening to the big cliffhanger.
The story also serves to give a lot of back story to Omega, and a bit of surprising history of the Doctor. Aside from the big twist, there are a couple of other surprises in the story revealed towards the end. One is pretty hilarious involving the two annoying old ladies who generally serve the bulk of the story as comic relief. The revelation at where the name Omega came from is very satisfying, and very well written and performed. Omega was always a villain you had some sympathy for, and Fountain maintains that in this story, while still making him frightening.
As a whole, I like this better than the other two stories in the villain trilogy. This really feels like the final story in a trilogy for Omega. It gives a satisfying back story for the character, but also is a satisfying conclusion for the character until someone decides to bring him back. Peter Davison is in fine form, and really works well without a companion. It's certainly quite a contrast from the bulk of his television stories where the TARDIS was crammed with them. My one gripe with Omega is it does feel quite long. To its credit, it never gets dull, but you are every bit aware that they nearly filled both CDs to full capacity to tell this story. With many laugh out loud moments, and some really great plot twists, this is a great debut for Fountain, and I like his next story even better!