Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 - Reviewed by Ben Breen
Doom Coalition (Credit: Big Finish)
Director: Ken Bentley

First Released: Thu 31 Mar 2016

Running Time: 300 minutes 0 seconds

 

During the Big Finish sale that celebrated 20 years of the eighth Doctor being a presence in the franchise canon after the 1996 television movie, I thought I’d look to see what was on offer.  I discovered that Doom Coalition 2 had been released and considering it was half price, I decided to purchase it.  When I discovered it had not been reviewed for this site, I was surprised but willing to take up the opportunity as I’d found the first one definitely worth listening to.  As with previous boxsets I’ve reviewed, I briefly go through each story in sequence.  Moreover, I have endeavoured not to spoil anything that couldn’t be gleaned from the cast list.

 

2.1 Beachhead

This episode opens with no prologue, just the introductory theme.  Though this lack of introduction means that it doesn’t directly tie into Doom Coalition 1, the fact that the second and third stories also begin in this way at least means that throughout some semblance consistency is maintained.  

After the events of Doom Coalition 1, The Doctor and his companions decide to take a holiday.  For those who have heard the third series of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, you’ll be aware that attempts to relax and take holidays that previous incarnations of The Doctor have taken rarely if ever end up as planned.  The Tardis is caught in a flood and from there things just get more and more life-threatening, not just for the Time Lord and those around him, but for humanity itself, thanks to the presence of the Voord, a race previously encountered within the Big Finish cannon.

 

2.2 Scenes From Her Life

With the previous story ending on a comedic note, the opening of the second part of this adventure darkens the tone somewhat with some ominous hints of what is to come, though no clear word on what is actually at stake. The Doctor and his companions are following a time machine’s energy signature, until they come across something that frankly is extremely dangerous.  Manipulation, facades and flashbacks follow.  But will the clarity of the situation and the realisation of what’s occurred come in time to allow everyone to get out alive?

 

2.3 The Gift

It’s a curse, they say.  It is 1906, and The Doctor and his companions find themselves drawn into a battle with The Gift, a psychic energy that is being manipulated to bend to the will of one of The Doctor’s enemies.  However, it won’t just cause problems for the people of the city but if left unchecked, it could tear the planet in half.  The question is if it can be stopped and if so,, how?

The mentions and build-up to River Song’s inclusion in the Doom Coalition series that feature at this story’s conclusion were somewhat marred by the fact that the cast list revealed her presence before even listening to this adventure in the first place.  However, the wait until the reveal is worth the time it takes to occur.

 

2.4 The Sonomancer

This final part acts as a continuation of the previous episode in the set, though not a direct one.  Its opening confirms River’s presence in the series as well as establishing the setting for this conclusion, a mining planet where the leading corporation isn’t the only issue to deal with.  The cinematic storytelling afforded by a full cast, if it hasn’t been said to be of good quality up to now, certainly shines in this final chapter and feels very much like high points of the television show in places.

As with the Dark Eyes saga and the first Doom Coalition entry before it, the sound design and score evoke a more cinematic atmosphere than some of the other ranges in Big Finish’s catalogue.  The production value on this set rises to the challenge of the first, most certainly matching, if not exceeding it.  The inclusion of a race that had previously been used in a different range with a different doctor is an appreciated touch, as the aforementioned race (the Voord) have now made a full cast appearance to add weight to their characterisation.  In fact, the casting of all four adventures has been well thought out, allowing all the characters to develop their own personalities and presence in the worlds they inhabit.

 

If you enjoyed the first Doom Coalition set, I’d say you’re definitely in for an entertaining ride with this continuation.  The summaries of the second and third stories in this set were deliberately written in a slightly vague manner, so as to not spoil any potentially crucial plot points revealed within those pieces of the overall puzzle.  If you haven’t listened to the first Doom Coalition box set, these adventures might stand on their own, but as there is a possibility you might be confused at The Eleven’s introduction, I’d suggest you buy both Doom Coalition 1 and 2 and see where you stand from there.  I am, to say the least, curious to see just how far Big Finish can push this run’s cinematic storytelling and the inclusion of River Song as a character, as she seems to fit right in where she has been included so far.