Deeptime Frontier

Posted in Audio by - April 10, 2019
Deeptime Frontier

Released April 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

As the Ravenous saga enters its second half, the creatures of Time Lords’ nightmares return in force with an entire clan hunting the Doctor in Matt Fitton’s ‘Deeptime Frontier.’ Yet as the Matrix continues to predict devastating futures and a Gallifreyan research station on the edge of the vortex takes on an extremely dangerous artefact, it’s possible that the Time Lords are bringing about their own destruction.

As the Time Lords’ ultimate dark fate continues to approach, the tense oppressiveness bolstered by a glimmer of optimism aboard the station researching dark chronons as an alternative energy source to the Eye of Harmony is a brilliant backdrop to this dangerous plot. With the threat of one Ravenous expanding to an entire pack as the actions of the Time Lords from the Old Times are confronted, fear the likes of which Time Lords rarely experience is fully unleashed, a fear that can bring about regeneration by itself. To this effect, the menace of the Ravenous is one of the most effective in some time because it’s not simply another antagonistic force for the Doctor to circumvent and undermine. There is no inherent strategy or masterplan to this race beyond its innate desire to feed, and the resulting instinctual decisions to flee and to kill or be killed its members bring out in the universe’s mightiest race is a wholly effective angle to explore. No species is ever truly safe no matter how high up on the food chain it may be, and the genuine anxiety and fear that Paul McGann imbues into his well-explored Eighth incarnation beautifully suggests just how dangerous this situation has quickly become.

It’s hard to imagine the more metaphysical aspects of the Ravenous continuing in the long term simply because of the devastatingly dark horror they infringe upon, but the deception of death, the possession of others, and the eerie smile when an assured attempt at murder fails spectacularly all further elevate the capabilities and resulting fear of the Ravenous in this story. Despite some truly powerful and resonant work from George Asprey and Susie Emmett as the voices of this new foe, however, this unique threat from a Time Lord perspective does not truly offer anything unique narratively. A group of individuals once imprisoned that escapes and mercilessly hunts down its one-time captors is hardly novel even with the lengthy backstory provided of these races’ past, and the discussion these two individuals have regarding short-term gratification versus long-term sustenance with the Doctor’s trail squarely their focus is one the likes of which countless numbers of struggling but motivated groups have had before. Still, the raw energy they possess and the instinctual drive they bring out creates a certain sense of impending doom and inevitability that works quite well here as the Ravenous threat that has been teased for so long brutally comes forth even if the fairly straightforward story hasn’t yet allowed them to reach their full potential.

Although the motivations that have allowed the Ravenous to return are somewhat suspect, the stories of the total fear that the Time Lords will come to impart upon those beneath them hauntingly foreshadows just what they will become as the Time War arrives and wages on ever longer. Sadly, Liv and Helen don’t receive the most attention in this story since it is very much the Time Lords’ time to show fear and vulnearbility, but the hints offered about Rasmus’s previous encounters with and assistance to the Doctor again open up many fascinating potential storylines going forward. ‘Deeptime Frontier’ was originally intended to be the closing act of Ravenous 2, and although it’s perhaps not the most innovative with its storyline while at times being a bit too descriptive with its dialogue, it remains every bit as powerful as the opener to Ravenous 3 and finally gives genuine menace to the threat that has been hinted at for so long as the remaining distillations of legends throughout time and space are presented in their natural state

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