Jonah

Posted in Audio by - July 12, 2018
Jonah

Released July 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With the Twelve harbouring a dark secret that even she may not remember and that could turn the tide of the Time War forever, the Doctor under Ollistra’s command must captain a submarine to see just what lies beneath the sea on a world where energy weapons do not work that has garnered so much attention from the Daleks. In a more traditional setting where the Daleks have ravaged this planet without any Time Lord scheme present, the Doctor is more amenable to taking direct action than he often has been during the Time War, but his own moral code and Ollistra’s have far different limits that this heightened and dangerous setting soon bring into focus.

Setting ‘Jonah’ within a submarine inherently creates a uniquely claustrophobic, tense, and isolated setting, and writer Timothy X Atack exploits this to maximum effect as the Doctor leads his crew farther into the depths while searching for the unknown with only a surprisingly detailed map pulled from the Twelve’s mind as any type of guide. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Time Lords still do not trust the Twelve who has to this point been nothing but useful as she continues to suffer from more breakthroughs of her previous selves, and Ollistra has given the Doctor a device to instantly kill their captive if she shows any signs of being disloyal or dangerous, even taking the action of providing Tamasan with a backup device for when the Doctor inevitably fails to follow her orders. This single action shows a dangerous side to Ollistra and Tamasan that friends and foes alike of the Doctor rarely exhibit, and the fact that they so clearly know the Doctor and his modus operandi creates an intriguing dynamic that takes away at least some of the Doctor’s remarkable ability to improvise and disregard that with which he does not agree.

With the Twelve seemingly becoming more and more unlike herself, the Doctor wisely questions if she has perhaps been turned into a Dalek spy, and that simmering threat within the ship paired with the Dalek attack outside as the Doctor makes his ship’s presence known makes for a gripping sequence where the protagonists’ lives are very much at stake. It’s with the Twelve as she acts more strangely and ominously that Bliss also gets some of her strongest moments yet, and all three leads must be commended for their engrossing performances that bring the tension and mystery to life to great effect. As the Daleks have been so delicately and artfully searching this planet’s depths, the discovery of a creature thought to be a myth that can see every potential timeline stemming from every decision is a monumental revelation that ties this planet that had been on the fringes of the Time War directly into its potential trajectory. Such power and abilities housed within such a fragile and mortal body instantly makes this creature one of the more fascinating and sympathetic figures within this expansive wartime setting, and the fact that it has chosen to hide away from events speaks volumes. Of course, as the Daleks and Time Lords in their own fashion consider the absolute power of conviction that this creature can afford their respective sides, the resulting discussion about how similar the two races have become still resonates despite its familiarity, and the revelation that the Doctor has chosen wisely when he lets the creature die without transferring its consciousness and abilities to another given the potential timelines that could have resulted from that actions give a meaningful impact and gravity to the weight he places on his own moral code that he refuses to break at this time.

‘Jonah’ is quite small in terms of the scale of the story it tells compared to many others within The Time War saga, but the potential implications stemming from the ability to foresee all futures and the tension of the unknowing search for that power create a riveting finale that makes the most of its environment and cast. Superb sound design brings the claustrophobic environment to life expertly and Nicholas Briggs gives a particularly chilling performance as the Daleks throughout, helping to craft another example of the incredible range of stories that can be told even with the eternal battles of the Time War as the backdrop and focus. This second set has again shown the Doctor to be a man committed to but at times struggling to maintain his ideals as the universe devolves around him, and these three authors give a distinct energy to the Doctor and Bliss that effortlessly carries each story and bodes well for the upcoming two sets that have been announced to finish off this arc.

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