Shockwave

Posted in Audio by - December 28, 2017
Shockwave

Released July 2013

When the inhabitants of Tarsus Six are forced to flee their world before their sun falls into a spatial anomaly and a cataclysmic shock wave follows, the Seventh Doctor and Ace come to the forefront in the continuing Destiny of the Doctor saga. Assuming that the Doctor has brought them to an orbiting space station in order to offer their assistance, Ace soon discovers that- with the TARDIS immobilized due to the impending threat of artron energy- the Doctor has his own agenda and that their own lives are in just as much danger as everyone else’s.

Writer James Swallow has a gift for beautifully descriptive language, bringing the peril that the doomed sun collapsing presents to life vividly without sacrificing any of the inherent tension. Despite the refugees’ shared desire to survive and the clear fact that anyone who did not make it aboard one of the fleeing ships perished, the notion that each ship is trying to outmanoeuvre the others to best ensure its own occupants’ odds is wonderfully realised and adds a very personal and human element to an event of such magnitude. With use of the TARDIS out of the question, the Doctor and Ace find themselves squarely on equal footing with and under suspicion by those around them, further escalating the sense of danger as the destructive shockwave approaches and leaving an uneasy sense of mystery around the doomsday Senders cult with its members who believe the shockwave was preordained and that they will be transformed into a higher form of being when touched by its mighty energy. These two conflicting elements of the unending hope for survival and the deep belief in a higher cause and function dovetail nicely with the eventual recovery of the Voice of Stone, a cube discovered by the Tarsus colonists four hundred years ago that strangely recognises Ace and has a very direct connection to the Doctor himself.

Sophie Aldred perfectly recaptures the essence of a younger Ace who is brimming with confidence and prepared for every eventuality even if she doesn’t fully understand everything the Doctor says, and it’s fitting that her compassion and desire to save one life without fully contemplating the effects on the web of time would lead to her crisis of faith following a very tumultuously-developed relationship with Nine Jay who becomes a portent of death. Though Aldred may overemphasize the Scots accent of the Seventh Doctor, she also approaches this role with stunning energy and portrays the master manipulator who has been manipulated by his future self effectively. Likewise, the cameo from the Eleventh Doctor who significantly alters the dramatically sacrificial resolution and unintentionally brings about a satisfying sense of closure for Nine Jay is incorporated flawlessly and adds yet another piece to this mysterious puzzle coming together in the Doctor’s personal future.

The space opera genreis somewhat divisive among fans, but ‘Shockwave’ expertly meshes the very magnificent scale of a spatial cataclysm and the very personal scale of the desire for survival with evocative imagery and sterling characterization of Ace, respectively. With another era of Doctor Who wonderfully recreated and checked off as the series reaches the end of the classic run, Destiny of the Doctor continues to impress with its brief vignettes whose connections should become all the more clear going forward.

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