Released June 2006
‘Something Inside’ eventually turns out to be a rather enjoyable tale, but unfortunately it has to muddle its way through several cliches while dealing with the fact that the Eight Doctor once again has amnesia to get there. Even the Doctor admits that the amnesia is a stereotypical response for him, but it’s sadly becoming all too common for this plot contrivance to drive forward Paul McGann’s stories. It’s refreshing, at the very least, to have C’rizz and Charley slightly more knowledgeable than the Doctor, but none of the three know much beyond the fact that they are in a prison designed to hold psychic soldiers while running from someone that tear out memories, itself a truly fascinating and terrifying concept.
Essentially, ‘Something Inside’ boils down to a typical base-under-seige plot. While this is a very effective format to use, especially in the audio medium, the issue is that so much time is spent running around throughout the entire story that the small collection of supporting characters has little meaningful time to develop. Thus, as the danger and threat levels increase and ultimately start costing people their lives, there is little emotional investment in seeing these characters fail. The other aspect that doesn’t work quite so well is Rawden’s torture of the Doctor who genuinely knows nothing because of his amnesia. This lessens the tension that the Doctor may give up any useful information, though at least threatening to kill C’rizz is a believable step for Rawden to take to try to motivate the Doctor to cooperate. Additionally, the fact that the Eighth Doctor has suffered from amnesia in ‘The Movie,’ ‘Orbis,’ ‘Minuet in Hell,’ and very recently ‘Terror Firma’ borders on ludicrous. At the very least, it does prove that the essence of the character is the same even without the Doctor’s memories as he is still willing to sacrifice himself for others and always has a plan.
The Cube is a prison designed to hold psychic prisoners after the war they were developed for ended and humans began to fear for their safety; the added presence of the invisible and deadly brain worm that has found its way into the Cube as well successfully further heightens tension, especially as accusations start becoming more frequent with increasing paranoia. The telepathy the characters display is used quite unnervingly as well, creating a rather unique device for exposition in the process.
McGann, unsurprisingly, is superb once again in this release as both a memory-devoid and momeory-laden Doctor, somehow believably delivering overtly cheesy lines as he resolves to find the brain worm and eventually directly challenges it. Despite Conrad Westmaas’s strong performance, C’rizz is given little do aside from his tortured and injured roles in getting the Doctor to talk to Rawden and to discover the brain worm, respectively. At this point, listeners are still eagerly waiting for C’rizz to be given something epic to do given the groundwork in place for his character. Saving people’s personalities in his head, camouflage, and barely-tempered anger are all fascinating characteristics, but they just haven’t had meaningful effect as of yet, the anger being all that makes a brief appearance here. Charley is likewise given little to do, spending the majority of the story running away from the brain worm with the other prisoners.
The second half of ‘Something Inside’ is genuinely engaging and exciting, and the lead performances are as strong as usual even if the characters aren’t completely utilized to their fullest potential, but the first half is simply laden with too many cliches to create an entirely engrossing experience.