Released January 2004
‘The Creed of the Kromon’ opens strongly after the effective but strange two-hander that formed the bulk of ‘Scherzo.’ With the TARDIS seemingly destroyed, the Doctor and Charley find themselves trapped in the InterZone- the apparent means of moving between areas in the Divergent universe- and under attack from phantoms. Rather quickly they come upon the Kro’ka, played coolly and smugly by Stephen Perring and set up to be an overarching nemesis going forward, and it’s clear that the Doctor will have to follow his rules to have any hope of surviving and finding a way out of his current environment.
Unfortunately, the interesting premise within ‘Scherzo’ that there is no passage of time is exposed as a fallacy since, even though there is no actual word for time, the native characters use different tenses in their speech. This, then, leads to another misfire of sorts since the potential for an entirely new means of storytelling with entirely new plots is put aside for a very familiar tyrannical oppression of a civilization within the Eutermisan Zone. The introduction of the Kromon here works quite well, and the visualization of a hive-based insectoid race obsessed with regulations and data is quite pronounced. However, the Kromon do share distinct similarities with writer Philip Martin’s earlier Mentors from the television series, and they sadly do little to elevate themselves beyond the realm of completely average foes. They bring a certain combination of humour and seriousness to their proceedings, and the Doctor tries to exclaim how potentially dangerous they could be anywhere in any universe, but this threat just never seems real and the climax with water, their most vital resource, is telegraphed very early on.
The saving grace that gives ‘The Creed of the Kromon some lasting power, though, is the introduction of Conrad Westmaas’s C’rizz. A;though unconscious, he’s the first being that the Doctor and Charley come upon in this zone. Following some clumsy dialogue to explain his appearance and later his awakening, C’rizz rapidly proves to be an extremely strong and effective character. It’s clear that he’s quite polite, but he also shows flashes of temper and argumentativeness. He’s keen to avoid divulging all of the details about his past and present, and although there is an indication that he is some sort of a monk, it’s probably safe to assume that his past will catch up with him in later adventures. The tease from what is revealed, though, is fascinating and keeps interest in the new character high from the outset.
The foundation for C’rizz going forward, understandably, is the fate that befalls his mate L’da as she is changed into a Kromon queen. The fact that it is up to C’rizz to grant his mate’s wish and kill her so that she does not have to suffer this transformation is crucial to the character, giving him a backdrop of tragedy that is still quite rare in lead characters. The emotion is palpable in this scene, a testament to Westmaas’s capabilities as an actor, and it almost seems as though he is going to succeed in getting the Doctor to do the same to Charley once he learns that she is undergoing the change as well. Though this obviously does not occur, the Kro’ka’s decree that C’rizz is in a dangerous position and could turn good or bad in his relationship with the travelers sets an ominous scene.
‘The Creed of the Kromon’ is certainly not the most imaginative of scripts, but it still has a strong story at its heart buoyed by the incredible performance of Conrad Westmaas. It’s been a very long time since the Doctor has had a non-human companion, and this subtle difference along with both his overt and shrouded past experiences in this unique setting should be fascinating to behold as this newly-formed trio continues through the Divergent universe.