The Dying Light

Posted in Audio by - July 23, 2019
The Dying Light

Released December 2013

Big Finish’s fiftieth anniversary trilogy within The Companion Chronicles continues with Nick Wallace’s ‘The Dying Light’ as the TARDIS materialises on a dying world orbiting a dying sun. Entering Sanctuary, a monastery carved out of a mountain, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe quickly learn that not everything is as it seems, and Quadrigger Stoyn has been waiting for centuries to meet the Doctor once again.

Despite Terry Molloy’s strong performance in ‘The Beginning,’ Stoyn was little more than a generic Gallifreyan presence designed to offer a glaring contrast to the Doctor’s willingness to travel and interact with other civilisations in different times. After waiting for so long while stranded from his planet because of the Doctor’s earlier actions, however, he has accepted the role of a god destined to live amongst these people, providing Molloy a much more nuanced take on this character who is fully cognizant of his situation and who finds something of a kindred spirit he can respect in fellow man out of time, Jamie. There is still so much to Stoyn that remains unknown that could come to light in the concluding story, but the characterisation afforded him here creates a strong foundation for a man who is far more dynamic than initially presented.

With the titular dying light attributed to this world’s fading sun and the eternal twilight that has resulted, this is a story filled with evocative imagery that rivals Big Finish’s best. This is a religious retreat that provides refuge for travelers lost in space and faith alike, and the wind storms that ravage this planet and its vast sea of silicon upon which everything floats can literally strip flesh from bones. Just as effective as the stark visuals, though, is the realisation that this planet is an adaptive living being able to respond to the needs and desires of those living there, and Stoyn with his shrewd intelligence has accordingly been able to craft a series of equations designed to create a vast series of wormholes to ensnare the TARDIS for his own use. As the unique mixture of hope and downtrodden intertwine to elevate a plot that doesn’t provide too much of a challenge for the Doctor and his companions, the sheer scale of Stoyn’s plan is wholly impressive and exemplifies once more just how cunning and intriguing this man who still bears a grudge against the Doctor after all of this time can be.

The slower and more deliberate pacing brings the atmosphere to life wonderfully, and the sound design and direction help to create a seamless passage through the narrative from beginning to end that is always engaging. Of course, it should come as no surprise that Frazer Hines is magnificent once again as both Jamie and the Second Doctor, and Wendy Padbury is just as strong in her supportive role as Zoe. It truly is uncanny just how well these two are able to recapture the youthful energy of their companions as seen on television, and although this range’s insistence on focusing primarily on one actor does result in some of the supporting voices losing a bit of the individuality that might otherwise be present, ‘The Dying Light’ is a fine example of the unique power and potential that The Companion Chronicles holds while aptly leading into the Stoyn trilogy’s concluding act.

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