The Edge

Posted in Audio by - April 30, 2018
The Edge

Released June 2016
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Continuing with the journey of Jamie’s education that has been the underlying driving force of The Second Doctor Volume One and with the exploration of the differences between Jamie’s mindset and that of more advanced people that came to prominence in ‘The Integral,’ Rob Nisbet’s ‘The Edge’ takes the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe to the galaxy’s hub of scientific experimentation, theoretical breakthroughs, and invention. Yet while the Doctor and Zoe intrinsically become fascinated by the wonders and potential around them, Jamie instinctively knows that something is wrong, and he’s proven correct all too quickly.

Taken by itself within the context of The Companion Chronicles, it’s unsurprising that ‘The Edge’ features only Frazer Hines narrating and giving voice to the thoughts and words of the entire TARDIS team, but it is notable that this is the only story of this box set to follow that more traditional remit. This strategy of starting with a full-cast drama and ending with a two-hander seems to be another deliberate choice to subtly draw the attention more and more to Jamie to progressively exemplify his importance and maturation all the more. Fortunately, Nisbet instantly proves that he has a firm grasp on the character of Jamie in all respects, and having him refuse to even take the logic test presented to the three companions because of his inevitable failure is both fitting and the perfect means of splitting him from the other two who promptly find their freedom and lives threatened.

Backed by a compelling villainous presence in Robert Whitelock’s Curtis who holds a monopoly on a life-saving and intelligence-altering drug with a most peculiar and secretive source, the trouble with ‘The Edge’ is that there simply isn’t enough time to develop this setting enough to explain just why Jamie’s actions and reactions are so out of place. This is a similar issue that plagued ‘The Integral’ to a greater extent with its direct comparisons to Zoe, but while Jamie’s innate astuteness and emotions being so out of place do build up the alien nature of this world, the context is lost with Curtis’s egomaniacal aspirations being the only real external focus. Nonetheless, in a world where logic is paramount and any degree of spontaneity or unreasoned thought is shunned, Jamie proves to be the one being who can make a meaningful difference above the well-intentioned protestations of his friends, and his travels in the TARDIS and the knowledge he has accrued throughout are put to good use as his reactions and instincts become paramount to survival on the asteroid that becomes much more than a simple rock in the middle of a nebula.

Although the plot is relatively straightforward and doesn’t quite have the time to develop the world as much as it might like to, ‘The Edge’ is a fitting end to this exploration of Jamie as a man and as a friend, and the traditional setup without a unique framing device or hook allows Frazer Hines to completely own every bit of narration and dialogue given to him. With a strong guest performance from Robert Whitelock and the usual strong sound design accompanying Lisa Bowerman’s direction, this return to the basics is perfectly enjoyable and provides a firm reminder of just how far Jamie and The Companion Chronicles have progressed through the years.

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