The Garden of Storms

Posted in Audio by - November 14, 2020
The Garden of Storms

Released November 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Originally created by the Grace as living tracers to collect the segments of the Key to Time, Amy (now Abby) and Zara made an instant impact alongside and apart from the Fifth Doctor in 2009’s Key2Time trilogy. Developing their own distinct sense of morality while simultaneously trying to understand the universe around them and the position that their powers could and should allow them to assume, Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington successfully helmed their own Graceless series through four box sets to further develop these two unique entitities, and with Wicked Sisters Abby and Zara once more cross paths with the Fifth Doctor when the Time Lords decide that the two godlike sisters must be destroyed.

With Leela working on the Time Lords’ behalf to recruit the Doctor in ‘The Garden of Storms,’ she pilots the TARDIS through a violent time storm and lands on an idyllic garden world filled with perfectly contented people. However, not all is at it seems, and the youthful vibrance surrounding them reveals a theory of economic prosperity taken to its most extreme. That such an audacious idea should be put into practice is a brilliant notion for Doctor Who to explore once again, and the resulting blend of covert horror and overt quirkiness works to remarkable effect as the Doctor comes to realize just how similar to the fledgling beings he left behind the sisters remain despite their obvious growth and maturity since. The pride and naivety that both Abby and Zara show as they cavalierly discuss their own thought processes and previous actions highlight just how unique and powerful they are, and the manifestation of a threat predicated upon deception and chaos is a brilliant counterbalance to make everyone pause and discern the truth of the situation around them and an idea that cannot so easily be eliminated.

Even with this being the first in a trilogy of adventures and so as much expository in nature as it is developmental, Peter Davison and Louise Jameson bring a tremendous sense of energy to proceedings that allow the more grounded ideas of the Fifth Doctor and Leela to perfectly intersect with this weighty setting and the more outlandish thoughts of the twins. Janson and Doddington have always had moments when they sound quite similar, but here this only serves to highlight the implicit similarities and yet distinct personality differences that exist between Abby and Zara. There are two very different strategies proposed for affecting change in this society, and the effects of each are discussed and developed suitably well to allow both pairs of characters to develop and begin to understand each other as the story progresses. With a horrific central conceit that is presented in a novel fashion and with a brilliant soundscape that allows this idyllic world and its underlying truth to dynamically come to life, ‘Garden of Storms’ is a surprisingly strong story in its own right that also more than capably sets the scene for the narrative arc that will drive these characters forward. Bringing the world of Graceless back into the reality of Doctor Who is no easy feat, but Simon Guerrier who has crafted so many of the ongoing adventures of Abby and Zara has already proven here just how much potential still remains with this fascinating collision of worlds.

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