The Guardian of the Solar System

Posted in Audio by - April 08, 2019
The Guardian of the Solar System

Released July 2010

To open the fifth series of The Companion Chronicles, Simon Guerrier closes out his Sara Kingdom trilogy with the brilliant ‘The Guardian of the Solar System,’ returning to the mysterious house in Ely to offer the definitive exploration of this little-known companion as Robert’s journey reaches its own logical end and Sara recalls an adventure that brings her face to face with Mavic Chen at a most surprising time.

‘The Guardian of the Solar System’ naturally entails a tremendous amount of exposition covering both Sarah’s televised and audio adventures, but it’s never presented in a way that alienates listeners with only a casual knowledge of either. However, once the necessary setup is taken care of, a beautiful tale about the trappings of fate and destiny unfolds. While the symbology of the clock and the elderly workforce is perhaps overplayed a bit at times, the oppressive atmosphere and the impending sense of futility and failure that Sara faces is crafted and delivered to perfection. Indeed, the realisation of the clock itself is a standout triumph, always present but never overbearing and instead pitched methodically enough that it remains an ever-present reminder of the passage of time and the oncoming arrival of arguably Sara’s biggest ever decision.

As Robert assumes control of the house and Sara takes physical form once more, Guerrier crafts a powerful but bleak character study that truly delves into the inner workings and motivations of this one-time Space Security officer who is obviously driven by the enduring guilt of killing her beloved brother. Here, she finds herself confronting him a year before his fated death and all too willing to change established history to save him. Sadly, her actions help to craft the very future she is hoping to avoid when she destroys the hyperspace link, and in the process Mavik Chen becomes a much more well-rounded character than the authoritative and manipulative figure he was presented as on screen. Indeed, his clock and its ability to bend space-time and thus dictate its flow is an audaciously brilliant scheme, and he has the ability to convince even Sara who knows of his ultimate betrayal that he truly is working in Earth’s best interest.

Taking Sara right up to the moment of redemption but then gloriously leaving the conclusion open-ended, ‘The Guardian of the Solar System’ provides the perfect resolution to this trilogy while also capturing the tone and relationships aboard the TARDIS during “The Daleks’ Master Plan” perfectly. With the Doctor’s enthusiasm about the giant clock wonderfully contrasting with Sarah’s burgeoning hope and eventual acceptance of the fate of both her brother and herself, there is not a single wasted moment in a story that remains incredibly intimate despite the vast concepts and settings on display. Tense and atmospheric, this masterpiece highlights the immense potential that The Companion Chronicles holds and definitively proves just how much emotion can still flow from events previously seen through to completion so very long ago. This may just be Jean Marsh’s finest performance in Doctor Who to date, itself an impressive feat given the high calibre she has maintained throughout, and with sterling direction and sound design she helps to deliver the finale any companion would be proud to possess.

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