The Lure of the Nomad

Posted in Audio by - May 15, 2018
The Lure of the Nomad

Released May 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

As the 2018 Big Finish Main Range switches from the Fifth to the Sixth Doctor, Matthew J Elliott’s ‘The Lure of the Nomad’ offers something wholly unexpected by stepping outside of established continuity to explore a time of the Sixth Doctor’s life when he traveled with space pilot Mathew Sharpe. Forgoing an introductory story and only briefly touching upon the Doctor’s rescue of Mathew that brought them together, Mathew here is an established companion within the TARDIS who is brave, intelligent, and perfectly willing to stand up to the Doctor when needed. Responding to a distress call, the pair walks into a desperate situation on a derelict spaceship being turned into a luxury hotel as the tentacled Makara tasked with carrying out the renovations have mysteriously begun murdering their employers.

‘The Lure of the Nomad’ starts out simply enough, and the first episode gives a false sense of familiarity and security by presenting a quintessentially traditional Doctor Who tale. With the exoskeletons of the benign and emotionless Makara being hacked to drive them to murder even as the beings within insist they still harbour no ill will, it seems clear that a nefarious force is acting furtively from the shadows for personal gain. As deaths mount while the opening of the hotel nears, the initial suspect list is centred upon capitalist Eric Drazen funding this endeavour, journalist Esther Brak publicising Drazen’s every move, and gaseous designer Willoway along to best ensure success, and all are duly brought under suspicion to flesh out the mystery at hand.

However, what seems to be a traditional base under siege story or even allegory about corporate greed quite quickly turns into something quite unanticipated and unique as the Doctor senses a time disturbance and something that belongs to a race that should be nothing but a footnote in history. Realising after seeing a specific crystal native to only two locations in the universe that this ship is none other than that responsible for transporting a doomed population that was killed by the famed but enigmatic Myriad army, time itself is called into question as past, present, and future collide spectacularly to bombastically introduce a wholly dangerous new enemy. With Drazen infatuated with the publicity he can get out of this turn of events but eventually proving just how honourable he is while still remaining true to his motivations, even the most basic assumptions at the core of this story are challenged as the recent past of the Doctor and Mathew is retold from a completely unique perspective and the events bringing them to this ship are revealed. As the Doctor is welcomed to the impending end of the universe, a collective threat from the enxt universe beyond known time itself threatens to manifest in whole as a critical mass is reached and an event bigger than the Big Bang itself is unleashed.

Matthew J Elliott and Big Finish have managed to achieve something quite special with ‘The Lure of the Nomad.’ It does anything but go in the expected direction that it initially sets out, and the emotional turmoil the Doctor is put through is remarkable in scale and impressively played by Colin Baker whose haughty Time Lord finds himself the one asking questions for once. Each of the characters is impressively well-rounded in this tense and dangerous environment, and George Sear makes an instant impact as the dynamic Mathew Sharpe, whether this is the character’s only appearance or not. This is a story that deserves to be heard and experienced in real-time to experience the payoff of foreshadowing and the many known and unknown sacrifices required to build up and take down this incredible menace, and it’s the final sentencing to real time that provides fitting closure as the Doctor hopes to find a way to atone for his sins while his enemies hopefully try to atone for their own.

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