The Moonrakers

Posted in Audio by - November 15, 2020
The Moonrakers

Released November 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Separated from Leela and Abby, The Doctor and Zara find themselves amidst the earliest pioneers of the Moon who are attempting to survive while cut off from Earth in ‘The Moonrakers.’ A land not bound to Earth’s laws as precious resources continue to diminish, the Moon is unknowingly also home to a very peculiar group of Sontarans that lies in wait.

Splitting the four leads into these two groups helps to develop the multiple settings as Leela and Abby are forced to confront the events and ramifications of the previous story and then to help a group of humans bolster their forces and strategies to take on the Sontaran menace that they see as an invading force. Louise Jameson and Ciara Janson have an immense chemistry that allows their characters’ very different ideas about how aggressively to intervene to come to light naturally, and although this portion of the plot cannot quite match the intrigue and intensity of that headed by the Doctor and Zara, it capably presents another side to this unique conflict waiting to become a conflict upon the lunar surface.

Indeed, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the Sontaran side of the story that shines most brightly since the prospect of a group of Sontarans that refuses to fight and that takes pride in the art and aesthetics of gardening is so immeasurably intriguing. Dan Starkey is, of course, synonymous with the Sontarans at this point and has found great success with playing Strax as the prototypically atypical Sontaran, and his ability to borrow certain key elements from Strax to insert into Stent works wonderfully as this very capable leader patiently waits for circumstances to meet what his pride and honour dictate as necessary to proceed with his plan. Of the two sisters, Zara has always the most impressionable, and her easy ability to win over the Sontarans while adopting their styles is perfectly in line with the character and a challenge that Laura Doddington easily meets. Yet whereas the Doctor brought about a quick change in the preceding tale, affecting change here is anything but expedient, and Peter Davison gives another incredible performance as patience proves to be just as important to the Doctor’s own strategy here as he attempts to learn and account for everything he can to put all the right pieces in motion.

The greatest strength of ‘The Moonrakers,’ however, is its ability to definitively prove just how powerful Abby and Zara are, and not just with respect to their godlike powers. The Doctor has come up against innumerable powerful beings before, but few have been able to pull the wool over the Doctor’s eyes so completely and successfully as what these two achieve here. Just how intertwined the first two stories of this set become once the truth is told lends an immense air of gravitas and scope to these affairs and perfectly sets up what is sure to be an ambitious finale. With a nuanced and ethereal soundscape to dynamically develop this lunar landscape and both parties involved, ‘The Moonrakers’ expertly balances a sense of whimsy with a sense of genuine and profound purpose, and Lisa Bowerman’s capable direction helps to bring together a momentous tale that once more proves how intimately writer Simon Guerrier knows these characters and just how much potential still remains as their adventures continue.

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