The Sonomancer

Posted in Audio by - December 20, 2018
The Sonomancer

Released March 2016

As Doom Coalition 2 draws to a close with Matt Fitton’s ‘The Sonomancer’ and the reasoning behind that title slowly begins to take form, the Doctor must once more face the Eleven to prevent the destruction of the unstable planet of Syra and the genocide of its people. However, with River Song also involved and trying to save Syra’s people, the Doctor must never be allowed to uncover or understand the total truth.

Strangely, ‘The Sonomancer’ takes its time to fully introduce and explain what is happening, allowing the Eleven, Caleera, and River to take centre stage far before the Doctor and his companions arrive and even longer before explaining that the TARDIS has been tracking seismic activity resulting from Caleera’s gift. While this isn’t an implicit fault, it nonetheless creates something of a confusing opening to the finale of a set that has so far laid out its course quite clearly. And although this format does prove that these recurring characters are more than capable of carrying a narrative by themselves, it unfortunately continues the trend started for the Eleven in ‘The Satanic Mill’ and for Caleera in ‘The Gift’ in which both have had their unique nuances and backstories dropped to make them little more than stereotypical and raving megalomaniacs. This is the first time that these two villains have truly been shown working together and so it’s understandable that their personalities don’t mesh seamlessly as of yet, but there is sadly little development for either here as they go about contentiously planning their continued destruction of everything around them with little explanation of why afforded.

Despite the Eleven and Caleera adequately filling the villainous role without much definition, Mark Bonnar and Emma Cunniffe give wonderful performances that portray the characters’ power and shrewdness despite the unique type of insanity each possesses, and that calibre of acting pairs with the usual strength of the core cast expertly. In fact, though Helen is somewhat sidelined more than usual, ‘The Sonomancer’ gives the Doctor and Liv a great deal to do and recaptures the spirit of their burgeoning companionship that became so enthralling as Dark Eyes approached its conclusion. The distinct personalities of these two complement each other perfectly and bring out the best aspects in each, and it’s great to see that Liv has retained her pragmatism after all that she has seen when the Doctor suggests walking into a volcano as well as her commitment to the cause when she willingly volunteers to be a diversion to allow the Doctor to continue his exploration unfettered.

At its core, ‘The Sonomancer’ is an action spectacle, and on that front it certainly succeeds. It’s simply the fact that there are no fewer than six truly engaging characters featured with minimal actual character development given to any that precludes the story from reaching its true potential as something more fulfilling. Of course, this is always something of an issue when River Song meets an earlier version of the Doctor than the Tenth since either River’s identity must remain shrouded as is the case here or the two cannot directly and visually interact as was the case in The Diary of River Song, at least not without some sort of memory alteration. Again, Alex Kingston oozes charisma and gives an utterly commanding performance as River directly influences events much more than Liv or Helen likely could, but the story doesn’t quite prove that River was a necessary addition despite being an imminently enjoyable one. Nonetheless, the final confrontation with River and Liv taking on the Eleven more than capably ends ‘The Sonomancer’ on an enjoyable high, and though this story does feel more like a crowded placeholder with certain pieces that needed to be moved in certain directions rather than a direct continuation of the saga, it still hints at the potential that Doom Coalition can still deliver as the puzzle continues to come together.

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