The Tyrants of Logic

Posted in Audio by - March 22, 2018
The Tyrants of Logic

Released March 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Mark Platt has previously proven with ‘Spare Parts’ and ‘The Silver Turk’ that he has a firm grasp on the Cybermen as an ever-evolving but ever-conforming race as well as on the unique horror that they bring to the Doctor Who universe, most certainly earning him the honour of penning the Third Doctor’s first full-cast audio encounter with the iconic foes. When the Doctor and Jo land at the derelict mining colony of Port Anvil on the remote planet of Burnt Salt, they soon discover a strange collection of intelligent lemulr-like creatures on the outskirts and a stranger collection of eclectic misfits within, each of whom must learn to work together to survive as the Cybermen pursue a large armoured crate that has mysteriously arrived in the dilapidated Spacehub.

‘The Tyrants of Logic’ makes the interesting choice of focusing on the supporting characters more than on the Cybermen themselves, ensuring that their menace is always stiflingly present but using their physical presence on more limited occasions in order to increase the overall tension and maximize their dramatic impact. In a world where even the air can be fraught with danger, the relentless approach of the array of variously upgraded foes with a plan that introduces the imposing CyberLeveler as a new dynamic is quite impressive and ensures that nobody involved is ever truly safe. Given the very logical nature of the Cybermen in theory, their plans are often far too overcomplicated or simply ridiculous, but the scheme put in motion here actually holds up quite well and only further emphasizes the threat and intelligent decisions on display as the final vestiges of humanity they can never truly eliminate are called squarely into question.

This is a busy story that manages to make Cybermats truly threatening while also tying into the Cyber War and reintroducing glitter guns, but everything included is done so with explicit purpose rather than simply for fan service, and the supporting cast helps to bring this important story to life wonderfully. Given the intrinsic history between humanity and the Cybermen, it makes perfect sense that the wars would inspire vigilantes and hunters to form personal vendettas and take the fight back to the enemies, and Ronan Summers as Hollisen Grier makes a strong impact as that type of character- albeit more nuanced- who is so rarely seen outside of Dalek stories. This performance contrasts nicely with the small group of inhabitants in the town, and Jeff Rawle as the intriguing Chad Caramel, Linda Marlowe as Gusta Pardo, and Carolyn Pickles as Professor Marian Schaeffer who heads an experiment that goes to much deeper and darker levels than first glace would suggest together become a dynamic and engrossing group that very much hints at the very best and worst of humanity, at times simultaneously, while also allowing a shrewd exploration of the body horror and emotion involved in the Cyber conversion process.

Although it understandably cannot occur on a regular basis, stories always hold a bit more narrative weight when the Doctor is just as much a victim of the villainous process as anyone else, and Tim Treloar gives a truly decisive performance as the Doctor finds himself primed and fighting to maintain his sense of self while cries of conformity fill his mind. It’s with this shift from normality that Katy Manning is allowed to step even more into the spotlight than usual, showcasing the bravery and dedication of Jo Grant as she refuses to give up on her beloved friend and truly accentuating just how deep the bond between these two has become during their adventures together. If any lingering doubt somehow remained as to just how important Jo is in the pantheon of companions, her steadfast fortitude on display throughout makes for a definitive and utterly memorable outing that stands among anyone else’s best. It’s clear that everyone on both sides of the microphone is completely confident in their abilities at this point, and though those looking for a grand Cyberman invasion story or something along those lines will be surprised to see a more emotional and intimate adventure on display, ‘The Tyrants of Logic’ is another absolute delight from the mind of Marc Platt and a strong ending to this fourth volume of The Third Doctor Adventures.

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