Time Heals

Posted in Audio by - April 08, 2018
Time Heals

Released December 2004

The United Kingdom branch of UNIT finds itself under siege as the government wishes to cede UNIT’s power to its own investigative organisation and as the public demands explanations to recent peculiar events. When the commanding officer goes missing and political officer Colonel Emily Chaudhry is left to fend for herself in the public eye, a seeming pattern to the strange events draws the Brigadier out of retirement to help save the day one final time.

As an introductory story, ‘Time Heals’ suffers from the unfortunate fact that this is a series yet to settle on a particular tone and voice in its delivery of plot elements. Thus, right from the beginning, the characters and audience are inundated with developments such as time going wrong, Colonel Ross Brimmicombe-Wood being taken, a train appearing from nowhere and causing devastating damage, and a spaceship going missing, creating a messy and nearly insurmountable situation that doesn’t feature the usual subtlety of intertwining finesse that Big Finish usually employs. Any single anomaly or disaster explored in any detail would be more than sufficient to anchor a story tasked with introducing its new cast, but throwing such a bevy of troubles at them right from the start takes away both from the characters and the individual threats they face. Unfortunately, this lack of subtlety applies to the very blunt dialogue that very explicitly details exactly what every character is thinking about each situation he or she happens to witness. Since this applies both to the heroes and to the figures with more nefarious means, there is little left to the imagination and no attempt to create a sense of mystery regarding the underlying conspiracy as experiments continue to go wrong with disastrous consequences.

Highlighting UNIT in the gritty realism of the modern world where militant Muslim factions are unfortunately the first to be blamed for the continuing carnage has the potential to be a truly innovative series that develops the many plights on Earth like no series associated with Doctor Who has yet really attempted. While there’s no denying that ‘Time Heals’ presents many plights, the characters as written here are simply too generic and ultimately unsympathetic to command the audience’s attention. The minimal amount of exposition afforded Siri O’Neal’s Chaudry and Nicholas Deal’s Colonel Robert Dalton is similarly awkward to other dialogue, and while the story makes it clear that the audience should care about these two while revealing to the audience far in advance of the protagonists that certain others are not who they claim to be, it doesn’t give any defining moments for either before Dalton proves willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good to stop a nuclear submarine from detonating. At the very least, Dalton’s patriotism and military history in Syria along with his lack of knowledge about aliens before being rushed back to the UK to head UNIT leave plenty of intriguing potential going forward, and Chaudry is enough of a blank slate that anything is still possible for her.

It’s quite clear what ‘Time Heals’ intends to do and its heart is in the right place, but though it does manage to bring UNIT into a world where plots and counterplots dominate and nothing is truly secret from the general population, it focuses on far too many problems for UNIT to confront that unfortunately causes this introductory story to lose focus on the characters that matter most. There’s still plenty of potential for UNIT as a range, but ultimately the brief appearances from Nicholas Courtney are the most entertaining and self-assured moments, a bigger problem since Lethbridge-Stewart will not appear going forward.

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