Posted in Audio by - August 14, 2022

Released August 2022


Robert Valentine brings Purity Undreamed to a close with ‘Chronomancer’ as the Sixth Doctor, Mel, Hebe, and Patricia arrive in Sheffield in the twenty-sixth century. They have to cut their trip short and abruptly crash back in the present when caught in the middle of the continuing battle between the dangerous Khavûl and the chronomancer Tannus Valon, and they soon find themselves on the hunt for an ancient artefact that houses an immense threat.

While it doesn’t excuse the rough and off-putting characterization that Patricia has had through the previous two stories, ‘Chronomancer’ does go much further to delve into who Patricia truly is and reveals some shocking truths that are rarely- if ever- seen amidst the Doctor’s chosen company. While this seems poised to become a storyline that continues into a future set of adventures, she reveals herself to be incredibly self-centred and bigoted, enraged that humanity in the future has embraced disabilities and genetic variation instead of going down the path she sees as peak perfection. Indeed, she makes no effort to spare Hebe’s feelings when talking about physical disabilities and just how tolerant she believes herself to be, and these moments do serve to retroactively develop a character who always seemed too caustic. The Doctor admits that either he missed the signals or didn’t want to see them, and while it is a shame that this bigotry wasn’t hinted at a little more directly in those previous stories while also making Patricia slightly more well-rounded in order to better highlight how bigotry exists more casually within society, it is an interesting turn for a would-be companion to take, especially as she joins with the villain of the piece who shares her vision for the future.

Given how persistently the Doctor tries to open people’s eyes to another and a better way of life, it is odd that he so quickly shuts the door on Patricia here no matter how understandable the sentiment is. Nonetheless, his confrontation with Patricia is unquestionably a highlight for the character and for Colin Baker who pours an immense and palpable sense of disappointment, anger, and fortitude into the moment. In fact, ‘Chronomancer’ is by far the most successful story of these three in terms of balancing all of the leads, Mel showcasing her knowledge and determination and Hebe traversing outright prejudice and finally showing the pride and sensitivity that instantly made her such a dynamic character in her debut set. Giving four leads meaningful work and characterization is no easy task, but Valentine does extremely well here while leading up to an immense cliffhanger that changes everything going forward.

Unfortunately, despite a fun and action-packed tone that Matthew Brenher and Joseph Kloska carry well, the plot itself is a fairly derivative one that brings in some very extended Time Lord elements to add an extra layer. Although the stereotypical good guy and bad guy elements in a chase and search for the dimensionally transcendental object move the plot forward capably enough, there is little depth to the proceedings here, and overall it is an oddly jarring plot within which to place such deep and complex thoughts and discussions about personal beliefs. Still, ‘Chronomancer’ is easily the best of this set of three adventures, but the complexity of Patricia’s thoughts and the fallout with the rest of the TARDIS team surely warranted a longer running time to more effectively introduce and explore each respectively. Naturally, future stories still have the opportunity to further expand upon what is shown here just as ‘Chronomancer’ did to the preceding stories, but this serialized nature of stories across box sets with no interlinking subtitle remains an odd decision for Big Finish who ended the monthly range of adventures because of a perceived difficulty for new listeners to hop in and understand what has occurred and where the characters are.

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