Posted in Audio by - February 07, 2022

Released January 2022


Landing on the forested colony world of Pteron, the Doctor and Charley find a settlement under siege from the mothlike Hellstrung in Lisa McMullin’s ‘Eclipse.’ The Hellstrung were not always so aggressive, however, and the Doctor wants to venture into the forest after curfew to see just what has caused such a stir.

Compared to the preceding story, ‘Eclipse’ is a far more traditional Doctor Who tale, the premise of a human colony under attack being used countless times before. And while beginning the story’s official synopsis with a definition- here saying that the collective noun for a group of moths is an eclipse- is hardly the most riveting opening, McMullin manages to fill the formulaic story with enough plot developments and attempted twists to ensure that it remains entertaining from beginning to end. Indeed, there are only so many times that Keelda who so fears that his missing brother has died can mention the new timber used for his home before foreshadowing and clues become a repeated bludgeon to spur the Doctor’s actions, and the leader imposing a curfew that she herself does not follow far too easily and succinctly reveals that humanity is once again the genuine evil.

‘Eclipse’ is actually more effective as a lens through which to view politics and humans’ effects on the world, and so while it is not surprising that Tarper has found something on this world she can exploit for her own gain while putting others in harm’s way, it is sadly all too relevant with the current state of affairs in the real world as those with power and wealth act seemingly of their own accord with little regard for the consequences others will have to endure. But this is a story in which consequences are not so easily escaped, and while Keelda slowly pieces together the truth behind Tarper and this settlement, the transformative effects of the rejuvenating sap that has furtively been ingested for so long provides a genuinely startling culmination that the Doctor rather pointedly accepts as the proper outcome while Charley can hardly look. Again, this type of ending is hardly unique to this story, but it’s a resounding conclusion that offers closure to the circle of events that have so affected the Hellstrung and Pteron as a whole.

The shorter running time of this story does mean that the supporting characters have little chance to properly develop, and Tarper calling out her lackey as someone who can hardly think for himself only further exemplifies the stereotypical roles that each character fills. However, despite very little being new in any regard at any point through the narrative of ‘Eclipse,’ the imagery is brilliant at all times, and the sound design perfectly brings this alien world and the Hellstrung to life. The tone of this story appropriately is more serious than the preceding tale aside from the unique visual of the Doctor riding atop a giant moth, and once again it’s the brilliant chemistry of Paul McGann and India Fischer that elevates ‘Eclipse’ into something stronger than its core components. The relationship between the Eighth Doctor and Charley is magnificently realized, and though both characters reach the same conclusion by very different means, this story proves once again just how perfectly these characters complement each other no matter the conflict and danger before them.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.