Here Lies Drax

Posted in Audio by - December 09, 2022
Here Lies Drax

Released December 2022


Despite only appearing in ‘The Armageddon Factor,’ the renegade Time Lord and old friend of the Doctor’s Drax made an enduring impact that made it only logical that at some point he would appear within the realms of Big Finish, and 2016’s ‘The Trouble with Drax’ finally fulfilled fans’ wishes with an ingenious comedy that highlighted Drax’s technological prowess and penchant for circumventing laws of society and of time. In ‘Here Lies Drax,’ the Doctor, Liv, and Helen are surprised to receive a letter in the TARDIS from Drax followed by a parcel full of innocuous object he asks the Doctor to keep safe, and the intrigue only intensifies when an invitation to Drax’s funeral comes next.

As Drax’s funeral is interrupted time and time again by the arrival of people who refuse to believe he is dead for any number of reasons, the most humorous and blunt being accrued debt that Drax has not yet paid off, the Doctor comically retorts that this is exactly how he wants his own funeral to unfold. However, this being Drax, nothing is quite so straightforward as it seems, and the Doctor and his friends quickly find themselves on the quest for an immense sum of money that Drax had in his possession while evading would-be assassins in the employ of the Quantum Assassin who has been pursuing Drax for the same reason. Through Drax’s last known actions, key words oft repeated to his widow, and a deeper look at the items delivered to the TARDIS, the Doctor, Liv, and Helen try to piece together the mystery of Drax’s incredibly dangerous and illicit dealings and find traps and puzzles much more dizzyingly complex than they could have imagined as assumed identities and motivations are anything but assured.

Comedy is an inherently tricky genre to pull off, especially in the audio medium without the advent of visual cues and gags, but the incredible bevy of immense characters and pitch-perfect reactions as the absurdity continues to amplify while the Doctor continues to insist he has worked it all out while continuing to be taken by surprise make ‘Here Lies Drax’ an absolute success that likewise incorporates the best of Drax’s character whether through the purported incarnation helping the Doctor look into another of his selves’ dealings or through the increasingly complex journey he has left for the Doctor to traverse in his wake. Shane Richie excels in bringing forth the comedic stylings of Drax once more, imbuing both assurance and exasperation to his performance as he tries to find out the truth about himself along with his old friend. Perhaps expectedly given how events played out in ‘The Trouble with Drax,’ there are inevitably certain similarities with how the plot here unfolds, a fact wonderfully referenced as the Doctor questions whether each person he initially comes upon might also be an incarnation of Drax. However, the final twist in which the Doctor finally realizes that he has misunderstood everything around him is a truly brilliant subversion that recontextualizes all of the preceding events and proves just how manipulative and far-seeing Drax truly is when he senses danger tailing him. He’s always been one for a challenge, and the one he created here that ultimately did end up doing the universe some good is staggering in its audaciousness and ultimate resolution.

‘Here Lies Drax’ will likely have little to no lasting impact on the continuing adventures of the Eighth Doctor, but this trio of the Doctor, Liv, and Helen has been through so much emotional trauma together over the years that it’s refreshing to hear Paul McGann, Nicola Walker, and Hattie Morahan in a high-stakes but less emotionally grueling backdrop. The three have developed such an immense chemistry together that their characters’ jests and barbs at each other are all completely believable, and the probable standalone nature of this tale means that the humour can continue to fly naturally from beginning to end while pointing out just how naïvely innocent the Doctor can still be. With strong supporting performances lending an extra layer of depth to Drax’s plan alongside sterling direction and sound design, ‘Here Lies Drax’ is a strong start to this Connections set and brilliantly brings the Doctor’s past and present together.

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