Metamorphosis

Posted in Audio by - June 16, 2024
Metamorphosis

Released June 2024

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

A mysterious fog is vanishing the people of the planet Jaxus out of plain sight- Naomi included- as the Doctor inadvertently becomes entwined in the Master’s latest scheme to heal his scarred and mouldering form in ‘Metamorphosis’ by Lisa McMullin.

With Jaxus, McMullin shows an incredible talent at building a visual and visceral world within the audio medium, the pairing of the Doctor with the local Cahlo who is looking for her father providing plenty of insight into the unique features of this world. In particular, the sentient blue grass that is also found on Gallifrey is an incredible creation, the act of conversing with and even apologizing to the plant life being a surprisingly strong highlight. Of course, that particular plant is a necessary component of the Master’s unique scheme that will not only repair his body but also make him all but invulnerable, and the unbeatable army he is concocting to support his newest plans of conquest perfectly capture his refusal to accept his ill-fated life as well as his persistent and forever-expanding aspirations.

Of course, neither Naomi nor Harry knows who the Master is, and though Naomi doesn’t have quite as much time to feature as she attempts to flee the mysterious blue substance without drawing attention to herself, ‘Metamorphosis’ shines a bright light on the genuine and caring nature of Harry. Knowing that the Doctor will be arriving soon to offer more help to this figure he knows to be a Time Lord through cursory examination, Harry shows an implicit kindness to the scarred figure before him, unknowingly misplacing his trusting nature but also revealing his own true strength of character in the process. Though this does ultimately lead to him succumbing to the Master’s powerfully hypnotic influence as so many of the local population likewise have, this is a surprisingly strong storyline for Harry and his military and medical history that is so often overlooked which allows Christopher Naylor plenty of opportunity to shine alongside Geoffrey Beevers who long ago perfected the calm and dulcet tones of his incarnation of the Master who is so exceedingly cruel and dangerous.

Despite the brilliant setting and the audaciously powerful scheme the Master has thought up here, however, the story as a whole falters somewhat due to its two-part format and the resulting need to rush to a resolution and ending. Indeed, the Master goes from all but assured success to the Doctor emerging victorious following a show of his own heightened telepathic powers in a manner of seconds, retroactively lessening the impact of the entire plan and intelligence- or at least forward-thinking nature- of the Master who should be able to plan for the Doctor’s moves at this point. Nonetheless, the story up until that point is an engrossing and powerful one, and Tom Baker gives one of his most dynamic recent performances as the Doctor fully embraces the danger and severity of the situation around him. With Lydia West offering a strong supporting performance that wonderfully captures the desperation and exasperation of Cahlo during this search, the performances are uniformly strong throughout which help to deliver a strong sense of pace and eerie tension throughout. The two-part format comes with plenty of pros and cons which are all boldly on display here, but ‘Metamorphosis’ is another strong instalment in the ongoing battle between the Doctor and the Master that ends with an intriguing tease of just what might happen when the Master arrives unexpectedly right within the Panopticon.

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