Snow

Posted in Audio by - December 05, 2021
Snow

Released December 2021

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Having witnessed the brutal totalitarianism of Divine Intervention and its fearmongering afar, the Doctor and his companions return to London in the 2030s, hoping to find the source of the paradox and finding the sinister and organized elite already with a strong foothold in James Kettle’s ‘Snow.’ But as the travelers return to their Baker Street house that now has Ron Winters as its sole inhabitant, they also find that this is the only place on Earth where snow still falls.

‘Snow’ starts on an incredibly emotional high as listeners are reintroduced to Ron who has lost Tony some five years ago but who continues to go through his daily motions while conversing with his lost lover, waiting for his own time to come and wondering if Tony is watching over him. David Shaw-Parker gives a heartfelt performance as a man holding onto the man he loved with nothing else to look forward to except reuniting with him in the next life, and the understated and yet powerful grief he is able to convey in each scene perfectly feeds into the unique presence of the persistent snowfall that reminds him so fiercely of Tony and his own outlook on life. For a supporting character who has not featured in many of the recent dominant storylines, this characterization is deeply profound and dynamically fleshes out this Baker Street world that has continued on in the Doctor’s absence.

In a world where fascism is on the rise and aerial assassinations of nonconformists are hardly worth noting, the return of Zakia Akhtar is also noteworthy, a woman who once called this Baker Street house her home and yet who is reintroduced as part of Divine Intervention that is claiming control of all extraterrestrial elements on Earth. Avita Jay does well to impose a stringent certainty and command to her voice to convey the typical assuredness with which Divine Intervention works, but especially when she is complicit in an attack upon the house, she also brings forth an incredible amount of emotion to highlight the internal pain she must endure in order to give her family a chance at surviving in this new and cutthroat world. There is a lot that remains unsaid about how exactly Zakia came to be in this situation, but the details and emotion afforded more than aptly showcase the horrors that Divine Intervention already brings with it to accomplish its aims.

Yet just as Ron serves as a window into the internal exploration of loss, so, too, does the appearance of Tania in this world after she stayed behind following a fight with Liv. Unsurprisingly, Tania has been labeled as a nonconformist by the regime, and though she has never given up information about the Doctor and his companions, she has always held onto her memories of the past with Liv no matter how the political powers and buildings around her have changed. Of course, while Tania has had years to accept her fate and bears no animosity toward Liv due to perils of being with a time traveler, Liv is still experiencing the emotions of their fight and must now come to terms with everything Tania has experienced in her absence that has culminated in a shocking twist that she knows has become a fixed point. Rebecca Root is wonderful in these scenes, but there’s little doubt that Nicola Walker is the true highlight here as Liv must process and express such a broad range of emotions in such a short time period. Rarely has a loss been so immediate given Liv’s recent actions and her resulting feelings of guilt and remorse, and Walker again proves why is one of the finest actresses to ever hold a position aboard the TARDIS in any era.

Indeed, ‘Snow’ is an incredibly powerful and impactful story on so many levels, and although it does falter just a bit with its handling of Andy who is written as far too carefree and lighthearted given the circumstances, it could hardly have provided a more resonant snapshot of what the world could become under the influence of Divine Intervention. Its perfect incorporation of supporting characters from the past both in person and off screen is perfect in every regard, and Paul McGann again mesmerizes as a more contemplative Doctor looking to find the truth both in the snow and in the world at large around him. Although the quirk of the TARDIS’s current state does mean that nothing seen here is destined to unfold as seen which takes away some of the inherent drama while opening the door for much more from Liv in particular, ‘Snow’ is a stunning piece of work that highlights just how introspective Doctor Who can be given the right impetus.

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