The Ribos Inheritance

Posted in Audio by - July 03, 2022
The Ribos Inheritance

Released June 2022

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

On the world of Ribos that normally has its two seasons of the frigid Ice Time and the searing Suntime in thirty-two year intervals, the Doctor and Mel arrive to find that Icetime has persisted for a decade longer than it should have in Jonathan Barnes’s ‘The Ribos Inheritance.’ The Doctor suspects that this is anything but a natural phenomenon, however, and the two quickly become embroiled in a revolutionary plot with conman Garron somehow caught up in the middle of it all.

From the start, Mel has always been one of the Doctor’s most vivacious and optimistic companions, and so it’s fitting that this story should begin with Mel reminding the Doctor who feels change coming to his current incarnation to simply live in the moment, a perspective the Doctor reminds her is decidedly human but that he seems to take to hearts. This is a surprisingly intimate moment against the backdrop of a dark cloister room aboard the TARDIS that show how much the Doctor still dwells on change despite it being foundational to his existence, and it reaffirms just how important the friendship between these two has always been while showing Mel’s incisiveness and empathy long before she has to highlight those attributes upon Ribos itself. Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford each give incredibly strong performances that show each character’s unique methods for tackling different sides of this increasingly complex problem, effortlessly evoking the very colourful nature of their televised tenure as the general population’s emotions run higher with each passing day in Icetime.

This is a world where a king who seemingly appeared out of nowhere has fallen increasingly out of favour, and the feudal nature of this society is becoming increasingly rebellious. For good reason, not much is revealed about King Kari who is driven by his communications with the gods of Ribos, but this does leave this side of the burgeoning revolution somewhat one-sided except to reveal a man dedicated to his principles who believes himself to be acting in everyone’s best interest. Nonetheless, Homer Todiwala is convincing as this ruler who often feels isolated, and Paul Bazely, Vivienne Rochester, and Issy Van Randwyck round out this society’s multiple elements with plenty of emotion and conviction. However, in a role recast from the Tom Baker story ‘The Ribos Operation,’ it’s David Rintoul as Garron who quickly becomes the most prominent figure as the conman’s scheme to turn Ribos into an icy resort for the rich and famous has had several unintended consequences. Led by a barbarian, the Doctor is slowly able to piece together Garron’s responsibility for what has occurred here and who this King really is, belatedly giving Garron an immense amount of development that avoiding overtly confronting his own guilt through the remainder of the story never manages. Garron is ultimately a plot device that could have been filled by anyone, but this callback to the original and the energetic performance from Rintoul make his return both logical and wholly satisfying in a manner that perfectly fits within the tone of this particular season.

‘The Ribos Inheritance’ is by no means the deepest or most profound story, and the ultimate resolution is fairly disjointed from the remainder of the story despite the integral appearances of the Gods throughout King Kari’s narrative. However, the layered society, the superbly emotional performances, and the brilliant sound design make this a genuinely engaging tale from beginning to end. The young Seventh Doctor with Mel remain a flagship pairing for Big Finish, and the wonderful friendship displayed here is one ripe for continued exploration and development going forward.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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