The Tides of the Moon

Posted in Audio by - May 23, 2022
The Tides of the Moon

Released May 2022

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

To commemorate Hebe’s first trip off of Earth, the Doctor and Mel take the marine biologist to the nearest available water world, Earth’s moon some two billion years in the past, in Emmy Award winner Joshua Pruett’s Big Finish debut ‘The Tides of the Moon.’ The gravitational interference of Earth is threatening to destroy this world within a matter of hours, however, and the TARDIS has landed in the middle of a war between the humanoid Gilleans and the monstrous Sheega.

If the previous story represented a strong introduction to Hebe as a character, ‘The Tides of the Moon’ represents a further exploration of the unique but wholly understandable and relatable mindset that her disability has created. This is a woman who more than anything wants to be seen and treated as an equal, and she rightfully feels indignant when someone reaches to grab her wheelchair no matter the intended reason. Ruth Madeley is wonderful as this companion who is wholly earnest and open about her own thoughts and experiences who is also wholly dedicated to her chosen profession and keen to point out similarities to terrestrial species, and she likewise excels when Hebe’s own enthusiasm gets the best of her and she must step back and think about how her own actions when reaching out to the first alien she comes upon are so similar to those that she detests when they occur to her. That these conversations and sentiments flow naturally without becoming intrusive is all the more impressive and lends a further depth to these proceedings.

This is another story in which the immersive sound design elevates the overall experience, and the mystery of a war with no visual or known casualties unfolds naturally at a pacing that bridges the two distinct eras of Doctor Who. Although the Clutch Father comes off a bit too much as a prototypical close-minded leader who is far too set in his ways no matter the reason and proof the Doctor and Helias present him regarding the imminent danger this world faces, Virge Gilchrist as the scientific Helias who has been tracking the disturbances ravaging this world and their relation to the Earth as well as Sam Stafford as the innocent but scared Wulk brilliantly flesh out the Gillean race and the very unique problems facing them. Indeed, while the two-part structure of this story doesn’t quite allow for too much subtlety regarding this race and the link between Earth and the Sheega menace, the end result is a clever variation on a well-known legendary creature that also neatly explains why no evidence of this race has been found on the Moon.

‘The Tides of the Moon’ is unquestionably another succes for the Sixth Doctor and Big Finish, and Colin Baker here is afforded ample opportunity to highlight his character’s more compassionate nature as the Doctor whole-heartedly throws himself into the scientific mystery and intelligently pieces together the different facets of what is before him. Bolstered by Madeley’s energy as well as Bonnie Langford’s natural charisma in what has become a more senior and almost mentoring role for her now that Hebe has joined, Baker leads what has quickly become a standout trio that already holds an immense amount of potential for future stories. The ultimate twist is hinted at a bit too overtly before its reveal, an almost unavoidable necessity of the shorter running time, but Pruett’s immensely visual Doctor Who debut is a riveting affair from beginning to end and hopefully just the beginning for this author’s contributions to Big Finish.

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