Time Killers

Posted in Audio by - October 01, 2022
Time Killers

Released September 2022

Seeking a strong temporal weapon, the Doctor of War and the Master arrive on Marinus in Lizzie Hopley’s ‘Time Killers.’ Marinus is nothing like the Doctor remembers it from his visit so long ago, however, and the two Time Lords find themselves trapped in a location where time is quite literally currency and the truth is anything but a certainty.

Importantly, the concept at the centre of ‘Time Killers’ is absolutely brilliant, a location in which people must move ever faster or risk being taxed a percentage of their life expectancy helping to create an enduring sense of pace and of palpable danger in an abstract and yet very visceral context. Unfortunately, while structuring life expectancies like transactions at a bank with a manager in charge is a fascinating subversion of a common experience, the controlling being Horol is far too over the top and often presents more of a pantomime experience than a truly dramatic one. Assuredly part of this performance is purposeful from Lara Lemon given the devastating origins of this creature and the resulting paradox that has assuredly led to a certain insanity buoyed by such immense powers, but it’s at times quite distracting from the genuine and immense drama and danger present.

Uniquely effective in ‘Time Killers,’ however, is the alliance of sorts between this Unbound Doctor and the Master. Colin Baker has always imbued a certain brashness and bravado to his Sixth Doctor, and he expertly maintains an air of familiarity with his Doctor of War performance while severely minimizing his typical charm and humour to create a much more hardened façade. Unlike some other stories in this fledgling range, ‘Time Killers’ wisely allows Baker plenty of time to star in this role, and the ingenuity and determination steeped in a certain self-serving nature is a fascinating combination that maximizes on the true potential of this incarnation. He’s not overtly evil as such, but he’s loyal to nobody but himself as he seeks an end to the Time War, a fact that gloriously rears its head at the story’s conclusion. This is an immensely visual story with audacious ideas such as an infinity of TARDISes, and this Doctor navigates the astounding complexities and amplifying threats of total destruction exceptionally well as he attempts to retain the upper hand against Horol and to be the one himself who can escape certain doom.

At his side, Geoffrey Beevers again excels as the Master, and his chemistry with Baker allows the story to fully delve into the uneasy alliance between these two Time Lords who are so like-minded in so many ways. Beevers’s incarnation is typically self-assured and manipulative, and while he expertly imbues those aspects into his performance here as he works with the Doctor to find this weapon, he is just as superb as the Master discovers and explores his own involvement in local history and finds that nothing about this locale or even his present can be assumed safe. Until now, Hopley hasn’t fully delved into paradoxes and temporal plots, and while this isn’t necessarily the most complex example of such a storyline, the end result perfectly brings together cause and effect while delving into the unique abilities of Time Lords and the unexpected repercussions they can bring in their wake. The characterization of Horol does somewhat detract from what otherwise is a story featuring an immense scope and danger, but the fantastic relationship between the Doctor and the Master and the exploration of the motivations of each within this skewed universe is a brilliant foundation upon which to expand the incredible ideas and visuals present upon Marinus.

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