Doctor Who: The Lure of the Nomad Review

DW Lure of the Nomad

The Lure of the Nomad is written by Matthew J. Elliot, the man who brought us Zaltys (hooray!) and the Silurian Candidate (Oh God no…), but which is this more like? Sadly, the answer is the latter. While it has some decent characters and ideas, they’re are either ruined by bad acting or ruined by a Part 4 that if it were visualised would literally be everyone standing around and telling their backstories to each other. Oh well, let’s have a closer look anyway…

Official Synopsis:

For thousands of years, it has drifted through space, unimpeded, forgotten, seemingly lifeless. Now, finally, it has been discovered.

Responding to a distress call from the mysterious hulk, the Doctor and his companion, space pilot Mathew Sharpe, walk into a desperate situation. The multi-tentacled semibionic Makara were tasked with renovating the abandoned craft, but now they’ve begun murdering their employers.

The Doctor soon realises that the Makara have been programmed to kill, but by whom, and for what reason? Finding out the truth will mean uncovering a secret that threatens the entire Universe.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (Colin Baker) – The Doctor has been travelling with a new companion for a few adventures, but feels it’s time to bring him back home… Well, until a new distress signal comes in of course!

Mathew Sharpe (George Sear) – Mathew was saved by The Doctor from certain death in his crashing ship and has enjoyed his travels with him, but it may finally be time to show his true colours…

Eric Drazen (Matthew Holness) – Eric Drazen is the most straight up, no-nonsense arrogant businessman you’ve ever heard. He also has an affliction where his voice doesn’t change in tone at all despite any emotional thing that may or may not be happening… Or maybe that’s just bad acting?

Esther Brak (Susie Riddell) – A news reporter who must “get that scoop” so she can further her career. That’s about it, really.

Willoway (Ruth Sillers) – Willoway is a interior designer who is also a purely gaseous creature. Having to be contained in a human-shaped suit at all times, she enjoys the chance to experience a small bit of what “solids” must feel like…

Plus more!

The Good:

Colin Baker still gives it his all as The Doctor, and I enjoyed his relationship with “companion” Mathew until the revelation in Part 3. In fact ignoring Drazen (more on his down below…) I didn’t mind the first half of this story. Willoway, the gaseous creature who likes the world and art of the “solids” was a fun character, the threat of not the octopus-like Makara but their cybernetic suits that have been hacked was also fun, with them apologising before their suits try to kill someone. Sure Drazen pulled it down a bit, but it was alright. Sadly it all came crashing down after that…

The Bad:

DW Lure of the Nomad Cover

Even the cover for this story is a bit shit…

Straight off the bat, let’s talk about Eric Drazen, shall we? He’s supposed to be this stereotypical arrogant businessman, and so his actor literally does a schoolyard generic pretend voice for an arrogant businessman, but the problem comes when he has to crack a joke, or get angry, or… show any kind of emotion other than “pompous arse”. He can’t! He’s just doing a pretend voice and can’t actually act with it, and it drove me up the wall as he kept messing up some actually quite funny dialogue by completely misreading them with his single voice tone. The director should have made a call and told him to act in a different voice, or his regular voice. Something where he could actually act out the dialogue…

Now let’s get to Part 4, where we find out that The Doctor’s newest companion is actually part of an evil force from the next universe after this one, and he was just tagging along because he needed to lure the time lord to where his ally was trapped in a time bubble. His ally is freed and then both then stand around with The Doctor and Drazen and talk about their plan and how they came to be in the situation they were in… for quite some time, which must have been awkward. Seriously, Mathew tells how he tricked the Doctor, and then the other one tells them how she possessed an old lady (which we heard in the odd pre-credits sequence…) and everything that lead to her being trapped. All this time every was just standing around doing nothing.

Another problem arises when this evil, almost unkillable force from the next universe is voiced by a somewhat harmless-sounding teenager and a gentle old woman. It makes all their threats about ending this universe sound like a joke, and robs most of the drama of all, well, drama. Oh and then all of a sudden Eric Drazen decides to sacrifice himself after he and The Doctor come up with a plan to stop them, and every time the Time Lord tries to persuade him to stop he ignores him and tells him (in the same flat pretend voice!) to tell everyone of his sacrifice because it would be good for his image, because, you know… No, I don’t know either. The Doctor didn’t even try their plan when he got to the TARDIS either, he just tried to talk Eric out of killing himself and then got frustrated when he couldn’t save him…

It’s annoying because one of The Doctor’s companions turning out to be evil could have been good, but instead we only know the companion for three-ish episodes of a single play before the “reveal”, and we’ll most likely never hear of him again. This was all done better a decade or so ago with Eighth Doctor companion C’Rizz, and even that wasn’t exactly a masterfully executed plan…

Did you see me mention Esther Brak? No? That’s because she’s entirely forgettable, no thought has gone into the character, she just spouts random cliché reporter dialogue. She finds herself 75 years into the future and remarks how it’s bad for her career due to needing to have constant exposure…At least she can emote, though, I’ll give her that one over Drazen.

The Continuity:

Nothing much to connect it with anything. The Doctor at one point remarks that climbing a ladder to lose weight would be better than an exercise bike and carrot juice, which is a reference to his final TV story “The Ultimate Foe”, part of the “Trial of a Time Lord” season.

I do wonder if giant octopus-like creatures called the Makara are a reference to the giant crab-like creatures called the Macra from Second Doctor TV story “The Macra Terror”… maybe! Doesn’t make any difference either way, just thinking out loud.

Overall Thoughts:

Yeah, didn’t like this one much! I will say that the first half had its moments and some fun characters and concepts, but Eric Draven let it down. The latter half just goes to bollocks, all threat is rendered useless by unthreatening characters and the reveals happen by people standing around and telling them everything before moving on. Poor writing for Part 4 combined with bad acting for all four parts means this is not going to score well. It’s not The Silurian Candidate, but it’s closer than I’d like any story to be…

2 Star Watch

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