DW: The Creed of the Kromon Review

DW The Creed of the Kromon

This story always stuck in my head as not a very good one, and I think that mainly has to do with how the general fan opinion is that … well, it’s not very good. Upon re-listening to it for this marathon, I can confirm that… it’s not very good. Still, it introduces C’rizz to the pantheon of Eighth Doctor companions, so that’s something! Let’s take a look overall then, and then swiftly forget about it all over again…

Synopsis:

The Interzone is a fearsome nether-world protecting a zone ruled by the Kromon. Theirs is an arid land of dust and dying trees. Across the landscape are spheres that look like giant anthills. The Doctor believes that within one of these structures lie the clues that will lead him to his lost TARDIS.

The spheres are ruled by the insect-like Kromon who covet the TARDIS. When Charley is captured she is forced to metamorphose into a hybrid-insect Queen, and so to save her, the Doctor must barter his knowledge of space-travel technology, all the while knowing that he risks opening up all the realms of space to a rapacious race whose creed is not to create, only to plunder.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (Paul McGann) – The Doctor is stuck in the Divergent Universe, a parallel dimension that has no concept of time, making the Time Lord feel very uneasy and exposed. Still, he has Charley by his side, all he needs now is his TARDIS…

Charley Pollard (India Fisher) – Charley followed The Doctor into the Divergent Universe against his will, but after a rather harrowing experience, the two are once again on good terms… which is good given what they’re about to go through…

C’rizz (Conrad Westmaas) – C’rizz is a Eutermesan, a slave race that has been under the thumb of the Kromon for some time. C’rizz recently escaped from the Kromon Alpha Sphere, but his love L’da was left behind…

The Kro’ka (Stephen Perring) – The Kro’ka is an interdimensional being that is taking great pleasure in tormenting both The Doctor and Charley as they make their way through the bizarre Divergent Universe and its many Zones…

The Kromon (Various) – An insectoid species that found a way to invade other zones in the Divergent Universe, and has now taken over and enslaved the Eutermesans and their zone, and now look to use them to increase their number before moving on to the next conquest…

The Eutermesans (Various) – The Eutermesans were a peaceful farming people who have now becomes slaves to the invading Kromon.

The Oroog (Brian Cobby) – The Oroog are a species of mole-like creatures that, much like the Eutermesans, are slaves to the Kromon… all except one…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW The Creed of the Kromon Cover

The Doctor looks rightfully depressed. Charley on the other hand is thrilled, apparently!

As much flak as the Divergent Universe story arc gets, and trust me a lot of it is justified, I do enjoy these early stories, where the Universe is a series of Zones accessed by going through a strange barrier where The Doctor and companions are taunted by a mysterious being known as the Kro’ka. It’s a fun and unique feeling to the story telling, especially with the TARDIS being out of the picture (and time travel in general).

Much like the Divergent Universe arc itself, C’rizz had a lot of potential here. He’s a chameleon-like creature who can change their skin colour depending on mood and danger… which is a bit of a waste on audio, but still, interesting! At the end of Part 2 he finds his love L’da being transformed into a Kromon Queen, so to save her he kills her dead, with tears in his eyes. This works really well later when Charley is being turned into a Kromon Queen and C’rizz becomes more and more angry as The Doctor continues to refuse to kill his companion, and in the end finds a way to save her. Instead of being happy, C’rizz is full of remorse and begins to question his own decision to kill his love, and so does The Doctor. There is a definite feeling that C’rizz joins them because of Charley’s wish rather than the Doctor, something that plays out well for C’rizz’s final story… just not really all the other ones in between…

The Bad:

The Creed of the Kromon is written by Philip Martin, the same man who brought us Vengeance on Varos, and boy… he seems to only have a couple of ideas for Doctor Who stories! Sadly for us, instead of going for the dystopian society or the look at violence as entertainment, he went for the squelchy insect-like noises (Sil was sort of an insect thing…) and body transformations part instead. On audio. You know, there isn’t much that will turn me off listening to a Doctor Who audio drama, but lots of gross-out noises of insect creatures eating and burping slop and slime will do it every time. Who thought that would be a good idea in your listeners ears?

The Kromon are generic insectoids, and their leader is a bit of a comic idiot, which is sort of funny when The Doctor is out smarting him, but otherwise kills the seriousness of the species that has managed to enslave two whole races. The Kromon in general are just so boring and seen/heard/read it all before that the story just feels dull… when it’s not being disgusting.

The Oroog might have been interesting, had he not been given a cartoony voice. I get it’s a talking mole thing, but still…

In the end, you have unpleasant sounds, bodyshock horror (several times!) which doesn’t work very well on AUDIO (and the fact that Charley is actually immediately  fine after having turned into a Kromon Queen…) and a really boring society / species as your main threat… It’s not good, but thankfully this is the worst story in the Divergent Universe arc, even if many others are just average rather than bad…

The Continuity:

DW The Creed of the Kromon DWM

Our DWM artist couldn’t be bothered to draw C’rizz or the Kromon, it seems…

The Doctor and Charley entered the Divergent Universe at the end of the big Anniversary Story “Zagreus”, and made up before entering this zone in the following story, “Scherzo”. Obviously as its part of an arc, plot points and the ending of this lead into other stories in the arc, so there’s not really any point in listing them. Just look at the next story, “The Natural History of Fear”, and continue on! (when I get round to it…)

As previously mentioned, this story shares similarities with Vengeance on Varos, the Sixth Doctor TV story written by the same author as this one. The Doctor’s companion undergoing a transformation is the key plot that links the two, but there are other similarities and links, including The Doctor mentioning that a TARDIS needs Zeiton-7 in order to work (something that’s never mentioned outside of Varos…)

Charley is forced to relive nearly burning to death on the R101 airship, as nearly seen in her debut story “Storm Warning”.

Overall Thoughts:

The Creed of the Kromon is just not very fun to listen to. In fact, it’s often very obnoxious to listen to, on top of the story being boring. The only two things I listed in the likes are things that are set up for the story arc rather than specifically this story, so… I think Kromon might get that rare 1-Star rating, frankly listening to it being compared to torture sounds about right…

1 Star Listen

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