Doctor Who: Ravenous 3 – L.E.G.E.N.D. and The Odds Against Review

DW Ravenous 3 P2

The second half of Ravenous 3 sadly fails to keep up the momentum of its first two episodes, and while neither story were bad, both were lacking in forward momentum and instead felt like two episodes of running on the spot. Still, some good times to be had, and it certainly seems like it’s going to lead to a big conclusion! Let’s take a look.

Synopsis (of “L.E.G.E.N.D.”):

Over years of study and research, the Brothers Grimm built a compendium of folklore: stories of witches and wizards, magic and morality, strange creatures and treacherous forests…

Professor Marathanga does much the same, on a universal scale. But her methods are rather less rigorous, using technological shortcuts to fill her intelligent database – L.E.G.E.N.D.

When worlds collide, the TARDIS crew discover that fairy tales can become real. And the Doctor’s latest companion is put to the test. Will the Eleven be an asset, or one more monster to defeat?

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW Ravenous 3 Cover

Hey look, it’s the overall boxset cover… now with at least 50% less people that are relevent to the review!

The Doctor (Paul McGann) – The Doctor is fed up of being chased by the Ravenous, and is now on the path towards finding a method to defeat them… it’s just unsettling that the method in question came from a sworn enemy…

Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) – Liv is frankly unthrilled with her new travelling companion of the The Eleven, though she’s even less thrilled with the Ravenous devouring her soul, so… you take what you can get.

Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) – Helen has done the whole travelling with The Eleven thing, and doesn’t really want to do it again, though much like with Liv, it is preferable to being eaten by the Ravenous…

The Eleven (Mark Bonnar) – The Eleven has found himself teaming with his sworn enemy, but only due to self-preservation. As soon as the Ravenous have been dealt with, he’ll enjoy killing The Doctor and his friends…

The Ravenous (George Asprey and Susie Emmett) – The Ravenous has spent an eternity trapped in another world by the Time Lords, and now they want to feed on their delicious regeneration energy…

Wilhelm Grimm (Arthur Hughes) – One half of the Brothers Grimm, Will is looking for a fun night on the town away from libraries and stories… boy is he ever going to get his wish… sort of.

Marathanga (Tanya Moodie) – Marathanga is an expert in the field of Legends and Folk Tales, making her the perfect person to speak to about the Ravenous… at least it would if her information gathering methods were more hands on…

The Nine (John Heffernan) – An earlier incarnation of The Eleven, last seen (or heard) being locked up in a cell by Liv and Helen, a situation that lead him to come face-to-face with The Ravenous. If he’s eaten though, what happens to The Eleven?

Plus more!

The Good:

DW Ravenous 3 LEGEND cover

You know putting McGann’s Doctor front and centre with the word LEGEND written underneath wasn’t a coincidence…

Episode 3, “L.E.G.E.N.D.”, has a fun idea, though not the most original. Professor Marathanga has a computer that has learned countless tales and legends and soon gains full sentience, all while having access to the Professor’s machine that can turn a special type of plasma into pretty much anything someone desires, from food to entertainment. Of course, with a bit of prodding by The Eleven (I’ll get to that in a bit) it starts to create scenes from fairy tales and fiction in real life, all while The Doctor, Liv, Helen and Wilhelm Grimm of the Brothers Grimm are all in the thick of it. Helen and Will make a fun combination, and it was nice to see (hear) Helen’s background of being a linguist actually have an effect on something. Eventually L.E.G.E.N.D. (the computer) starts breaking down matter to create new stuff, leading to the Doctor destroying it, with the reluctant help of the rather self-absorbed Marathanga. It was a fun story, with some amusing “The Doctor reacting to real life fairy tales with glee” moments, but very little came from it. The Eleven finds something shocking about the Ravenous, but that secret remains a secret for the listener as well as The Doctor…

Episode 4, “The Odds Against”, was rather… odd. There were some good banter between The Doctor, Liv, Helen and Eleven, particularly Liv bad-mouthing the Eleven all the time (at least she never drops her guard around him…) and the big twist that the hidden foe at the heart of the mysteriously clichéd adventure was The Nine in a rubber mask was really fun. Highlight of the story was The Nine and The Eleven bickering, including Nine in Eleven’s head talking to The Nine, or both The Fours in both of their heads talking to each other. It was properly bizarre, but hilarious! Eventually it’s revealed that the Ravenous can’t eat The Nine/Eleven due to his condition, so The Eleven decides to use this information to manipulate The Doctor into thinking he’s on his side, all the while having made a secret deal with The Ravenous. This leads into Ravenous 4, which we already know will feature four incarnations of The Master on top of everything else, so… yikes. Should be fun!

The Bad:

DW Ravenous 3 The Odds Against

Good old crazy Eleven. There’s something more enjoyable about his unsettling and more serious take on the character than those that have taken earlier or later incarnations up.

In the end it felt like two hours of The Doctor, Liv and Helen running away from various things while talking about either how the Ravenous / other monsters were closing in, or a remark about saying something wasn’t such a good idea because it just happens. Now, “The Doctor and his companion running away from things” might sound like all Doctor Who stories, but I really mean it this time, very little in the way of actual exposition, not a lot of down time to chat or plan, and it was all leading to the big cliffhanger. Like I said in the opening paragraph, it really felt like the writers were just treading water and waiting to get to the finale, but without really knowing what to do other than have characters run around for a bit.

Man The Doctor was stupid here. In “L.E.G.E.N.D.” he left The Eleven in a room with the titular computer and his sonic screwdriver and trusted the literal crazy killer to gather some information for him. Unsurprisingly, The Eleven goads the A.I. into devouring all living matter and tries to get it to kill Liv and Helen in the woods. Then all throughout “The Odds Against” The Doctor is seemingly oblivious to the fact he was manipulated constantly by The Nine / The Eleven and when it’s clear he should have figured it out he hand waves it off and says something along the lines of “never mind that” or “There’s no time to think about that now!”. I really hope at some point in Ravenous 4 he reveals that he had a good idea of The Eleven’s manipulation and had a plan all along, otherwise he really comes off uncharacteristically stupid…

The Continuity:

Not much, if any, continuity here, beyond connections to previous entries in the Ravenous story arc, obviously…

Overall Thoughts:

The latter two parts of Ravenous 3 are fine, they’re enjoyable, but they have flaws. They both slow the actual titular story arc to a halt and unlike Companion Piece, which was at least really fun despite barely being part of the arc, these stories were very bare-bones, with only some funny dialogue exchanges to speak of in terms of highlights. A shame, but it does set up the next box rather well…

3 Star Listen

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