DW: Thin Time / Madquake Review

DW Thin Time Madquake

It’s time to reunite the Doctor with his companions and explore poor old Marc a bit more… plus the Slitheen, because… ugh, I have no idea. Also a surprising cameo at the end of the first story, which I’ll get too after the spoilers warning! So let’s take a look then!

Synopsis (of “Thin Time”):

Hallowe’en, 1892. Celebrated novelist Charles Crookshap claims to have been receiving time communiqués, promising secrets that could change the world forever. But when the TARDIS interrupts the household’s evening, the Doctor realises he isn’t the only alien interloper in London.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Thin Time is a really fun story. The Doctor arrives in an old manor house and meets Charles Crookshap (Wilf Scolding) and his friend John Hobshaw (Zaqi Ismail), who are expecting him, much to his surprise. Soon things start getting weird as The Doctor explains that this exact year and date is a moment of “Thin Time”, where the boundaries between time and dimensions are just naturally weaker and that something is trying to “get in”. While The Doctor has a chat about loneliness with maid Mrs. Polly (Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo) that makes him think of his companions, the monster from another dimension arrives and reveals he’s actually been here all along and that Charles Crookshap doesn’t exist, he just manipulated local spacetime to make people think he did. The Doctor panics momentarily before realising that the dimension Crookshap comes from has no concept of linear time and soon the invader is defeated merely by existing in a place he wasn’t made to exist. Time snaps back to normal, and The Doctor meets an odd looking friend…

This friend is the Eleventh Doctor, well portrayed by Jacob Dudman (who I can’t stand his Twelfth Doctor, but his Eleven is great!) The two sit and have a cup of tea, the Eleventh Doctor being on his post-Amy Victorian era retirement, a fact that the Fifth Doctor soon comes to realise is the wrong way to go about things. He realises his companions know the risks and want to travel with him anyway, so to avoid becoming like his future self, he heads off to retrieve the companions he left behind… after another cup of tea and a bit more of a chat. I can understand why some people don’t want the recasts in the Main Range (especially when it’s been fine without them for two decades and is just about to end!) but Dudman’s Eleven is good enough that I don’t mind. Same goes for Culshaw’s Brigadier, which has just been announced for one of December’s releases…

The Bad:

DW Thin Time Madquake cover

Whoever wanted the Slitheen in the Fifth Doctor era? Also, why is Marc not on the cover? Being the centrepiece of this whole arc and all…

Can’t say I enjoyed Madquake all that much. The first half is interesting, Nyssa wants to stay on the relaxing planet, Tegan doesn’t like the idea of being able to relax due to a planet’s atmosphere and associates it with being manipulated by The Mara, and the now-mostly-Cyberman Marc is … wishing he’d died. It was an interesting set up, but sadly a local psychiatrist is revealed to be a member of the Slitheen family (who thankfully created a skin that doesn’t cause her to fart all the time…) and two more homicidal Slitheen soon arrive and everyone starts being chased in the jungle by two child-like aliens running around laughing and farting. Completely killed ALL atmosphere in the story, much like the aliens did in their original story. What a stupid decision. The Doctor arrives after the Slitheen are chased away (therefore keeping the Ninth Doctor’s lack of knowledge about them intact) and they all head off in the TARDIS, with lots of emotional baggage that needs to be unpacked. Looking forward to it, sadly the next two stories in this arc have been pushed back to 2021 due to, apparently, events in one of the story being too similar to the current pandemic issues…

The Continuity:

The Eleventh Doctor is in his self-imposed Victorian era retirement after his long-time companion Amy Pond left in TV story “The Angels Take Manhattan”. He wouldn’t snap out of it until TV Christmas special “The Snowman”.

The Doctor leaving and Marc being Cyber-ised all happened in the story double-pack “Warzone / Conversion”. Tegan being mind-controlled by the Mara happened in TV classic “Kinda”, and that’s about it for continuity. How odd to talk about the Eleventh Doctor TV continuity and the Fifth Doctor audio continuity in the same section!

Overall Thoughts:

This is really is a mixed bag! Thin Time was great, I really enjoyed the time bendy twists and the final scene between the two Doctors, but Madquake had good set up but a poor second half… really poor. I guess I’ll split the score, but it is a shame people won’t be able to buy Thin Time by itself…

Thin Time:

4 Star Listen

Madquake:

2 Star Listen

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