It’s time to begin the Eighth Doctor Audio Drama strand of Time Lord Victorious with “He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not”. Obviously on the fringes of the core story seen in last week’s book, this is more about The Doctor realising something is very wrong with time and meeting Brian the Ood Assassin for the first time. The rest of the story is fun, but full of bad accents… Does it hurt it overall? Let’s find out!
On the desert world of Atharna, the Doctor’s life is about to be changed forever.
Looking to visit one of the Seven Hundred Wonders of the Universe, he’s quickly embroiled in a web of deceit. Worse than that, this Wonder of the Universe is missing, and the Doctor is about to encounter one of his most dangerous and duplicitous adversaries.
The Doctor is about to meet Brian.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
The best thing about this story is Brian (Silas Carson), an Ood assassin with his brain in his translation ball which has led to a complex where the Ood talks to “Mr. Ball” and gives in to his un-Odd-like impulses. I enjoyed Brian in the book, but he often came across as more comedic than deadly assassin (with one or two scenes as an exception) but here? Creepy as hell. He’s been hired by a rather unpleasant man who wishes his daughter brought back to him and his daughter’s female lover killed. The couple, Felicity (Misha Malcolm) and Sophie (Melanie Stevens) have crash landed on the desert planet Atharna and the daughter is stuck with Brian while her lover has gone into hiding. Brian can’t kill her as he has to bring her back alive, so he instead creepily taunts her about soon killing her love interest and implying he doesn’t mind making it look like she was accidentally killed if she doesn’t follow him.
How is The Doctor caught up in this? Well, he lands on Atharna expecting a lush ocean world with “city ships” and a giant statue that made it to the “Seven Hundred Wonders of the Universe” list but instead finds a barren desert world and people from a nearby planet that he’s never heard of. He gets tangled up in the drama of Brian and the female couple, eventually helping out in freeing them and ending up in the TARDIS with Brian, though the latter is swiftly ejected into the Time Vortex before The Doctor arrives in front of a bunch of Daleks for the cliffhanger. It’s fine, the few scenes between The Doctor and Brian, once the former knows the truth about the latter, are a good laugh, but there isn’t a lot of substance during this hour…
While I like the depiction of Brian, the rest of the cover smacks a bit of… simplicity? Something doesn’t feel right, anyway…
What I didn’t mention during this is the place they’re hiding out at is full of really over-exaggerated “Western accents”, specifically Samson the bar owner (Jack DeVos) and the local Sheriff Katherine (Pauline Eyre). Man it’s distracting as hell and makes the whole tragedy they’re going for sound too much like a comedy. Given they’re all over this 1-hour story, it does drag things down quite a bit…
Well, obviously being a part of Time Lord Victorious, it connects to that! More specifically Brian The Ood appears in “The Knight, The Fool and the Dead”, though that book also features an Interlude chapter where the Eighth Doctor and Brian have a chat around a campfire, so unless Brian appears in one of the other stories, the assassin vanishing into the Vortex here doesn’t add up if that’s how he landed in the Dark Times to meet the Tenth. I guess we’ll see!
The Eighth Doctor also appears at the end of that book seemingly on the same side as The Daleks, something we see the start of at the end of this story.
“He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not” is the start of the path that leads the Eighth Doctor to that great cliffhanger from the book, but barely. Brian the Ood is a fun character, but beyond him the story is rather plain, made worse by some really … REALLY cheesy accents. It’s fine, but I doubt I’ll be giving it a second listen…