Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious – Echoes of Extinction Review

Hands up who remembers Time Lord Victorious? It was only a couple of months ago the multi-media event ended but already it seems like old hat, probably because at most it was good but often it was average, so it didn’t exactly have the big impact it promised. Well, anyway, Echoes of Extinction was delayed several months due to the old pandemic-ness and therefore has even LESS impact than if it made its original date. Oh well, let’s have a look…

Synopsis:

Trapped, a haunted monster waits to consume new victims. It needs help. It needs a doctor. Unfortunately, it also needs to kill whoever it meets. Thrust into immediate danger, and on the back-foot, it will take all of the Doctor’s ingenuity to triumph. Both of them.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Part 1 is through the eyes of the Eighth Doctor as he accidentally arrives on a space station and meets Orrivian (Melanie Stevens) who claims to be the last of her race thanks to a genocidal psychic entity known only as “The Network” (Burn Gorman), but it soon becomes more complicated than that. We later see that the Network was created as a means to attack her race’s enemies but it became sentient and “hid”. Orrivian felt sorry for it and tried to protect it, but instead she instilled anger and basically taught it to fight back… which it did by  creating a planet of skeletons out of her home world. The Doctor feels sorry for her, she took pity on something and then genocide happened, but he obviously can’t let the Network free into the universe so he transfers it into a friendly, if not sarcastic android that had been following them around and then leaves with Orrivian as the space station disintegrates and falls to the planet below. It was a decent story, but given its runtime of just over 20 minutes it didn’t have a lot of time to get going…

The same problem happens with Part 2, which is through the Tenth Doctor’s eyes. He arrives on the planet with a distant sense of déjà vu as he discovers a team of three scavengers searching the wreck of the space station for loot apparently worth billions. The trio of Jasmine (Kathryn Drysdale), Cooke (Arthur “Rory” Darvill, oddly enough) and Joshi (Mina Anwar) are actually quite fun to listen to, which is a credit to the writer given we have so little time with them. They soon begin to get possessed by The Network, free from its android body, until The Doctor stops it with a combination of technobabble and his sonic screwdriver. He did name drop the Kotturuh as an example of stopping death with more death not being a good idea, then heads off in his TARDIS. There he hears a warning message his Eighth self left to people telling them not to go to the planet, leaving this Doctor to lament how he’s about to send his past self through hell in the Dark Times just before going through the lonely hell that was the Time War. It was a great moment as The Doctor apologised to his past self for all he’s about to go through, saying “you’ll understand… one day.” Good stuff.

The Bad:

I’m surprised they used Arthur Darvill on the cover given the whole Rory thing. A voice is one thing, but…

My main complaint is a regular one for these 20-odd minute single parters: it’s just too short to tell an effective story unless you’re really really good. Both of these halves had their moments but go by too fast for you to get invested…

Also, this was compared to Flip-Flop during the run up to production, making it a loop where you could listen to either part first and it would make sense, and while that’s technically true it’s not done half as well and therefore that aspect came across as a bit of a let-down as well…

The Continuity:

This is part of the Time Lord Victorious story strand and actually takes place at the beginning for the Eighth Doctor, he states here that he’s searching for one of the “700 Wonders of the Universe” as he is still doing at the start of “He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not”, where his run into the story strand begins proper. It’s the opposite for the Tenth, he makes remarks about how he dealt with the Kotturuh and his past selves coming to his rescue / stop him in “All Flesh in Grass”, meaning this is actually his last stop in the TLV story.

Overall Thoughts:

“Echoes of Extinction” has its moments, and does work well as a final, reflective story seen through the eyes of a Doctor who nearly went to the darkside. Sadly its length, or lack thereof, means the story lacks much punch and the extra characters comes across as quite bland, as well acted as they are. Much like the rest of “Time Lord Victorious” this story is perfectly fine, but just lacking that something to make it special…

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