Doctor Who: Earth Aid Review

We mercifully reach the end of the Seventh Doctor Lost Stories, and sadly the Lost Stories as a whole (for now anyway!) Earth Aid was actually supposed to kick of Season 27 but it was instead reversed around to end it here, which meant Raine Creevy had to be written into it, so… it was an odd decision. Then again you can say that about the whole Lost Season to be honest, I still refused to believe it would’ve been like this had the series been renewed in 1990! ANYWAY, Earth Aid… Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Welcome aboard the Space Vessel Vancouver. Its mission: to guard a vast shipment of grain from Earth to the planet Safenesthome.

Its Captain is called Ace. She seems a little unsure of herself. In fact, some might almost think she was new to the job…

Its medical officer is called simply “the Doctor”, and he’s perhaps not all he seems.

When mysterious ships target the Vancouver, Ace and the Doctor are pushed to the limit. Meanwhile, there’s something nasty in the grain containers. And it’s not very happy….

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

I do like the traditional, almost Star Trek-y atmosphere that this story has, with Ace being snuck in as a Captain by The Doctor’s meddling, but she has no idea what she’s doing. The Doctor managed to make himself the ship’s… well, Doctor, and there we go, The Doctor and Ace in the middle of a classic space ship sci-fi setting. The Earth Aid ship they were escorting (or did they just come across it? Can’t remember…) doesn’t respond so a boarding party is sent, and sure enough there is only one survivor, a man named Victor (Paterson Joseph) and he’s pretty traumatised as to what he saw. It’s a good set up, and as The Doctor and classic by-the-books soldier Lt. Baraki (Ingrid Oliver) head to the cargo hold while Ace heads back to the main ship after a potential hostile is spotted I was really enjoying myself and wondered why I didn’t remember it being very good… Then the rest of the story happened…

The Bad:

The Doctor finds an old-fashioned safe in a container and inside is Raine, who then accompanies him for the rest of the story. She was put in a safe and left in the far future in order to lure The Doctor into a trap, but the people who laid the trap were captured as well, those people being… *sigh*, the Metatraxi again. They don’t have the beachbum surfer accents anymore (thank God) but they do act like Saturday morning cartoon villains, declaring everyone who sees them will “regret this” and threatening death etc. It gets old fast. Very fast. The Doctor and Raine head to a large grain silo and find the creatures responsible are large and unpleasant looking things called Grubs, and they’re also responsible for the vanishing crew. They haven’t killed them, just stuck them to the wall with their goo… Yes, they’re also entirely played entirely for laughs, and all the well-built tension from the start of the story is long, long gone. They end up arriving at the Metatraxi homeworld and find the planet itself is sentient, and that it was once home to the Grubs until they ate the planet dry. The planet created the Metatraxi in order to get rid of the Grubs, but now she/he/it wants both races to live in harmony on… erm, it. So of course the Metatraxi does a whole “oooo Mummmm!” teenager bit and man… What a duff ending. A few slightly interesting things, like Ace’s ship sort-of battling a Metatraxi ship and The Doctor being tormented by the idea of his selfish actions are completely and totally lost in the poorly written “comedy”.

The Continuity:

I mean, it’s fine. I’m a bit fed up of light green photoshop filter at this point though…

The Doctor has met a sentient planet before in the Sixth Doctor audio story “The Crimes of Thomas Brewster”. He’ll much later end up communicating with a sentient universe in the Thirteenth Doctor story “It Takes Your Away”.

Apart from that it’s all Lost Season 27 stories, specifically the Metatraxi and their rivalry with The Doctor coming from “Crime of the Century”, and Raine not being with The Doctor or Ace at the start of the story being explained in the previous one, “Animal”.

Overall Thoughts:

Earth Aid starts off so well, then drops off a cliff. I said something similar about Animal, but that wasn’t nearly as steep a drop as this… Man-o-man, what on Earth happened? It built up the tension so well and then just descended into nothing but a really unfunny aliens showcase. If this came on after Survival it would’ve been like heaven and Earth in terms of content, clever writing and tone. Just as I remembered, as a whole I’d avoid the Seventh Doctor Lost Stories completely…

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