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TDAs - Cold Vengeance

And now we come to last story in series 2 of the Tenth Doctor Adventures, "Cold Vengeance".


Teal deer: It was all right, probably on a par with "Infamy of the Zaross". Not memorable and a bit rough in parts, but okay.

As I'm thinking about it, I'm not quite clear on all of the events in this story, so I'm not going to recount the whole plot. It all takes place on a satellite called Coldstar, which is frozen storage for food for the planet below, called Enyo. It's owned by a corporation, also called Coldstar, which is important to the story in some way that I was not quite able to make out. At the time that the Doctor lands on Coldstar, two pirates, Brona and her son Callum, have landed, sabotaging the refrigeration and demanding some expensive foods that they can sell, in exchange for repairing the refrigeration and saving the rest of the food from spoiling. Also at this point, the recycling scow docks at the satellite and the pilot, Lorna, comes in in the middle of this and is taken hostage by the pirates. Meanwhile, down in the cold storage, the Doctor discovers that the melting ice has released some Ice Warriors, who have been frozen in the ice for centuries.

The Ice Warrior lord Hasskor decides that he wants revenge on the humans of Enyo, with whom the Ice Warriors had been at war with when he'd been frozen, and so he takes over the satellite and sends it plummeting toward the capital city. From there, with the usual separation of character that occurs in DW stories, quite a bit of chaos ensues. Long story short, the Doctor is unable to convince Hasskor that he shouldn't throw his and his warriors' lives away, that revenge is not worth it, etc. Then Lorna tells them that the Ice Warriors were not eradicated during the war, that they live on Enyo, albeit rather secretly. The TARDIS databanks tell the story of the war: the humans developed a planet-killing weapon and used it on the Ice Warriors' planet. Then they felt bad about it and, as quietly as possible, took the survivors and secreted them to the ghettos, where they still live. She knows about them because she's a recycling collector and had seen these people in the ghettos and had noticed that they seemed odd. Thus, she points out that Hasskor would have killed his own people if his plan had succeeded. The Doctor then offers to take Hasskor to his people, and Hasskor instead commits suicide, and the Doctor says something pithy about "when you live with revenge for too long, that's all that's left".

I definitely liked that this storyline was not straightforward and that there were times when you had no idea how the Doctor was going to save the situation this time. However, he never did save the situation. For most of the story, he was Hasskor's prisoner, and he did manage to turn the satellite away from its trajectory toward the planet and point it instead toward the sun (to force Hasskor to relent or to die for no purpose), but the rest of the time he simply repeatedly told Hasskor that revenge isn't worth it and look how many people are going to die, you can't do that. The final resolution, Lorna's revelation about the Ice Warriors, had a deus ex machina feel to it, as it came completely out of nowhere and tied everything up with a neat bow.

Rose got a much better deal in this story than she did in "Sword of the Chevalier". She gets separated from the Doctor with Callum and Lorna, and keeps their spirits up and gets them off the plummeting satellite, utilizing Callum's knowledge of his own pirate ship and Lorna's piloting skills. This is, of course, what she does best, being the cheerleader and telling everyone to not worry, the Doctor will sort it.

The story did try hard to weave in the side story of the pirate woman, the brash Brona, and her son Callum, an insecure coward, but so little attention was paid to them that their shining moment felt more like a setup for Brona to sacrifice her life for everyone else. Basically, there's a bit of tension between them at the very beginning of the audio, then they get separated. They don't get to interact again. Then, Rose's group gets ambushed and Callum holds the Ice Warriors long enough for Rose and Lorna to get away and is killed. When Brona asks Rose, over the intercom, what happened, Rose tells her that he was brave and resourceful, and Brona says that's not my son at all. The Doctor tells Rose to be truthful, and the second time, she admits that no, he was scared and useless, but he tried his best and through it all, just wanted to see his mother one more time. Brona's satisfied with this and it gives her the impetus to sacrifice herself in an attack on Hasskor's second-in-command to help the Doctor get the upper hand.

I think, honestly, one of the biggest problems with this audio, and the two before it, is the format. These stories have the modern DW TV format of one hour, rather than the two-hour format with cliffhanger at the one-hour mark that the classic audios have (similar to the classic TV show format). This gives the writer very little time to develop the guest characters AND the antagonist AND the plot. Obviously it can be done - after all, "Death and the Queen" demonstrated that a one-hour audio can be excellent - but it's difficult. I'd say it's even harder to do in audio than on TV, because audios have no visuals which can contribute to the story.

One last thing that tainted my enjoyment of the audio was the Ice Warrior voices. They were done by Nicholas Briggs, and normally I love his performances, but both Ice Warriors, Hasskor and his second-in-command Slaan, hissed their lines ve-e-e-ry slo-o-o-o-wly, and it completely threw me out of immersion. Slaan had no vocal cords at all, just h-h-h-h-h-h-h. It was overdone and ruined a lot of scenes for me. (I've had this problem before. "Spare Parts" is considered one of the best BF audios ever and the definitive Cyberman origin story, but the Cyberman voices were so overdone, I couldn't follow the plot at all.)

And that's the TDAs, series 2. I do wish they'd make them more frequently, instead of one set of three stories every other year, but that would require DT having any time in his schedule to record them. I much prefer him being ever in demand and always as employed as he wants to be, so I'm fine with this.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tkel_paris
Dec. 11th, 2017 09:30 pm (UTC)
So... Not a very strong story? Or a series?

I'm stopped on "The Resurrection of Mars" in the Eighth Doctor's audios. It includes the Ice Warriors, and I admit their voices are... not easy to listen to. But I evidently need to be listening to it while not driving. It hit a hard instance, and I've got no clue how the Doctor will get them out of it. Or whether he did something with horrendous consequences later on. Or if a character we can't really trust anyway is twisting the truth.

bas_math_girl
Dec. 17th, 2017 07:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for these reviews. I'm still more likely to buy something else from Big Finish but at least it will be with an informed choice.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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