Sunday, 20 September 2015

4th Doctor 3.08 - Zygon Hunt

Zygon’s are perennially popular with Doctor Who fans, it’s a mystery to me why they took nearly 40 years to make a return to TV Doctor Who – a great design, a very well received story and an interesting race.
The last story in the latest series of audio adventures for the Fourth Doctor and Leela sees the Zygons making a comeback and getting a sequel they didn’t get on TV.
The action takes place on the planet Garros, a humid jungle planet where a bunch of arrogant soldiers led by Knight Commander Greg Saraton (played with sneering glee by Michael Maloney) are on a big game hunt, or, in reality, indiscriminately slaughtering the indigenous population for “sport” – but there is something in the jungle, something big and deadly and something that really shouldn’t be there at all…….
Again Big Finish have really cracked it with the atmosphere, the sound design is pure “season 15″, and whilst Who has often “borrowed” from classic Hammer, the first episode of this story reminded me very much of the 1972 Amicus Film “The Beast Must Die” – a lot of characters, the audience knows one if them is a monster in disguise, so do a couple of the protagonists, and it’s almost a race against time to uncover the Zygon.
The tone changes in episode two, it almost, and I stress almost becomes a traditional invasion story but has a strong sense of morality and a positive message that no one is beyond redemption as long as they have an open mind.
Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are as excellent as ever as are the guest cast, especially Gillian Kearney as Mina Challis – a character with genuine depth. The story finishes with a wonderful soliloquy by Tom Baker which rounds the season off quite nicely and leaves us wanting more.
After last months cerebral tour de force that was “The Abandoned”, this release is a lot more grounded and traditional. The Doctor and Leela arrive in the middle of a situation, get involved and help to resolve it. Traditional with a beginning, a middle and an end, tightly plotted and well acted and as good as this is, it may be just a little predictable – not that this is a bad thing but I tried to second guess it and got it completely wrong expecting plot twists and tangents that were not there, proof that sometimes over thinking and over complicating are not necessary when the story zips along like this one does.
Overall, I suggest that this is well worth hunting down 7.5/10