Continuing on from last months The Paradox Planet, Legacy of Death promises to answer some of the questions that we were left with; but will the answers be good enough to leave a legacy or will they be left to die?
The Doctor, Romana and K9 have found themselves trapped in a temporal war. On Aoris, the past battles the future – and the future fights back!
With both sides of the war now capable of time travel, the conflict is about to enter a deadly stage. As the pieces of history lock into place, there is little the Doctor can do.
With more Time Tanks moving into combat, the endgame is approaching. The people of Aoris risk extinction at their own hand.
Can even the Doctor save the same planet twice in the same day?
I always think that there’s a list of pros and cons when it comes to having two-part releases like this; on one hand, you get a richer, deeper story like you do with the Doctor Who Monthly Range from Big Finish, on the other hand though, if you don’t re-listen to the first release, listening to the second a month later can be somewhat jarring and you spend most of your time trying to catch up. It really is a double edged sword; but let’s see how Legacy of Death stacks up.
The story kicks off with K-9 running out of power and the Fourth Doctor trying to keep him out of one of the warring factions hands. With the Doctor in the past and Romana in the future, it’s really up to K-9 to be the link, not only between the Doctor and his companion, but the link between the two time zones for the listener too; which I think is a really interesting narrative device.
One of the most interesting points of a story like this, set in the middle of a war zone, is seeing how the Doctor reacts to the violence and the bloodshed. There are casualties in this war that the Doctor witnesses, and his reaction is very reserved and comes across that he’s disappointed more than anything. I think with a Doctor like the Fourth, who is normally such a large presence in any scenario, having him be much more reserved when he’s witnessed something that goes against what he morally believes in is one of the most impactful ways to show how he’s feeling.
As comical as most of Legacy of Death is, there are some very distinctive dark moments peppered throughout, which really highlights just how futile war can be; if you thought that The Peterloo Massacre was slightly too dark to let your young ones to listen to, but you want them to get a message about the futility of war, I’d recommend you let them listen to both The Paradox Planet and Legacy of Death.
The first episode closes with the Doctor, Romana and K-9 finally being reunited and going back to the past to try and rectify this war that they’re seemingly caught up in, but as you can expect, all is not well…
The second episode opens with a lot of technobabble between the Doctor and Romana trying to formulate a plan to help stabilise the hostile situation that’s going on. I have to admit I have a soft spot for the technobabble that was rife during the Fourth Doctor’s era; it really made the viewer, or in this case, the listener, feel somewhat inferior to the Doctor; and isn’t that why we like the Time Lord? Because he’s intellectually superior to you?
In my opinion, there are a few exposition scenes in the second episode of Legacy of Death that feel just a fraction too long; I understand that there are limitations on audio for conveying information, but I can’t help but think that they could have been slightly trimmed down and let the listener come to a few of their own conclusions.
Legacy of Death may well be the best use of K-9 as a character in a long time; he’s not simply there for the dry, unintentional humour that he’s famous for, or just blowing things up, but narratively he’s possibly the most important character in the entire story; if it wasn’t for K-9, chances are that the Doctor and Romana would both be trapped in different eras of the war.
The conclusion of Legacy of Death is somewhat bittersweet; there’s a character who seeks redemption and one who meets a less cheery end; the Doctor, Romana and K-9 are all united once more and they have their TARDIS, everything wraps up about as well as it could.
Overall, Jonathan Morris has somehow managed to write a story that feels like a perfect blend of Douglas Adams’ infamous mixture of silliness and science and the timey-wimeyness of Steven Moffat’s tenure on the show, add to that the brilliantly enigmatic and booming voice of Tom Baker and no matter what, you’ve got yourself a hit.
The rating system on the GallifreyArchive is achieved on a scale of 1-10.
For Legacy of Death, I will give a rating of:
Should you want to purchase Legacy of Death, it’s currently available physically for £10.99 and as a download for just £8.99, which you can purchase by clicking here!