Big Finish has decided to change up the way they deliver the Companion Chronicles range; by releasing box sets focussing on the earliest Doctors. This week, Big Finish brought out a box set comprising of four stories from the Second Doctor’s era. Today, we review the final story of four, The Edge!
The Edge is the galaxy’s scientific hub of experimentation, theoretical breakthroughs and invention – just the sort of place to interest the Doctor and Zoe. However, a secret lies hidden in The Edge laboratories. Jamie instinctively knows that something is wrong, and it doesn’t take long for him to be proved right….
We’re back with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe for the final time in this box set, and it starts with a little lesson about how certain aspects of the TARDIS works; no complaints from me, I love it when we join mid-conversation, because, in my opinion at least, it gives a sense that something interesting is always happening, and we’re just fortunate enough to join in at certain aspects.
Once the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe land the TARDIS, they find themselves in a corridor (Jamie’s slight annoyance that they’re in a corridor again is particularly amusing) and the Doctor wonders if the TARDIS has a corridor setting. I love it when Doctor Who can poke fun at itself.
It’s not long before we learn that the destination of this adventure is a place known as The Edge, a hub for knowledge and pushing the boundaries of learning and understanding; a place that, like the synopsis says, sounds like the ideal place for the Doctor and Zoe.
Considering that Jamie is the narrator once again, I love the description of the technical jargon from an ancient Scot; as everything is much more alien to him. Likewise, his description of space outside The Edge, when they’re looking at a nebula, is particularly poetic.
One thing that I’ve noticed in both The Integral and in The Edge is just how morally driven Zoe is, a character trait that I rather like in the character.
I have to say that in this story, I felt slightly sorry for Jamie, as the Doctor and Zoe went off to explore more of The Edge facility and they left Jamie alone in the cafe; he didn’t even have a TARDIS key, so he truly was stuck. Jamie, of course, began to explore The Edge whilst it was quiet, and discovered a truth that was supposed to be kept hidden.
The cliffhanger of the first episode of The Edge is rather literally a cliffhanger too, which made me think of Dragonfire featuring the Seventh Doctor.
The opening of the second episode of The Edge was extremely poetic, and arguably the most poetic that Big Finish has been in a while; Frazer Hines’ performance is absolutely faultless, as it has been in the past three stories in this box set. I know I talk a lot about the Broadway show ‘Hamilton’, but the opening chapter of the second episode reminded me of Hamilton’s monologue in ‘The World Was Wide Enough’ (Hamilton listeners will know what I’m talking about). There’s even a callback to the events of The Mouthless Dead which I thought was a nice touch.
Curtis, a character who I am purposefully refraining from talking too much about, is a really interesting and well played character; excellently realised by Robert Whitelock. Even though he’s the only accompanying actor in this story, he really is used brilliantly, and rivals Frazer Hines’ performance.
The second episode of The Edge feels a lot more like a James Bond film, especially Moonraker, than it does Doctor Who. Whilst I know some people won’t like that comparison, I think that having a James Bond-esque story is really refreshing and somewhat different, which is what Doctor Who is all about.
Rob Nisbet, the writer of The Edge, is a new addition to the Big Finish team; and boy what a great addition he is. I know that it’s a common trait that every Doctor should have a speech that defines their tenure on the show (in fact I wrote articles about it which can be found here and here) but I think Rob has managed to finally give Jamie his defining speech, and it’s beautiful.
Personally, I feel like the concept behind The Edge, including its setting and tone, is very much what I imagine The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit to have been like, if it had been commissioned in the late 1960s; that for me is a good thing, as I love that Tenth Doctor two-parter, and it’s interesting to note the similarities and differences, but, if you weren’t a fan, I’m not sure if this story would be for you. Which is a shame, because The Edge really is a cracking story.
Should you want to purchase The Second Doctor Volume One, it’s currently available as a four disc box set for £20.00 or as a download from Big Finish for £15.00 which you can purchase here.