Human Resources- Part 2 Review

This year, before we get Series 11, I’m going back in time thanks to Big Finish, to review the Eighth Doctor Adventures, following the story of (unsurprisingly) the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller.  Today, I’ll be reviewing Human Resources- Part 2, the finale to Series One of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, by Eddie Robson.

Synopsis
Business as usual? Not at Hulbert Logistics, where staff are facing a menace far worse than the prospect of the office Christmas party. Lucie’s made some new friends and the Doctor’s met some old enemies. But just who will become the Headhunter’s new apprentice? Welcome to the job interview from hell.

Review
If the cover doesn’t give it away, the Cybermen are back to face off against the Eighth Doctor. As you can imagine, the Doctor isn’t too happy about that, especially when it turns out that he allowed them to invade the offices of Hulbert Logistics at the end of Human Resources- Part 1.

Part 2 doesn’t wait at all to reintroduce you to the Cybermen either, and I’ll be honest, whilst Briggs does do a stellar job as always as portraying the Cybermen, at times it’s incredibly difficult to understand what’s being said; especially when you’re thrown in at the deep end in regards to hearing the Cybervoices.

It’s not too long before the Headhunter has managed to track down Lucie and Karen, and she’s intending to keep Karen hostage in order to get Lucie to comply. I love how the Headhunter is portrayed to be so cold and calculated; it could have been possible just to attempt to kidnap Lucie, but it was more probable that Lucie would agree to go with the Headhunter to save Karen.

There’s a scene where the Cybermen, for some reason, decide to call one of the managers, Jerry Cooper, to inform him that they’ve taken over. It’s such a surreal thought that a Cyberman would pick up the phone, somehow dial the number with their cyberfingers and then have a conversation over the phone. Of course, Jerry doesn’t believe it, and it’s a great little comedic scene. I just hope it has some implications, otherwise it seems fairly pointless.

The Doctor and the Cybermen gets a brilliant little scene together, where the Doctor questions exactly what the motivations of the Cybermen are. Little scenes like this are what makes Paul McGann my favourite Doctor if I’m honest; he doesn’t always need great monologues of grandeur, he can have a conversation with death, who’s staring at him from three paces away, and attempt to make them realise the error of their ways. In a way, it’s even more tragic when you realise what hell the Eighth Doctor will go through at the end of his incarnation. Hindsight, eh?

I love the fact that desperate times call for desperate measures, and it results in Lucie and the Headhunter having to work together; and the relationship between the two is absolutely brilliant. Considering the Headhunter has been extremely headstrong throughout the series, it’s great to hear her being somewhat cowardly, and having Lucie rally the troops.

Once the Doctor, Lucie (and by extension, the Headhunter) are reunited, they quickly learn that there’s something extremely special just lying around, a Quantum Crystalliser. A Quantum Crystalliser is able to essentially fracture timelines into many different outcomes, and then allows the user to pick the most favourable one. What a brilliant Doctor Who maguffin.

It’s not long before the Doctor is reunited with Straxus, and they have a great scene together, sparring off of one another in regards to their use of the Quantum Crystalliser and why Lucie was essentially dumped on the Doctor as part of the witness protection scheme the Time Lords put her on.

The truth behind Lucie’s circumstances is revealed too, and I’ll try and skirt around it so it’s not spoiled for you; but what I will say is, it’s utterly heartbreaking. I know I’ve said it time and time again in my reviews of this series, but Sheridan Smith absolutely kills it once again with her portrayal of Lucie Miller. Hearing the sarcastic and quippy Lucie Bleeding Miller seemingly reduced to tears in fear and outrage is so jarring and moving, and Sheridan truly gives it her all.

There’s a revelation at the start of the third act that seemingly changes everything you thought you know about the dynamic between the Doctor and Lucie. I love the great art of misdirection, misinformation, and misinterpretation; and Eddie Robson’s script manages to do all three.

If there’s one thing that isn’t perfect in this story, it’s how the ending is handled; considering this is a two part story, essentially meaning it’s round about two hours, it seems as if it suffers from what’s previously been referred to as Power of Three Syndrome, where there’s seemingly not enough time for a truly satisfactory ending to the action.

The conclusion of Human Resources- Part 2 is incredibly poignant though, with the Doctor giving the option to drop Lucie off home finally, and Lucie politely declining the offer. Let’s be honest, you couldn’t say no to more adventures in the TARDIS could you?

Overall, Human Resources- Part 2 was a great end, not only to the Human Resources storyline, but to the first series of Eighth Doctor Adventures as a whole. The chemistry between Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith is through the roof, and that permeates through to their performances as the Doctor and Lucie. If this is how they are after just one series, I can’t wait to hear them develop further down the line.

Rating

94%

Should you want to purchase Human Resources- Part 2, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £8.99 for the download, or £10.99 for the CD.

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