Sweet Salvation Review

The Eighth Doctor is back with Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair, after the events of the Doom Coalition saga. Now, the TARDIS team are facing the Kandyman in Ravenous 1. Today, I’ll be reviewing the final episode in this box set, Sweet Salvation by Matt Fitton.

Synopsis
The Eleven has the authorities in the palm of his hand and an entire world held to ransom when the Kandyman cooks up a deadly confection containing a secret ingredient. In a last-ditch attempt to prevent disaster Liv teams up with a desperate criminal, and the Doctor must decide whether Helen is still his friend.

Review
Here we are then, the end of Ravenous 1. It’s been a fun ride, hasn’t it? It seems like an age ago I reviewed Their Finest Hour, yet, at the same time, it feels as if it was only 6 days ago. Anyway, let’s see how this box set wraps up, shall we?

The Eleven has the run of the asylum, and luckily for him, he has quite a skillset through his various regenerations. A literal Swiss Amy Man. It seems as if the Eleven and the Kandyman have been employed to revolutionise the planet below Rykerzon. This can only end well…

After the titles, we’re back with the Doctor, Liv, Helen and the prison gang, and it seems that there’s more to Helen than meets the eye, and the Doctor can’t quite put his finger on it. It’s really interesting to develop the relationship between the Doctor and Helen. He’s incredibly suspicious of her, and for him to have to care about one of his companions, albeit whilst emotionally distancing himself, is a great narrative thread.

Big Finish, and Doctor Who in general, has the great honour of making the mundane absolutely terrifying. Statues, knocking, a crack in a wall, to name but a few. Yet, there’s something that the show has used before, and it’s being used again in Sweet Salvation: spiders.

Spiders are bloody terrifying enough as they are. Let alone when they can do… that.
Thanks for the nightmares, Mr. Fitton.

The second act of the story sinks a little bit, in my opinion, although it’s good to hear Liv take charge of a prisoner who’s attempting to keep her hostage.

At the beginning of the third act, the Eleven comes back to the fore, and Bonnar does an exemplary job portraying this Time Lord (or Time Lords) once again. His vocal work is some of the best I’ve ever heard, and his brutal honesty in front of the Doctor and Helen is so unnerving.

The relationship between the Doctor and the Eleven really flourishes when it comes to the fore how the Eleven and Helen are seemingly intrinsically linked. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the Eleven is one of the best Time Lords ever to appear in the Whoniverse. I have to admit, I’m looking forward to hearing the Twelve in the Eighth Doctor’s second Time War box set later this year.

Liv confronting the Kandyman is a brilliant scene, he might be a malevolent sugary villain, but Liv Chenka is the perfect person to face him. A sweet scientist against a companion with a sour taste in her mouth. It’s just a shame that the scene wasn’t longer, and the resolution wasn’t something a bit more dramatic.

Near the end of Sweet Salvation, we get a better understanding as to what the titular Ravenous is, although it’s still incredibly uncertain as to what role Ravenous will play in the upcoming box sets. All we do know is, that you should be afraid.

Overall, Sweet Salvation managed to tie up a lot of loose ends, seemingly foreshadow events that are due to come to fruition in the future, and test our main TARDIS trio. The Doctor and Helen’s relationship, although seemingly fixed, still feels somewhat different from before, and I hope that the events of World of Damnation and Sweet Salvation aren’t forgotten within Ravenous 2.

Whilst I haven’t rated this story as highly as the previous three, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. In my opinion, the second act lulled a bit, and  some narrative threads were seemingly solved too easily or too quickly, meaning the payoffs didn’t feel as justified as I’d have liked. The performances, as always were stellar, and Mark Bonnar deserves unimaginable amounts of praise for his performance, especially in this story. I just hope that this isn’t the last we hear of the Eleven…

Rating

79%

Should you want to purchase Ravenous 1, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.

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