Jenny is back, and she’s going out to explore the universe. As someone who’s about a day old, how will she see the cosmos? With wonder, trepidation, or panic? There’s only one way to find out. Today, I’m reviewing the final story in this Jenny box set, Zero Space by Adrian Poynton.
Out in deep space, in the middle of – quite literally – nowhere, Jenny and Noah believe they’ve found a safe haven. And, very possibly, some answers. But the space station holds many secrets, and it won’t be long before Jenny’s past catches her up.
Bounty hunter COLT-5000 is on her trail and will stop at nothing to hunt down its quarry… even in Zero Space!
The story starts with Jenny being somewhat reckless and Noah trying his best to calm her down. It’s quite nice to hear Jenny being erratic and mischievous, as it really highlights just how young she is as a person. No person born a few weeks ago is going to be totally serious. Where would the fun in that be? Obviously, it’s not long before Jenny and Noah get into trouble, as they’re flung into the middle of nowhere. Literally.
Noah quickly learns that they’re in Zero Space, a pocket of the universe that contains quite literally nothing. The mystery thickens though, when, in the middle of the nothing, there’s seemingly a something. (Good title for a release right there, “Seemingly A Something”, Big Finish, you can have that one for free.)
The fact that the story starts at a running pace and then doesn’t really slow down at all really makes this feel like a season finale, even if the stakes aren’t monumentally high. The incredible score and sound design is probably helping add to that effect too.
I love Noah’s reactions to the revelations in Zero Space, especially when he realises that he’s surrounded by clones. The idea that in the middle of Zero Space, there’s a small vessel filled with two scientists that have cloned themselves over and over, constantly building on each other’s knowledge is both amazing and a little eerie. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely, but what would absolute knowledge do to a person?
It’s a shame that the idea of the cloned scientists quickly descend into another story of cat and mouse, with Jenny being especially kickass toward the scientists, making easy work of them and making them a bit of a disposable army.
Adrian Poynton makes a point of making Noah have a real use to this story, with his knack for handling computers, and I’m glad that it feels like Noah really has a purpose instead of just asking questions, being naive and missing the point. His computer geekery, along with Jenny’s Time Lord intellect and badassery make for a really compelling duo.
There’s some great moments of comedy too, one of which involves a bridge, that really makes me love the Whoniverse. You can have lighthearted stories like this set amongst the same universe that has some incredibly dark and twisted tales. Isn’t Doctor Who wonderful?
Once the COLT-5000 makes her appearance we learn a revelation that was really not that shocking if I’m being honest. There’s a lot of themes about identity, belonging, family and heritage, which is really nice to hear, and it’s almost fairytale-esque in it’s message. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, you’re unique and you’re incredible.
There are a few story beats they feel a little bit similar to the ones in Neon Reign, especially with a bit of an uprising, albeit from different angles, but I can’t help but have a sense of deja vu listening to the end of both of these releases. COLT-5000 seems rather underused too; sure, her motivations are clear and understandable, but her arc doesn’t really go anywhere. I wasn’t expecting a redemption, but there wasn’t much change in the character for one way or another.
The conclusion of Zero Space, and, in turn, the box set, is a really nice, happy, and optimistic view of the future, both for Jenny and Noah. There’s a bit of talk about Jenny’s similarities to her dad, (Noah calls her the Doctor’s daughter a few times) and they go off to see the universe with an allons-y. The perfect happy ending.
Overall, Zero Space is a nice end to the box set; it’s fast paced fun, filled with childlike wonder. A brilliant way to end this box set.
Before I sat down to listen to Stolen Goods, I was somewhat sceptical as to whether this box set would work, or was needed at all. I understand that it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but to have a four story release that is filled with optimism, joy and a badass female lead is really great to hear. I also think that Jenny is a perfect place for younger Whovians to delve into the world of Big Finish, especially if they’re a fan of the Tenth Doctor’s era. There’s nothing too dark or depressing, and the stories aren’t too convoluted.
Should any fans ask for a place to start their Big Finish adventure, especially if they’re of the New-Who generation; I may well start pointing them in the direction of this release.
Should you want to purchase Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.