Kieran Brennan takes on the Eighth Doctor’s next adventure: Something Inside…
The Doctor is stuck with amnesia in the mysterious cube. Separated from Charley and C’rizz, our heroes must figure out how to escape this prison before the other prisoners get to them…
Something Inside is yet another storyline from the scrapped Divergent Universe arc that has found itself being retrofitted to exist outside the confines of that arc, but isn’t able to pull it off well at all. While this story may work for a listener who is jumping into Big Finish for the first time, it’s incredibly grating if you’ve been listening to all of the Eighth Doctor’s stories up until this point. It leans hard on what are the two big big tropes of this era of the Eighth Doctors stories.
The TARDIS is missing, AGAIN, and the Doctor is suffering with memory loss AGAIN. It’s baffling to imagine how these ideas keep getting repeated over and over; it makes the whole set of stories so obvious for trying to awkwardly recreate the conditions of the Divergent Universe, but without doing it in a subtle or natural way at all. I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been at the time as it had been a year and a half since the arc had ended.
The whole effort feels quite tiring. We’ve reached the tail end of the Eighth Doctor’s monthly adventures with only three left. Even saying that, after the next release the Eighth Doctor was given his own range as a reboot as he clearly needed it. I’m sure that range is gonna be super fun when we get there eventually, but right now it’s tough being in the time where it’s clear something needs to change. Maybe it’s the over-reliance on stories trying to be high concept ,or maybe this TARDIS team has just outstayed its welcome; whichever it is, it all feels stale.
Honestly, the whole situation can be compared to how C’rizz is used in these stories. Both have moments of promise but ultimately end up recycle the same few ideas over and over again. Cue C’rizz being tortured in some way, cue C’rizz making a vague threat alluding to his dark backstory that becomes less impactful every time he does it.
I really am sorry for repeating myself in these reviews by the way, trust me it’s as fun to write the same complaints over and over as it must be to read them. The bright side is that this only happens once more with Memory Lane, probably the only story that manages to escape the problems Something Inside, Time Works and Scaredy Cat fell into. But more on that next time. I also don’t mean to sound overly harsh on these stories at all, I just remember how excited this range has made me and it makes these weaker stories stick out all the worse, especially when they’re all placed so close together.
Oh, I should probably talk about the actual contents of the story before I wrap this up. Something Inside heavily features the use of telepaths: something I’ve always felt is a bit too magical for Doctor Who (personally I don’t like when magic is blended with sci-fi, even its hand waved away by claiming it comes from a scientific place as it is here). That said, it does create some interesting dynamics and conflicts, including a decently tense final part that, unfortunately takes too much effort to come along. Also there’s a really odd music choice that repeats throughout. in any other release I’d be more open towards it but it just doesn’t suit the tone the story is going for at all.
A generic story more so let down by its placement and events outside the story itself than by the writing or performances, Something Inside has a handful of interesting ideas but you’ve no doubt heard them done better in other stories before now.
Something Inside is available as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com