It’s the beginning of the end, as Kieran Brennan takes on the penultimate Eighth Doctor Monthly Adventure: Absolution!
Time is up for C’rizz. His secrets come to the forefront as his past actions and secretive nature put his friends in danger. The time of C’rizz has come, and with it could be the end of everything as we know it.
As we approach the end of the Eighth Doctor’s Monthly Adventures run, it’s a nice idea to have a story that finally promises to deliver the answers to the mysteries set up around C’rizz. Since his appearance way back in The Creed of the Kromon, C’rizz has always been dropping hints of a dark backstory, but unfortunately it seems Absolution is the perfect example of everything wrong with the treatment of C’rizz as a character.
It’s been difficult to really talk about C’rizz in these reviews, as usually his moments are small and inconsequential, always feeling as though they were building to something, but I suppose the issue comes in the fact that maybe they didn’t ever really feel like they were building to anything. Somewhere in the tail end of the Divergent Universe storyline, it began to become clear that there was no real plan set in place for C’rizz. Yes, The Next Life tried to answer some of the questions around him but the next few adventures continued to attempt to build up a mystery around him. I say attempt because in my opinion, they failed.
I think in nearly every release he’s featured in there is a moment that tries to make him seem dark and scary, but a mixture of poor writing and a performance that doesn’t really suit dark and scary prevented these ideas from ever really landing. Because of this Absolution feels less like a grand finale to his arc, and more like an obligation. A “we want to move on to more Lucie Miller adventures so I guess we have to at least TRY and wrap this up”. There’s no real passion behind this story, no satisfying moment of “so THIS us where it’s all been leading”. In honesty I still feel as in the dark about C’rizz as I did ten stories ago.
Do you remember the series finales during the Eleventh Doctor’s run? The way they’d try to tie up loose ends but would more often than not raise more questions that would promise to be answered soon. Absolution feels a bit like that, but this is it. This is the ending. Maybe it wouldn’t sting as bad if the actual plot around it was interesting, instead it just kind of trudges along for its runtime, rarely leaving an impact at all. It’s hard to put into words just how disappointing the whole affair is, it’s not even a horrendous story, just an unbearably dull one.
Though, to take a moment to briefly look on the brightside, the performances are excellent all round. Especially in the closing three or four minutes. In a weird way I feel they justify the previous two hours of story as a single scene unveils more about the true, uncomfortable, nature of the Eight Doctor than perhaps any other story he’s featured in so far. It’s incredibly well written and acted and sets up the next story, the final story for this TARDIS team, perfectly.
While not an absolute mess, Absolution fails to take advantage of the set up of previous adventures or bring any of its lingering plot threads to a satisfying conclusion. While its final moments almost justify the price, I can only truly recommend it if you’re invested in these characters and have a determination to see them out.
Absolution is available as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com