Look out! This months installment from the Big Finish universe is sharp!
Paper Cuts is here and so are some old faces from the 70â€™s, but after the events of Patient Zero the only missing element is Charley Pollard herself. Will the Doctor figure out that there is a doppelganger in his mist? Or will he be to distract by old friends and adventure to realize that something is amiss?
Doctor Who, like many sci fi shows and films, has had many recurring characters and alien races, but sometimes some of those aliens earn the mantel of “one hit wonder”. This isnâ€™t a fair description of some of these races though – many of them would have been very welcome to return but sadly they never got the chance to grace our TV screens again.
Big Finish have fought the corner for many of these rarely-seen alien races – but given the returning alien civilization in Paper Cuts, you have to wonder why has it taken so long? Ten years after Big Finish started making audio adventures, the Draconians have finally returned Doctor Who.
Not only do these fans favorites make it back into the fold, but they do so with style – Japanese in fact. Which, as it turns out, is a very fitting culture for them. Sure there were always tones of this in their one TV outing but now we get to see how they live their lives. We also get a good example of how some of the best science fiction stories can find ways of showing us things from our own world in an interesting way that makes you be able to relate to the alien nature of the story very quickly.
With the return of the Draconians, we also get more back-story into the Doctorâ€™s title of a Nobleman of the Draconian Empire. Writer Marc Platt handles this very well, without ever spelling out which version of the Doctor actually met the Emperor of the era in the first place. We do get a tale that is connected to the events of that time in the Doctorâ€™s life, and it really does unfold before your eyes very nicely.
One other thing that unfolds quite nicely are the origami chess pieces, if you will. A very dangerous group of playing pieces made of paper. Brilliantly realized and used throughout the story. So well realized that they could have easily been on TV, albeit as a CGI creation…
Moving on to a area that should not be sidestepped, is the Mila/Charley character. Mila, having taken over Charleyâ€™s life in Patient Zero, is a bit confused. She is enjoying her time in a physical form, but is not the best at hiding he new found life. If the Doctor werenâ€™t so distracted by the matter at hand he might just notice that his friend is in grave danger somewhere. As it is Mila has him convinced that Charley has indeed lost her memory of her past life, when in fact it is Mila herself who is lost in uncertainty as to her true identity.
Could Mila have become Charley, with both her character and her looks? Itâ€™s hard to tell sometimes that Charley is missing in action. You do get a sense that this will become an issue for Mila as she lives Charleyâ€™s life and becomes curious about her own. Could Mila become her own end to herself or will the Doctor suss that she is not all that she seems to be? The next installment of this trilogy should hold the answer to that.
Until then, sit back, relax and engulf yourself in the Draconian culture that Paper Cuts brings to the table.
Paper Cuts is released this month and is available from BigFinish.com, priced Â£14.99!
Photo coutesy Alex Mallinson