Ah, the middle of a Big Finish trilogy of Fifth Doctor stories. The point where the first adventure has already burst on the scene in an extravagant manner and the last in the trilogy is yet to come but sounds amazingly exciting.
The Jupiter Conjunction offers listeners the chance to ride with the Fifth Doctor and his rag tag bunch of travelling companions on the back of a meteorite that’s being used as a cheap transport device as it flies through the depths of space. Shopping precincts and the like have been erected to let passengers spend their hard earned cash as the fly on the back of some hard packed ice. No, it’s not “Dragonfire 2: The Return of Kane” (although strangely, I would watch that) but this story is a very intriguing, slightly political thriller that wraps itself in some established Doctor Who mythology and delivers its own tightly packed story.
What starts off as standard stuff, the TARDIS four are split into two teams with Nyssa and Tegan going for a space walk and encountering trouble whilst the Doctor and Turlough and framed for theft and are also in trouble, soon turns into an interesting story about human greed and necessary sacrifice.
What’s slightly different about this story is that the aliens that we encounter are set up as the villains of the piece but as events unfold they are soon revealed to have been duped into their actions by the far more nefarious scheming humans staying on the comet Eight slash Q Panenka. It’s nice to encounter a race that are not just stone cold evil but are as fallible as the rest of us.
Whilst The Jupiter Conjunction is a standalone story in a loosely linked trilogy of plays for the Fifth Doctor, there is an ongoing Nyssa plot which is quite a rewarding one if you pay attention to it. Not so much for revelations but more for the fact that this is Nyssa after she has left the TARDIS in Terminus, her established continuity only took her that far and it is in this adventure that you start to realise how vulnerable her character really is. There’s no end of story reset for her anymore, no get out clause because we know that she appeared in Snakedance on TV, this is a new Nyssa, after the fact. She’s already left the TARDIS and her friends a long time ago and now absolutely anything could happen to her. It’s a small realisation that hits you towards the end of this story but it’s a credit to Big Finish and their team of writers that this plot point has made the stories that bit more real.
Overall, The Jupiter Conjunction is by no means a revelatory story but it is a solid one. It’s only real downfall is the fact that the name of the story doesn’t exactly make you want to leap out of your chair and race to shop to pick up a copy of it immediately, it’s like naming (Fox TV series) 24 “Government Political Thriller TV Series” and hoping that the rest will sell itself.
Next time Big Finish, can we have some sexier titles please?
The Jupiter Conjunction is available from www.bigfinish.com now.