Big Finish Review – Doctor Who – Main Range 184 – “Scavenger”


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Synopsis

Thursday 28 May 2071: the day the Anglo-Indian Salvage 2 rocket launches. Its mission: to clean up space; to remove from Earth’s orbit over a century’s worth of man-made junk…

From the viewing window of a nearby space station, the Doctor and Flip have a unique view of Salvage 2 as it sets about its essential task – and of the disaster that unfolds when Salvage 2 encounters something it’s not been programmed to deal with. Something not of human manufacture…

Back on Earth, the Doctor fights to save Flip from becoming part of a 500-year tragedy being played out in orbit, hundreds of miles above. And millions will die if he fails.

Written By: William Gallagher
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Cast

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson), Anjli Mohindra (Jyoti Cutler), Tariq Bhatti (Salim), Kate McEwen (Jessica Allaway), Tania Rodrigues (Anarkali/Melissa/Isra Tech #2), John Banks (Commander Gabbard/Scavenger/Isra Tech #1/Security Guy)

Scavenger” is a very interesting story. It’s got a nice bit of hard sci-fi feel to it, addressing a real-world problem (space junk), that’s only going to get worse as time goes on. It also adds in an alien probe, a Captain Jack-style immortal, and a great deal of Indian accents, which is kind of lovely. There’s a very large population of Indians and Pakistanis in the UK, and it’s good when Big Finish features them.

There was much that I enjoyed here. The overall plot is very good. We have the Brits vs the Indians in space, both vying to clean up low-orbit, and then an alien probe shows up that starts harshing everyone’s buzz, trying to absorb people and parts into itself. The supporting characters, especially Jyotti (played by Anjli Mohindra, best known as Rani in The Sarah Jane Adventures), and Salim. Jessica, the British former tennis star (oddly), who acts in an adversarial role. And she really is just an adversary, not an evil bad guy character. She’s not nice, by any means, but she’s not totally evil, which is a good change of pace. Much as I enjoy Doctor Who, the show’s villains especially do tend to be rather two-dimensional in nature, even with Big Finish.

If I had to complain about this at all, it would be in the nature of the ending. It ended with a fairly annoying cliffhanger that didn’t really make any sense. From what I can tell, one of the characters basically decides to commit suicide because reasons. The outcome of that is the cliffhanger. I don’t mind cliffhangers in general, but this one seemed forced, and as I said, made no sense. Add to that the fact that it will probably be a year or two before we have a resolution.

But those are minor complaints. This was a good, solid story, and I very much enjoyed it and recommend it.

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