Big Finish: Doctor Who: Once and Future: Two's Company, Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Big Finish: Doctor Who: Once and Future: Two's Company, Review

"Once and Future: Two's Company," the fourth entry in Big Finish's commemorative series for "Doctor Who's" 60th anniversary, presents a medley of characters that could either be a delightful ensemble or a bewildering mix. This tale sees the Sixth Doctor crossing paths with a variety of familiar faces, including Jackie Tyler, Lady Christina, and an older version of Harry Sullivan.

As the saga unfolds, we find the Doctor, in his third incarnation, grappling with the ongoing issue of his deteriorating form. His arrival on Streatham High Street in 2006 leads him to Harry Sullivan, the beloved UNIT medic. Harry believes he's contributing to a project for another iteration of the Doctor but is inadvertently aiding a Time Lord who will become one of the Doctor's most formidable adversaries.

Simultaneously, Jackie Tyler stumbles upon a job opportunity as a cleaner, which serendipitously brings her into Lady Christina de Souza's orbit. Their chemistry ignites instantly, and they form an unlikely but dynamic duo. Jackie possesses a necklace, pilfered from her daughter Rose's collection, which possesses curious attributes and becomes a coveted object due to its potential value.

In the midst of these encounters, the narrative is dense with developments. The Doctor, upon meeting Harry, swiftly regresses into his sixth incarnation. Harry himself is dabbling with a foreign substance known as esoterium, which might just be the antidote to the Doctor's instability. We're introduced to the youngest portrayal of a Time Lord antagonist, portrayed by Michael Maloney, who battles internal conflicts with previous personas, all eager to dominate.

Although this enemy's scheme is relatively straightforward, it serves as a nod to the show's inaugural episode with a nostalgic visit to I.M. Foreman’s scrapyard. Colin Baker, as the Sixth Doctor, relishes the chance to interact with such an array of companions, suggesting even his garb is subject to the whims of regeneration.

The camaraderie between Camille Coduri's Jackie and Michelle Ryan's Christina is a highlight, illustrating how Jackie's maternal instincts and Christina's longing for authentic connection form a bond that even the Doctor comes to value. Jackie's pragmatism and Christina's agility prove crucial to unravelling the plot's mysteries.

However, the portrayal of Harry Sullivan, played by Christopher Naylor, tilts towards a caricature rather than a character of substance, which is a disservice considering recent efforts to flesh out his character in other stories.

Writer Lisa McMullin delivers a light-hearted tale amidst the heavy hitters of the series. The narrative hints at River Song's involvement but feels more akin to the machinations of Missy, who is set to appear in the next installment. The story wraps up with the often-used device of a memory wipe to maintain continuity, a trope that can leave fans feeling a bit discontent.

As we cross the midpoint of the "Once and Future" series, it's clear that while these stories provide enjoyment, they offer little progression in the overarching plot of the Doctor's quest to understand his deteriorating state.

"Two's Company" is a fun detour within the anniversary series. It's a light romp that celebrates the early revival era of "Doctor Who," complete with humor and endearing character interplay. Yet, it misses a chance to exploit the comic visual of Lady Christina, Jackie, and the Doctor in a London chase that would have been a whimsical addition to the cover art. The story may not be crucial to the overall narrative, but it offers a charming respite and some memorable moments between unlikely companions.

Doctor Who: Once and Future: Two's Company is available to purchase from the Big Finish website.

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