Revenge of the Swarm
by Jonathan Morris
Starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred & John Leeson
Revenge of The Swarm is the latest release in the Big Finish Doctor Who monthly range, it’s a continuation, following on directly from the previous adventure Afterlife. The Doctor's companion, Hex, isn’t the man he once was, he’s Hector, a different person but with the same face. The Doctor thought he had defeated the deadly Nucleus of the Swarm in his fourth incarnation, but he was mistaken. It survived within the TARDIS computer banks and it’s recreating its journey from Titan base and back to the Bi-Al Foundation in order to reassert its plans for domination.
This is a lovely revisitation of the classic Tom Baker story, The Invisible Enemy. The story is well structured and falls neatly into two clear stories, a prequel and sequel, creating a kind of trilogy. Revenge of The Swarm doesn’t much develop the ongoing Hector/Hex question mark that was left so pointedly in the last adventure, but it doesn't shy away from including references to the awkward situation in which the TARDIS crew currently find themselves. There’s a lack of trust between Hector and the Doctor.
The first two episodes are incredibly strong and create a wonderful and clear nostalgic journey for all the characters involved, the later episodes (three and four) however are more experimental in their style as we see the Doctor and Ace enter an almost video game like locale to save the day.
Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Oliver all bring the usual consistent level of panache to their roles, and it is simply marvelous to have John Leeson back as the voice of the Nucleus, which alongside the role of a certain robot dog, marked his first appearance on Doctor Who back in 1977. I’m not exactly sure how this could have been achieved, but I do feel like writer Jonathan Morris missed a trick by not including a cameo return for K9 himself.
I thoroughly enjoyed Revenge of The Swarm, my only criticism would be that the latter half of the story feels a little overlong and could have worked more concisely as a three-parter.
BLOGTOR RATING 8/10
Thanks to Big Finish
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