The Doctors sing for freedom; Ace’s screams for release.
Just a short reading today as I went to see Wonder Woman. It’s a bloody good film. And this continues to be a great book.
The continuity fest continues, as the Third Doctor’s persona refers not only to the events of Genesys, but also to 1970’s Inferno in great detail. It’s interesting how the Doctor’s realisation that an alternative version of himself was a dictator should disturb him so. Granted, the knowledge that such a morally just character could turn to totalitarianism is shocking, but it rather proves his initial thought: that he was the sticking point that meant the prime Earth didn’t go down the same path. Coupled with the Seventh Doctor’s rumination on whether his power games began to corrupt him in Exodus, this proves his effort to remain on the side of freedom against tyranny is a worthy one.
Ambiguity creeps in, however. When the Doctor sends Ace to be tortured, is he really just buying time to speak to his other self, or does that thought come afterwards, and his panic was a genuine fear reaction? We are told several times that he is still reeling from the procession of the dead he witnessed- does he break for just a moment before regaining control, or is this just another part of the game?
The Timewyrm continues to have dimensions added to her character, in her almost touching farewell to Hemmings. There is no longer any admonishment of him as he fails again to break the Doctor and Ace- only acceptance and a peaceful parting. Hemmings himself stays true to his nature until the end, dying with a salute to Hitler on his lips.
Peter, Emily and Ernest are a great set of characters to have in the church. All are proactive in their own ways, and while none of them fall to pieces, all of them are emotionally affected by the fantastical circumstances they find themselves in. They turn to each other for strength, and this is beautifully expressed in the prose by Peter and Emily contemplating what they admire about each other, and Ernest and Saul reflecting on their ancestral history. I can’t help but feel their humanity will feed into the conclusion for this story. For characters who are on the periphery of the action, they are remarkably well defined and likeable.
In general, the unreal threats of ‘Hell’ are entirely more effective than the virtual threats of stories like The Mind Robber, The Deadly Assassin or The Ultimate Foe. I think that this is because, as we are regularly reminded, the Doctor and Ace’s bodies are dead, and it is their minds going through this torment. As fictional as these dreams may be, they still have the power to destroy our heroes’ minds, even while their bodies are left intact.
Timewyrm: Revelation– Chapter 8.