Tom recounts the tale – and I say
Tom because not once do I hear the fourth Doctor in the dialogue – with the same eloborate and clever dialogue as Mike did in the first, using a thesaurus of a vocabulary best left fort he Sixth Doctor. Although Tom is clearly having a ball, and making the odd aside which is so typically, and brilliantly him, it makes for a frustrating listen, because again we are keen to hear the fourth Doctor, and only get the odd, spectacular flash of him. The story itself is a piece of a puzzle, and one wonders whether Hornet’s Nest may be better listened to as a whole, and as such, and due to the nature of the narration, makes the peril less than immediate. with the two main other characters unsure as to whether they are friends or foes, it makes it difficult to engage in them, and therefore the whole episode relies on being on the Doctor’s side, and one wonders whether more than goodwill for Tom is needed to create this.
The cliffhanger – and look away now if you if you don’t want the spoiler – isn’t one as such, just the promise of another recounted adventure, which seems to me to be the way these stories is going.
This isn’t a bad story – it’s clever, well written, fast paced and intriguing – but I’d argue it’s not very fourth Doctor, and there seems to have been a trick missed here – by setting the adventure as recounted tales the peril is gone. Maybe by now people may say “well, I’ll wait on the final episode” rather than sit through some more “this is what happened, but as you can see, I’m fine”. Also there is an argument that, of course Tom is different because thirty years have past – however – he is playing the fourth Doctor, a fourth dDoctor who’s just left Leela and is about to meet Romana and therefore should be playing THAT character, not himself thirty years on. It’s frustrating for a fan of this character to only hear him in echoes. Episode one worked better because much of the story happened in “real time”, episode two loses that momentum wih the protagonists stuck in a cellar.
I’d urge people to stick with this though, it is full of very good things, and I have the feeling Tom is abut to burst into the Fourth Doctor at any minute. I for one want to be around when that happens.
Hornet’s Nest is available from the 8th October.