An alien base, deserted. Well almost deserted. Something is giving out a distress signal and the Doctor and Mel have arrived to offer assistance. But what is behind the cry for help is the last thing the Doctor would ever have expected. And it’s not just our heroes who are investigating. A force of Sontarans have landed, searching for survivors from their research team. Will the Doctor and Mel last long enough against the Galaxies greatest warriors to find the mysterious cause of madness that afflicts everyone on the planet? Sontarans don’t feel terror or worry about death… until now!
Sontarans, they all look the same – but thankfully due to some excellent voice work from Dan Starkey this isn’t the case vocally. With so many clones running about he does a great job of making them all distinct in both voice and mannerisms. Good job too as otherwise this story would be impossible to follow. And that’s not to diminish the rest of the cast. Jon Edgley Bond’s Anvil Jackson is an enjoyable roguish hero in the boy own mould, and Daniel O’Meara’s Ketch a quirky comedy foil for all around.
Aside from a few that are having a bad day, this is an old fashioned cruel, scary and grim Sontaran tale. It has echoes back to The Sontaran Experiment, quite directly in some ways, with many of the other cast members being victims of the species’s brutal alien appraisal methods. Combine that with all the madness and mystery in this tale and it could be somewhat macabre – but writers John Dorney and Dan Starkey manage to keep the tone from getting overwhelmingly downbeat. McCoy and Langford’s energetic partnership helps as well, even though they’re separated for long periods.
It’s a fun tale, solid and well directed – and like the last couple of tales it’s very much in the McCoy era so if you’re a fan of that time period this story will be right up your alley.