Big Finish Productions
The Eternity Cage
|Written by||Andrew Smith|
|Starring John Hurt|
|Synopsis: Sontarans are the ultimate warriors - so they believe - and the Time War the ultimate conflict. Denied that glory by Skaro and Gallifrey alike, General Fesk of the Eighth Sontaran Battle Fleet employs a dangerous strategy to draw both sides to the planet Rovidia and prove his forces worthy. Meanwhile, the War Doctor leads a rescue mission, aided by Rovidian street-urchin Kalan. Neither Daleks nor Time Lords expect the Sontarans to be so fearsome a foe, until they uncover the secret of the Eternity Cage.|
The Big Finish Curse Goes On by Noe Geric 13/4/21
If there was on company that I trusted to show the Time War as a terrible and incredible trans-temporal space-war, it was Big Finish. But of course, using some of their weakest writer for such a massive event is a tradition at BF. And after the boring The Brood of Erys, Andrew Smith decide to rewrite his audio The Sontaran Ordeal for the War Doctor. Just changing some bits but keeping the same idea! And it's terrible.
The script is weak, the Doctor must find Cardinal Ollistra, who was captured by the Sontarans. Guess how she was captured! She received an anonymous message telling her to come on an empty leisure station to talk about a Dalek spy in the Gallifreyan High Council. And Ollistra goes there with only two guards and the stupid Helenya. And surprise, that was a Sontaran trap! Wow. If she is a Gallifreyan Cardinal, I wonder how Gallifrey survived all that time against the Daleks if their leaders are as crap as her.
The plot is about a Time Lord and an eternity cage, but it's not really interesting and just try to be epic. But it completely falls on its face.
John Hurt is acting in his sleep, like if he was reading the script for the first time. Jacqueline Pearce delivers one of the worst and most OTT performance she ever did. And Andrew French's lamentable death scene is funnier than it is tragic, whispering a typical-Doctor-Who-warrior-soldier line after sacrificing himself to save the Cardinal Ollistra.
Josh Bolt talking to his horse is even more unbelievable, and his acting capacities aren't great. But in this mess, in this giant pile of bored actors, there's Honeysuckle Weeks. And I wonder how it is possible that she even put a foot in the studio. Her character is incredibly lost: when people just talk, she shouts, and when people shout, she doesn't know what to do. Her character is even more badly written. She is apparently the Dalek spy, and in a last scene where she proves all her acting weakness, she pushes the Doctor into space. She'll be the villain of the next episode, and her motives are one massive joke. I didn't know that Big Finish could do such bad stuff.
And last, the Daleks. They've been used so much by BF that they're now redundant. If they keep coming back, that's because Nick Briggs is voicing them and also producing the Doctor Who ranges. They're now so useless and so weak that even the pacifist Dulcians (the cheap aliens from The Dominators) could defeat them. And the Dalek Time Strategist, perhaps the most powerful of them all, gets captured and locked up with Ollistra... by the Sontarans. It's just ludicrous now. Nick Briggs should stop doing their voice; he's tired now, and his voice is recognisable even through the voice changer.
A poor script, awful acting and a big waste of time/money, that's what The Eternity Cage is. Big Finish now seems more interested in quantity than quality, using the same writers all over again until their imagination as been completely used, leaving only empty and dry bodies writing on a computer, trying to capture the feel of their previous, and much better, stories. Andrew Smith is now one of them, lost for ever after being a poor victim of the Big Finish curse. Writing a boring and uninteresting piece of work: I would give it a 0/10, but as Dan Starkey tries (in vain) to save the day with a nice performance, I'll be nice and put a 2/10. But avoid.