Destroy the Infinite, or “How The Doctor Met The Eminence”, is perhaps the second best Doctor Who story to feature the Doctor’s recurring nemesis.
We heard the Sixth Doctor come up against him in The Seeds of War, the Eighth Doctor had various encounters with the gaseous entity in Dark Eyes 2 and with Destroy the Infinite, we get to the all important first encounter and it’s easy to see why the nasty gas hates our favourite Time Lord quite so much.
The Fourth Doctor and Leela arrive on the planet Delafoss, the Doctor wants to show his friend quite how wonderful the planet is but there’s one slight problem, the world is in ruins and overrun by the Eminence’s Infinite Warriors. They, under the malicious rule of their horrible entity, have built a battle ship called the Infinite (they’re also incredibly vain) which they plan to use to conquer many, many planets. How does the good planet Earth respond to this threat? They send their own ships to tackle the problem and, you guessed it, destroy the Infinite. But of course, it’s not that simple. Because the Infinite Warriors and the Eminence have thought ahead and packed their battle ship with innocent human beings, if the Infinite is destroyed, so are they, and that’s one heck of a problem for everyone…
Destroy the Infinite runs at a fairly fast pace and doesn’t let any of the characters stop for breath. Whilst the story of the Eminence has been a large game plan at Big Finish HQ for quite a while now, this reviewer will admit that the character itself has failed to appeal on any spectacular level. The idea of encountering the creature through various incarnations of the Doctor has been a treat and the aspect of the non linear progression is very nifty as well. But the Eminence itself has not been too different from many other Doctor Who villains of the past, power for the sake of power, evil for the sake of evil and not great at conversation either.
Taking the Eminence out the picture for a moment (strange, yeah as the story is about him) Destroy the Infinite is a very good tale, with thrills and spills as well some very well realised thoughts on the horrors of war and battle and the outcome that this can have on individuals as well as collectives. Did writer Nicholas Briggs have the centennial of the First World War on his mind when he wrote this? This reviewer is tempted to say yes.
On the whole, Destroy the Infinite is very quick and successful; the Fourth Doctor is possessed, Leela learns a trick or two and still seems to be growing with some strong character development. For the sake of continuity, it’s also pleasing to hear the Eminence’s first encounter with the Doctor, although one cannot help but think that this isn’t the last time that it’ll be popping its gassy head around the door…
Destroy the Infinite is available on CD or via download from www.bigfinish.com now.