If there’s one thing that Doctor Who fans enjoy, it’s closure. Whether it’s the neat wrapping up of a story arc, the final words of a particular Doctor or the departure of a companion from the safe dwellings of the good ship TARDIS, an end is needed to hold hands with the beginning.
Nowadays, especially when it comes to the departure of one of the Doctor’s close friends, everything is tidied up into a neat little package in order for the viewer or listener to feel satisfied by. Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory and even Adam have all been given the full circle treatment. Goodbye, good luck and thanks for all the good times.
Doctor Who of yesteryear didn’t handle goodbyes to well however (and who does then they’re young, just as the show was back in the day) Dodo, Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith (the first time round) Kamelion, these friends were hurried out of the front door and onto pastures new without so much as a Helmic regulator to call their own.
And then there’s the confusing issue of Peri, travelling companion to the Fifth Doctor at the end of his life and the Sixth Doctor for a great chuck of it. Peri’s seeming end came about in the flawed epic The Trial of a Time Lord part Eight (or Mindwarp part Four if you want to be all proper about things) as she was apparently gunned down by a warrior king after having her mind taken over by a vicious alien slug. During the final part of The Trial of a Time Lord, we discover that that was not the truth and Peri lived. She even married the warrior king who appeared to kill her and lived happily ever after, apparently in a pink 1980’s style heart. The Sixth Doctor, being the type of man he was, never bothered to go and check what had really happened. Or did he?
The Widow’s Assassin finally has the answer to the question that many have been asking for nearly thirty years and some have even tried answering. Peri lived, she married the warrior king, the Doctor came looking for her and there was no mention of a big pink heart.
This particular story has all the key attributes from writer Nev Fountain that prove he is the daddy when it comes to writing for the Sixth Doctor and, more importantly, Peri. Following on more-or-less directly from events earlier this year in March 2014’s Scavenger, the Sixth Doctor decides that it’s high time he finds out what exactly happened to Peri and if he can put things right. What follows is a solid example of the wonderful Doctor Who stories that Big Finish offers the world.
Peri’s all grown up now and is playing widow to a murdered king. On her request, the Doctor upon arrival is promptly locked up for five years, which he duly accepts as part of his penance to Peri for not coming back to her a hell of a lot faster. But as much as they try, an assassination attempt is afoot and of course only the Doctor can help to save Peri’s life, drawing her in to his wonderful world once more.
Fountains script has his trademark comedy moments but nothing is overtly comic about this story. The plot twists and turns and even weaves in references to previous Fifth and Sixth Doctor television stories with remarkable ease. The eventual repair of the Doctor and Peri’s fractured relationship leaves the listener breathing a sigh of relief, bridging a gap that has previously felt difficult to cross. There’s another present for regular listeners of the Big Finish Doctor Who range as the Sixth Doctor gives some resolution towards another plot strand from a previous story, one that will leave a smile on the face and a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
With The Widow’s Assassin, we can all finally move forward with the Doctor and Peri and enjoy their new adventures with their eyes slightly more open to the world around them as well as to one another.
Closure is a wonderful thing and in the story, we’re treated to it in abundance.
The Widow’s Assassin is available on CD or via download from www.bigfinish.com now.