We’ve only been here five minutes!
So, this one was reasonably good actually.
Is anyone who’s reading these actually familiar with The Infinite Quest, when it’s broken down into the different parts? I probably could have given you a brief overview of the premise, if not necessarily what happened week on week – so it occurs to me that it might be worth explaining what, exactly, happens in this one. If nothing else, it’s a good way for me to start to fill in some of the wordcount.
In this one, we see the Doctor and Martha arrive on Volag Noc – a prison planet that’s been discussed before, and is perhaps not entirely dissimilar to Star Trek’s Rura Penthe. It’s sketched out quickly – of course it is – but it does benefit from having been spoken about before; there’s a certain weight and significance attached to this place already that couldn’t have been established simply within one episode. On a broader level, though, this has been something that The Infinite Quest has been good at generally – creating a diverse set of planets that, while simple, do have a sense of character to them. The breadth of locations has been a good way to keep this feeling like something new each week, all while still following the single plotline.
Immediately after arriving, the Doctor is arrested and Martha is taken to the governor’s office for further questioning. It’s a good way to split the pair of them up, allowing the plot to develop across two separate strands. In some respects, it feels quite a lot like the first twenty minutes or so of a normal episode, albeit played out at remarkable pace. That’s quite a good thing, actually; it’s nice for The Infinite Quest to be able to more closely mimic the structure of a Doctor Who episode, and makes this particular instalment feel a little more ‘whole’. Plus, there are some rather nice jokes about library fines (and a version of the Doctor that wouldn’t have felt at all out of place in 2013, which is nicely prescient).
It’s soon revealed, though, that the governor Martha met with is a fraud – the real governor has been imprisoned, and the Doctor is his new cellmate. The pair work on an escape, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger that implies the Doctor and the real governor have made their way to Martha and the fake governor. It’s a nice twist, and as mentioned before, it’d feel quite at home in a television episode of Doctor Who. The constraints of the format do show through a little bit, admittedly; the twist has to be dropped in quickly, and through that “character accidentally says something they shouldn’t” trope I’m not so fond of. (Though, admittedly, while thinking about that trope recently I realised it’s something I actually do in real life quite a lot, so I probably shouldn’t complain too much.)
Overall, then, this was actually one of the better ones. And I think it’s probably fair to say that this was one of the better reviews. I’ll probably have to stick to this format going forward.