#57 The Last

***Spoilers***

The intriguing inter-zone scene (they have replaced TARDIS opening scenes in the Ship’s absence) goes a bit Virgin New Adventures in this one, as the Doctor sees a ghostly Adric and Katrina before arriving on Bortresoye.

The Doctor, Charley and C’Rizz rock up shortly after after a nuclear war has wiped out the population. Charlie is shortly paralysed from the neck down in a collapsing building. Bizarrely, she utterly takes this in her stride, completely accepting her condition immediately.

A mile underground their deluded, narcissistic leader Excelsior plans her victory outfit with a handful of survivors. She starts off a fairly comic character, but becomes increasingly sinister as the story goes on. Especially when she murders Charley. Then C’Rizz. It’s at this point one realises we’re heading for a ‘reset’ ending so beloved of the writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I can’t abide cop-out endings like these. Russell T. Davies pulled the same lousy trick in Last of the Time Lords.

At the climax we learn that Bortresoye IS the Crucible World that houses the other samples our heroes have passed through so far, The Multi Haven, Light City etc. We don’t learn their part in the preceding war, or even who the war was against. No-one thinks to ask! Again, there’s a frustrating lack of answers but it does help keep the listener interested.

When everyone dies, in order that everything can start again and the Bortresoyans can learn not to wipe each other out, the Doctor and co jump straight to the same point in the next go round. Odd. At one point the Doctor seems to say he believes in an afterlife, or at least a second chance Buddhist-style reincarnation. This is an extremely odd thing for the Doctor to say, he’s a scientist, not given to displays of superstition. As a Time Lord he would surely know if there was ‘a second chance’ in an afterlife. It only kind of makes sense in the context of this story, and as a Time Lord he can literally return from death for a second chance anyway!

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