Recap: Big Finish Doctor Who DOTD 4 Babblesphere
This was the fourth release in the Destiny Of The Doctor arc, created in cooperation with AudioGo for the 50th anniversary.
The Fourth Doctor and the Second Romana vworp into a human space colony, where they find a bunch of dead and nearly dead people dressed in French court getups. They're immediately arrested by a chandelier-shaped robot, who throws them into a cell for not having cybernetic skull implants. The Doctor is quite sure Romana can get them out with her sonic screwdriver, before they realise they both left theirs in the TARDIS.
The Doctor is soon dragged off to be Strapped to an Operating Table
, and Romana befriends her new cellmate, a member of La Résistance
named Aurelius. The guy explains that a few decades ago, people all became addicted to Babble, a social network that allows people to share their thoughts. Cooperation became the main goal of human life, because the network allowed amazing new ways to collaborate on art, science and charity. Humanity soared and reached whole new levels of creative output. However, those who wanted privacy instead were soon regarded as suspicious, and twenty years ago, cranial Babble implants because mandatory. All everyday chores were outsourced to robots, and the colony collectively ended up spending all its time in Virtual Reality
, sharing every single thought with everybody. Aurelius' brain implant started malfunctioning, allowing bits of privacy, and the robots captured him so he could be fitted for a new brain chip.
Aurelius and Romana are soon rescued by La Résistance
, made up of old ladies whose brain implants broke down from sheer age. Romana quickly rescues the Doctor and the two head off to confront the megalomaniac supercomputer behind it all, both very
unimpressed with having to face yet another oversized calculator with delusions of grandeur. Said computer proceeds to use Aurelius like a puppet, revealing that it broke Aurelius' chip on purpose so he'd lead them to La Résistance
's base. It makes Aurelius pick up a gun and aim it at himself. The Doctor and Romana consent to being drawn into the Babblesphere, where they realise that the computer has been driven mad by the inane and extremely dull chatter of all the colonists. It had already started to cull the really
dumb ones, hoping to be left with geniuses, but the everyday Babble is on the verge of defeating it. The Doctor and Romana helpfully start listing intensely dull things like Gallifreyan presidents, Time Lord house colours, the colours of Four's scarf, unfinished novels by Earth authors and other inane drivel. The Eleventh Doctor helpfully steps in with a pre-recorded message, saying hello to his previous self and Romana and contributing a list of his top 5 enemies: Ice Warriors, Ood... Mandrels
... and Chumbleys
. He also asks Four to take the computer's HD to a museum, instead of simply killing it.
Four locks the computer's HD in a box and merrily takes it back to the TARDIS, explaining to Romana that he made a copy of his own brain to keep it company (after all, it did
say it wanted to talk to a genius). Romana, also stuck in a box with nothing but Four for company, deeply
sympathises with it.
- Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: The colony's fashion is based on the French court.
- Big Brother Is Watching You
- Call Back: Both Four and Romana are extremely unimpressed with yet another megalomaniac computer. Romana says that at least this colony's people didn't end up wearing animal hides and worshiping their own technology.
- The Cameo: A future incarnation of the Doctor shows up when the Doctor and Romana are Talking the Monster to Death to warn them not to destroy the computer afterwards, and lists off his favourite five foes.
- Continuity Porn: The Doctor and Romana list Ice Warriors, Ood, Mandrels, Bandrils and Chumbleys; Gallifreyan Presidents Morbius, Slann, Pandak, Pandak II and Pandak III; and Gallifreyan nursery rhyme characters Rassilon, Zagreus, Salyavin, the Shakri and the Krafayis.
- Take That, Audience!: The reason for the lists is to drive the Babblesphere mad with just how dull lists of Doctor Who trivia are.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: The Doctor, once he's released from an operating table.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Through the skull implants.
- Digital Avatar: In the Babblesphere.
- Distressed Dude: The Doctor's dragged off and not seen for nearly half the audio.
- Domed Hometown: The "palace" has a dome over it.
- Just for Pun: Ice Warriors are cool! ... Get it?
- Info Dump: When Romana meets Aurelius he basically monologues the entire plot to her.
- In the Style of...: Douglas Adams. Fourth and Romana, tongue-in-cheek, parody of modern technology. With a bit of a Robert Holmes edge.
- La Résistance: Made of old ladies.
- Leet Lingo: Used by the victim in the opening, which sounds as if he's Twittering out loud.
- Lethal Lava Land
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Name-checked by Romana.
- Manchurian Agent: Aurelius.
- Never Mess with Granny: A group of elderly women bust Romana and Aurelius and have a fire fight with the chandelier like robots.
- New Media Are Evil: Played quite straight.
- Pastiche: Of every "evil supercomputer" episode of Doctor Who ever, especially "The Green Death", "The Face Of Evil" and "Underworld".
- People Puppets: Through the implants.
- To Shakespeare: Once more onto the breach my friends!, quoted by the Doctor.
- Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Done by the computer, while puppeteering a human hostage.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: The Doctor.
- Talking the Monster to Death: The Doctor and Romana literally talk the computer into submission with inane chatter. Four's decidedly more talented at it than Romana is, having spent much more time with exceedingly dull humans.
- Take That: A massive one against social media being meaningless and inane.
- Whole Plot Reference: To E.M. Forster's short story "The Machine Stops".
- Zeerust: The main computer employs old school tape spools as data storage.