Recap: Big Finish Doctor Who Unbound E 2 Sympathy For The Devil
The first of two Unbound stories (followed by "Masters Of War"
) taking place in the same Alternate Universe
What if, after his conviction by the Time Lords
, the Doctor regenerated into a different Third incarnation? And accidentally arrived in Hong Kong in 1997, instead of next to UNIT base during the first Auton invasion
The world is a very different place. Much of downtown London, for example, has been replaced by a rather large crater thanks to UNIT thwarting a plan to wipe humanity from existence to replace them with dinosaurs
. Captain Mike Yates, in a Heroic Sacrifice
, volunteered to be sent back in time and blow up the New Earth Society's equipment. Sadly, no one believed Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's account of events, and he had no scientific explanation to back up his story. The plastic purges
of the 1970s
further damaged his career. (Although ironically, Stahlman's Gas
is considered a hot commodity and quite useful
.) The Brigadier was forced to retire and eventually ended up as a bartender in Hong Kong.
The Third Doctor — played by David Warner
— lands in 1997 Hong Kong moments after "The War Games"
. He quickly realises that his TARDIS is in lockdown, and that the Time Lords have rather violently removed his memory of how to repair it. When he just happens to meet Lethbridge-Stewart at his bar, the two are quickly caught up in UNIT's investigation of a nearby crashed invisible
Chinese ship. UNIT, who are not
happy to have Lethbridge-Stewart meddling in their affairs again, eventually reveal that they want to investigate the crashed ship before Hong Kong officially becomes Chinese territory... which is the next day. UNIT's commanding officer, Colonel Ross Brimmicombe-Wood (David Tennant
!), desperately tries to find the UN scientist who defected to China, and who was rumored to be on the crashed plane... a man only known as Ke Le.
Ke Le, as it turned out, died in the crash. And regenerated. Into Mark Gatiss
. (Which means he's ginger
.) The Doctor immediately recognises him as his old Academy classmate, and is very unimpressed to learn that he's now calling himself the Master.
The Master turns out to be after a Sealed Evil in a Can
(well, a jar) which has been kept safe by chanting monks for 150 years; the Ke Le machines require these parasites in order to run, but the others used have gotten their fill of minds. With a fresh one, he'd be able to negotiate a much greater power base - however, the presence of the Doctor changes things. The Master tries to bargain with the Doctor (fix his TARDIS for a ride off Earth) in exchange for destroying the parasite, then immediately tries to steal the Doctor's TARDIS as soon as they get close to it. His plan fails spectacularly when the Doctor pretends that Lethbridge-Stewart's bar is his TARDIS, and the Master is stuck with a lot of English ale instead of an interdimensional spaceship. The Doctor and Lethbridge-Stewart drag the Sealed Evil in a Can
close enough to a bomb to neutralise it, and the explosion has the added benefit of blowing the Doctor's TARDIS free of Earth. He and Lethbridge-Stewart take off together for new adventures.Meanwhile, in China, an international incident unfolds, as the Ke Le units, now granted their memories back, go insane and start firing at UNIT and the crowd of civilians
, just as the Master knew they would
- Author Appeal: Tons of it.
- Broken Bird: Leftbridge-Stewart really didn't have a good career.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Master, as per usual; however, it's deconstructed a bit in that without the Doctor to sort him out or his TARDIS to fall back on, he has two governments on a hanhunt for him. The Doctor is all too aware of it too.
- Contrived Coincidence: The episode is full of them.
- Credits Gag: The Doctor comments that he needs to get new shoes. These shoes... they don't fit at all.
- Fix Fic: A little bit of it for Mike Yates, who is remembered as a hero.
- For Want of a Nail: A great deal; a few years missed by the TARDIS has turned Earth into a Crapsack World. Notably, we get to see what happened should the Keller Machine have succeeded. It goes right...but then goes wrong. Very wrong.
- Inferred Holocaust: Loads, considering all the events the Third Doctor wasn't around to prevent. The ending takes the cake though.
- Jumped at the Call: Lethbridge-Stewart.
- Lucky Translation: The Doctor introduces himself in Chinese as "Hu" (the lion), "Hu" (the fox) and "Hu" (he who heals the sick).
- Sealed Evil in a Can
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Master's TARDIS is out of his reach in the story, and we never learn why.
- Doris is never mentioned by Leftbridge-Stewart, implying that she either left him due to his horrible career at UNIT, or died from the disasters.