MY BIG FINISH JOURNEY PART 16: THE ETERNAL BATTLE
So, it was Tom Baker’s 87th birthday recently and big finish decided to make a bunch of his audios half price to celebrate. Obviously, I was going to jump at this chance and so I brought myself The Eternal Battle which came out in 2017. As you can probably guess this story featured the Sontarens. This was a great little two part adventure and even thou it was short it felt like it was four parts long. The ending was good and none of it felt rushed which is the opposite to a lot of big finish audios I’ve listened to recently. With a lot of classic villains who have been in the show a lot its quite hard to come up with new original ideas however the writers Cavan Scott and Mark Wright did a great job at coming up with a new unique idea and executing it very well. I loved how much K-9 had to do as in a lot of Tom Baker’s episodes he is left in the Tardis or has little impact whereas in The Eternal Battle he was a big part of it along with Romana who continues to be one of my favourite classic companions.
The first part starts with the Tardis team landing and going to look around in the dark. Creatures approach them who are zombie humans and as they run back the Tardis has disappeared. I like that they got the Tardis out the way as this story would have been ruined if they had it the whole time. A tank shows up and helps them. It is driven by a Sontaren. It was interesting seeing the Sontarens as not good or bad guys in this as usually they are the main enemy, or they are made a complete joke (Strax). They get back to the base and the Doctor slowly finds out what is going on along with the audience. It is great how slowly they reveal what is going on as the audience finds more and more out about what’s going on in this war. The fact the Sontarens show emotion is new and interesting as they usually all come across the same way. The Doctor joins forces with them to stop whatever is coming towards the base. K-9 helps a lot which I really enjoyed because I feel he is sometimes underused in Tom Baker stories and Romana helps to try and find out what is going on. After a while it becomes clear that the Sontarens aren’t just fighting human zombies they are fighting Sontaren zombies as well. This is a really cool concept as the Sontarens are constantly cloning and the zombie army gets larger and larger, so it creates a never ending war. This story should definitely be made for the modern series as the concept is just so clever. The Sontaren in charge, Field Major Lenk helps Romanna and K-9 in the medical room to study an infected Sontaren whilst the Doctor goes with Sergeant Major Stom in a tank to try and find the Tardis. The two groups splitting off helped develop the plot and characters. The first part ends with the humans finding the Doctor and Stom whilst in the medical bay Romana, K-9 and Lenk are being attacked by the zombie Sontaren that just woke up. It was a great cliff hanger and part one set of the story really well.
Part two starts with the Doctor transporting himself and Stom away from the humans that wanted to kill them and onto a spaceship. While this felt like an easy way out it moved the story onwards so that the Doctor could discover more about what was happening. Lenk killed the Sontaren that had turned into a zombie before it killed Romanna. K-9 was badly damaged which was quite sad, but it was obvious he was going to live. That is the only trouble with one of big finish stories. You know all the main characters will be fine as you have seen there exit in the show which takes a bit of the danger out of the adventure. However, The Eternal War did do a very good job at creating a dangerous atmosphere which made you feel like there was no escape. The humans use the tank that is left behind by the Doctor and Stom to invade the Sontaren base. There was a chilling scene when the commander of the human fleet was trapped in the burning tank with the driver dead and about to turn into a zombie. Many of the Sontarens got turned into zombies as well and they backed down further and further into the base. Romanna lock the doors so that her K-9 and Lenk are safe however Lenk is badly injured and is slowly dying. Time is running out for them which keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat. The Doctor and Stom find out that a race of aliens called the Sycon. They created a time loop around the war between the humans and Sontarens and replayed it over and over again so they could show there race that war got no one anywhere. However, it went wrong because instead of just reversing the war the humans and Sontarens were respawned when they died creating zombies. The Sycon race had been extinct for a long time but the computer still ran these time loops. The Doctor fixed this and found the Tardis before rushing back to save Romanna and K-9 before the time loop crashed taking them with it. Lenk died from the injury he had. Whilst his death was honourable and “for the glory of Sontar” it was also sad at the same time. The episode ended with Stom telling the Doctor he had to take him back to Sontar as it was what a Sontaren was supposed to do. However, Stom decided to turn his back on the Doctor and let him hit the probic vent in his back and let the Doctor, Romanna and K-9 escape. It was a very fitting ending and showed what great characters the Sontarens are.
To conclude, The Eternal Battle was a great stand alone story which had a great idea and was executed very well. The cast were great in this especially K-9 who was given a lot more to do. The Sontarens were at there best and the writers gave a new take on them that I haven’t seen before. The pacing was perfect, and the actions sequences were really nicely put together. Whilst The Eternal Battle is only two parts long the ending wasn’t rushed, and it was satisfying. However, I think in order for this adventure to be one of the best big finish audios it would have needed to be longer as I think it could go into a lot more detail into what was happening.
I rate The Eternal Battle an 8/10.
Written by: JACOB MOORE
Hi I’m Jacob and I am one of the writers for this website. I hope you enjoyed the review 🙂