MY BIG FINISH JOURNEY PART 7: THE GREAT WHITE HURRICANE
I have listened to a few historical big finish stories now, Storm warning and Subterfuge being the main ones which I have really enjoyed them. The Great White Hurricane did not disappoint either. The story was set in 1888 America where one of the most severe blizzards in American history was recorded. I am not usually a fan of purely historical doctor who episodes due to there not being a big enough threat, but this story was completely different. Before this I knew nothing about the blizzard of 1888 so finding it out as the story went forward really made it more tense and dangerous. This historical was so good that you felt as if you were actually in the blizzard yourself. I actually feel like doctor who should make more historicals set in a natural disaster such as an earthquake or volcano because natural disasters can be just as deadly as monsters, yet you can’t stop it. Before listening to The Frist Doctor Adventures Volume One, I watched some reviews and a lot of people say they prefer the destination wars due to James Dreyfus brilliant performance as the master. However, I think that the Great White Hurricane was better. Even thou it didn’t have a big villain like the master or the scale of subterfuge it was just a very enjoyable doctor who story which I would love them to recreate on the TV.
The plot itself was relatively simple. The Tardis lands in the middle of a gang war, a bit like in the TV movie. I really liked the fact the gangs were included in this as it gave it an extra threat. As Ian is by far my favourite character in the first Tardis team when he got shot, I had a bad feeling he might not be in this story that much. As it happened, he was only out of action in the first part. This was actually good for the story as in The Destination Wars Ian had a big part in it and Susan and Barbara had a lot less to do, so this story helped give them more time to develop. Susan got kidnapped by one of the gang members but because of Ian being shot the doctor and Barbara couldn’t go after her. After a night in a cell the doctor came across the brother of the gang member who kidnapped Susan and said he could help the Doctor find her. This created three different smaller stories which lasted the other three parts. Ian and Barbara helped a women who needed to find her son in the blizzard and Susan and the gang member spent the time trying to hide from the blizzard as well as get away from the gang chasing them. The character development was so much better in this story because of the team getting split off from each other. After a while it was revealed that the gang member that had kidnapped Susan had killed a man in a different gang which was why they were trying to kill him. When the Doctor eventually found Susan with the help of the gang members brother, she was trying to escape with the main gang member across a frozen river that was cracking all around them. The Doctor and his brother had been held at gun point to find them so someone from a different gang could get revenge and kill the man who kidnapped Susan. It led to an intense end as they battled it out on the broken ice as the Doctor could only watch from the side with a policeman. I was expecting either one of the two brothers or the guy trying to kill them to fall in and die. This would have led to a more epic and emotional ending instead of them finding common ground and resolving the issue. Once Ian and Barbara had helped this women find her son and get people down from a train that had crashed, they all got back to the Tardis safely. Overall whilst the plot was simple it was still very entertaining and had you wondering which characters would live to see the end of it. The only slight issue I had was the fact the ending was anti-climatic with no one dying and it being resolved peacefully.
By the end of The Great White Hurricane I really felt like the people playing each of the Tardis team were the same as the original actors who played them. After listening to these two adventures I have definitely warmed to the first doctor much more than I did when I first watched him. He always came across as just okay for me and I think all the actors who have played the doctor since William Hartnell have had to be better or the show wouldn’t have improved. But he came across very protective of Susan in this story and as a listener you could really understand where he was coming from whereas in some of the early 60s episodes he could come across as being not very relatable. Susan and Barbara were much better in this story than in The Destination Wars which I think is partly down to them having more dialogue as there weren’t any monsters and the master wasn’t in it. It is very similar to the Tardis team now where there are three companions and usually two of them will take a backseat in an episode, but it was nice to see them all getting a good amount of dialogue in this. Ian was typical Ian in this being a hero and doing all the action scenes. I enjoyed him just as much as ever. The side cast were pretty similar to the other side cast from different big finish stories I have listened to, good enough to have an effect on the story but nothing outstanding.
To conclude, I thought The Great White Hurricane was one of the best purely historicals there has been on Doctor Who. I thought all the Tardis Team played big parts in this story and I enjoyed them having three separate missions for the majority of it. The blizzard itself acted as just as bigger threat as the master did in the previous story and the gang members helped to keep the pace and tension. The only downside of The Great White Hurricane was that the ending seemed a bit anti-climactic and I would have liked to see one of the gang members die at the end just to add some emotion to this episode.
I give this episode an 8/10.
Written by: Jacob Moore
I am one of the main writers of the big finish articles. This is my seventh big finish story. Leave suggestions of big finish audios you would like me to listen to and review and I will get round to doing that. The next lot of audios I will be listening to is the Tenth Doctor Volume Two Stories.