Following Episode One’s excellent opener, The Chaos Pool‘s second instalment chugs along at a fair old rate and, whilst not quite hitting the heights of its successor, it amply manages to keep the excitement levels high.
Madame President herself, Lalla Ward, continues to impress, as do the supporting characters that make up her ship’s crew, from the clearly troubled Pargrave, to the aged but still powerful and somewhat intimidating Professor Liodel. Liodel is an odd character and, whilst he seems to exude kindness on the surface, there seems to be a brewing malevolence beneath his skin. I suspect that we have not yet seen all that Liodel has to offer yet.
Also aboard the crew is one of the main Key 2 Time foes, Zara, who is as wonderfully petulant, arrogant and damnably annoying as ever. This time she manages to be even more duplicitous than before however, because thanks to the power of the Segments, she’s changed her appearance to resemble that of the Doctor’s companion Amy, and the Doctor is none the wiser as to what’s gone on.
Davison’s Doctor is, once again, a great performance, the only flaws coming via the writing, especially when he seemingly repeatedly fails to notice that Amy really isn’t acting like herself at all. Admittedly, this sort of plot has been done in the TV series, but it’s an equally frustrating and a bit of a clichéd one in any medium! Generally, however, the dialogue is sharp and smart, and the characters continue to be fairly well developed although, again, not quite as well as in the first instalment.
Whilst this episode is more lightweight and less full of surprises than its predecessor, it is still entertaining, and the plot is both interesting, largely original, and very engaging. As are, again, the pompous and overly articulate slug race of Teuthoidians who make an appearance later on in the episode. But what are this race of early space explorers doing so close to the end of time, anyway?
Like with the best of the Big Finish audios, the plot grows increasingly more complex as the episode continues but, like the best of the best, it never becomes incomprehensible, even with paradoxes and twists exploding all over the place.
With only two episodes of the Key 2 Time left, I genuinely am on tenterhooks. I expect that the Guardians will make a reappearance at some point, but is anyone going to let Amy out of her bag? Stay tuned…!