The Creed of the Kromon
|The Creed of the Kromon|
|Release date||January 2004|
|Doctor||Eight fucking hours it feels like|
|Scherzo||The Natural History of Fear|
Okay, so Zagreus wasn't exactly the most prestigious way to open your big, character defining plot arc. But it's not all bad, Scherzo was GOAT, and based Shearman made full use of the Divergent Universe's weird and out-there premise. And, hey! They brought back the guy who wrote the only good Six TV stories, too. Not to mention they're bringing in a new companion to shake up Eight and Charley's dynamic. There's a lot riding on this. This could be Big Finish's biggest coup yet! A complex, experimental and multifaceted plot arc for their flagship Doctor, a chance to really make their mark on the wider DWU lore, a chance to establish themselves among the giants. All that needs to happen now is for The Creed of the Kromon to be good.
Having escaped from the big glass donut, The Doctor and Charlie Sheen arrive in what appears to be an arid wasteland. As they're mulling over the mystery of...
You know what?
Fuck it. I can't do this. You have no idea what it's like, guys. I've been to funerals less demoralising than this. I feel like I've just recovered from a flu only to discover I've contracted an infection.
It's bad, you guys.
It's really, really bad.
See, Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp were definitely flawed, but at least they were earnest. Martin's allegory was fairly obvious but it came from a very real place and they communicated themselves in way that was still entertaining even if you didn't want to engage with their politics. They were dark, moody, atmospheric sci-fi stories whose dystopias could be read into, should you so choose.
Now take all that honesty, dignity, passion and humanity away. You're pretty much just left with the glib platitudes and condescending moralising. If you've ever heard a high school senior's diatribe about capitalism and environmentalism before then none of the purported "shocking" views in The Creed of the Kromon will come as a surprise. Now take that waste of imagination and badly integrate it into a stock sci-fi setting and ipso presto, you've written for Big Finish!
It honestly wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so boring. What passes for worldbuilding and lore are interminable scenes of endless expository dialogue about protocol and bureaucracy that quickly become redundant and yet they just won't end. You will never care less about alien race than you will about the unthreatening Kromon or the indistinct Eutermesans.
C'rizz is fucking dull. The guy has absolutely nothing in the way of definable personality or stakes. He's somehow completely detached from his own plotline. It's not at all helped that Westmaas performs like he's recently come out of a heroin coma. He reacts to everything with same dopey, aw-shucks oatmeal passivity that defined Adric at his best.
Also it's really violent and full of body horror for some reason. It made sense in Varos, but here it just seems as though Big Finish is super insecure you won't take their adult audios for adults seriously, but it's what a 14-year old thinks is edgy. It's body horror for its own sake. C'rizz even murders his bland wife because tragic fucking backstory, man! That's what adults care about!
Any way you cut it this thing is prime WOAT material and among the worst and most poorly realised Doctor Who stories in any medium.
The Natural History of Fear would attempt to salvage some of the Divergent Arc's lost dignity but otherwise this was the nail in the coffin for the Eighth Doctor's much hyped new plotline ever being worthwhile or interesting. From here on out expect stories that could have been told at literally any other time, except inexplicably even worse than they otherwise would have been.
I want my $2.99 back, Briggs.