With the sadistic villain Rees more dangerous than ever, it’s time to summon the Doctor himself in the final episode of The Worlds of Doctor Who.
After three stories focusing on numerous spin-offs and recurring characters, the Doctor himself finally shows up in the final episode of The Worlds of Doctor Who. But it’s not just the Sixth Doctor who appears in Second Sight. Along with Captain Mike Yates, (who featured in the previous story The Screaming Skull,) this episode also brings in his former companions Romana and Leela.
So it’s clear that, with this story, it’s meant to be as much of a crossover with audio spin-off Gallifrey as it is a Sixth Doctor story. Does it capture the feel of that spin-off well? Well, despite having a key scene set on the Doctor’s homeworld – one filled with little nods to the series – the episode itself doesn’t like a natural part of its related spin-off as much as Mind Games or The Reesinger Process did.
But then again, that’s understandable. In the case of the other two episodes, both Jago & Litefoot and Counter-Measures have a heavy focus on standalone stories. Gallifrey, on the other hand, has always been more serial-based, so it’s hard to capture that with just a single story.
Having said that, Second Sight does work reasonably well as a more traditional Doctor Who story, with the Doctor (more or less) in charge and facing suitably high stakes. But is it a strong enough story to round off this box set?
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One thing that makes Second Sight work is that the stakes are considerably raised compared to previous stories in this box set. Rees is no longer just concerned with controlling one or two people this time. Instead, he wants to create chaos on a huge scale, and he’s found the perfect way to do it.
Giving us a story where the Doctor has to prevent the end of the world is an interesting balance between typical Doctor Who story and epic finale. It highlights exactly the kind of threats that the Doctor faces on a regular basis, especially after previous stories focused on considerably smaller ones. Admittedly, Rees doesn’t come across as big enough of a threat to attract Gallifrey’s attention, but the script at least tries to do a good job of convincing the listener of that.
So after three episodes, how is the threat of Rees dealt with? Is it a satisfying resolution? Honestly, I’m in two minds about it. On the one hand, it almost comes across as anti-climactic, especially considering how much Rees had been built up across all four stories. But at the same time, the resolution is a surprisingly emotional one, and actually helps to add just a little more depth to the sadistic villain.
Second Sight does a reasonably good job of wrapping up this ambitious box set. Like The Screaming Skull, it doesn’t quite match the highs that Mind Games and The Reesinger Process reached. But it’s an enjoyable enough audio, one that actually helps you to see even the most average Doctor Who story with a fresh perspective. Because when you find out how much history this adventure had, it’s enough to make you wonder more about the hidden histories of all of the Doctor’s other adventures, too.
Have you listened to Second Sight? Do you think it works as a Doctor Who story? More importantly, do you think it resolved this ambitious crossover well? Let us know in the comments below.