Doctor Who review: The Paternoster Gang: Rulers of Earth

The first series of the Paternoster Gang’s own Doctor Who spin-off reaches its finale. Does Rulers of Earth tie up the whole epic story of Heritage well?

Rulers of Earth is a pretty crucial episode in the Doctor Who spin-off box set The Paternoster Gang: Heritage 4. It’s not just the final episode of this specific volume. It’s also the grand finale of the entire Heritage arc. As such, this is a pretty crucial episode, one that had to resolve the Gang’s first series in a big way.

This makes the episode’s plot a little tricky to discuss in too much detail, especially since so much of the finale’s build-up began in the previous episode, The Ghost Writers. On top of that, there are a lot of long-running threads that come together in this episode. More than I could keep up with if I’m really being honest. There are characters and threads going all the way back to the first box set that have a crucial part to play in this grand finale, and it’s going to take a relisten of the whole series for me to pick them all up.

Which honestly isn’t a bad thing. With Big Finish, every release is an investment. If you’re paying a certain amount of money to listen to a story, you should also want to listen to it more than once. So having an extra reason to go back and listen to Heritage from the very beginning is a great idea.

Doctor Who

Is this the end of the Paternoster Gang? Or do we have many more adventures to look forward to?
Image Courtesy Big Finish Productions

A story of family

However, regardless of how complicated or grand the overarching story is, I would’ve relistened to the whole of this series anyway. Mainly for the exact same reason that I relisten to Jago & LitefootGallifrey and Counter-Measures so much – the characters. And I think Rulers of Earth serves the characters extremely well.

This is especially true of Madame Vastra. There’s a whole new side explored of her in this episode, one that’s absolutely terrifying. Neve McIntosh has always been fantastic to listen to, and that certainly remains true here. The emotional stakes are raised extremely high for Vastra, and McIntosh’s performance heightens those stakes even further.

Matt Fitton also explores many interesting themes with his script, including faith, belief, and of course, heritage. But the most important theme of this episode – one that extends to all three characters – is family. And this is what makes the Paternoster Gang so appealing. Despite their different backgrounds and origins, these three form a closely united family. Here’s hoping that we’ll be hearing plenty more from them for a long time to come.

What do you want from a finale featuring the Paternoster Gang? Where do you think they should go from here? Let us know in the comments below.