Doctor Who: Omega [Big Finish]

Omega was the 47th entry in Big Finish’s “Main Range” or “Monthly Range” of Doctor Who audios (released back in 2003), and was the start of a run of four stories which starred the four Doctors that Big Finish had access to at the time, and were each named after one of the franchise’s major villains: Omega, Davros, Master and (original to audio) Zagreus. This time around Peter Davison stars as the Fifth Doctor, traveling without a companion, and Ian Collier co-stars as Omega, reprising the role that he played on TV over twenty years earlier in Arc of Infinity.

(Daily Doctor Who #269)

Spoilers!

Omega is by Nev Fountain, and takes an interesting tack to telling a story about Omega, the legendary Time Lord pioneer scientist upon whose work the society of the Doctor’s home people was built. The adventure is set in a historical centre in space, in which actors re-create the legend of Omega for eager tourists. From there, the story goes on to deal with the uncertainty that exists with any such legendary figure. Is Omega a madman, a monster, a despot, a hero? That’s the question that is on the mind of nearly all the drama’s characters–even Omega himself.

Omega is on hand, of course, appearing it seems as a being of pure thought. But if that’s true, then who is committing the murders? The answer was legitimately surprising. Indeed, there’s a twist at the end of the third episode (of four) that actually caused me to go back and listen to the whole story again up until that point just so I could understand better what had just been revealed. The final part of the story gets a little muddled in Omega’s backstory (via a series of flashbacks), but then keeps the surprises coming by revealing that some of that is actually Omega’s delusions. It’s quite impressive, really, just how complex a character they are able to make Omega into–resulting in a far more interesting interpretation than we ever had on TV.

The crux of the drama is the relationship between the Omega and the Doctor himself, and Ian Collier and Peter Davison are both excellent. Their interplay and verbal sparring is fresh and clever–quite literate in the writing and brought to life with energy and pathos. The rest of the cast are good as well, including science fiction and horror star Caroline Munro as Sentia, a women who turns out to be planning on becoming Omega’s bride.

Omega is a strong story and one of the best of the main range of Big Finish’s Doctor Who dramas that I’ve heard so far. It is a strong character piece with some surprising plot twists, and an effective meditation on themes such as truth vs. myth, history, perception and memory. I find it hard to believe that I am going to enjoy Davros or Master as much, but hopefully I’ll be surprised. We will see soon enough.

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