Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...
Day Forty-Five: A Man Must Die (Farewell Great Macedon, Episode Three)
The one downside to this story being completed on audio, and with only a few voices to spread across the cast, is that it's not a format that easily lends itself to a script with a great number of characters.
Here, we've got three (four?) 'conspirators'. In my head, they're all being called 'Tegana', because I can't remember their names, and they seem to fulfill the same role in this script as he did in Marco Polo. You've then got Alexander, and his rapidly decreasing set of successors. Add to them the four regulars and we're building up quite the party!
With such a large cast, it's becoming tricky to keep track of just who's who. Add to that the fact that we seem to be entering a period of 'middle-of-a-six-parter-drag' and it could start to become a bit of a chore. I'll admit, much as I'm still enjoying the story, today's episode was a bit of an effort.
That's not to say that there weren't moments in there that I loved. As we begin, Ian is ruminating on the death in the last episode. He holds himself responsible, since it came from an argument that he stirred up. While Ian talks of his guilt at being a catalyst for the death, were presented with an interesting viewpoint; Barbara knows from history that the death always has happened like that - regardless of Ian's involvement.
It's interesting, and definitely a continuation of the themes we saw building up in the last episode. I wondered then how the story would continue to deal with this subject, so I'm glad to see it being tackled head-on so early here.
Then we've got the Doctor acting as… well… a doctor. He examines his patient and prescribes blood transfusion, before setting up the whole operation. It's interesting that he asks Barbara to stay in the tent with him (as opposed to scientist Ian), but it allows for some more awkward moments with her having to hide her knowledge of events.
Overall, I'm still enjoying the story, though we seem to have settled into a format, now. There's a death within Alexander's party (or, as here, very nearly), and then a cliffhanger involving a spear. Yesterday's cliffhanger was big and bold - the threat of a suicide, something with lingers over this episode, too - and today is another bold one, with the spear headed for Ian, who has stirred up trouble again, despite his earlier worries.
I'm excited to move forward, but I'm a little worried that this story could become very stale very quickly. Here's hoping that it regains some of the majesty of yesterday's episode as we move forward…
Next Episode: The World Lies Dead at Your Feet