Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code
by Eddie Robson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This audio starts off with an interesting enough premise: the Doctor is acting as a mediator in a peace conference between two warring planets, while Bernice Summerfield gets drawn into the search for an ancient lost language that has been suppressed by the planetary government because of its alleged use in black magic.
However, it kind of falls apart at the end. The revelation of what the ancient lost language actually is doesn't come as the surprise it should have. (I'll give you three guesses as to what it is.) And the revelation of why the two planets are at war falls a bit flat as well. (Sometimes, Doctor Who
uses its science fictional trappings to universalize human conflict, to examine the causes of war and barbarism in a context that is freed from the messy particulars of actual conflicts. And sometimes it uses its science fictional trappings to suggest that people are mean to each other because they're possessed by paranoid psychic jellyfish. "Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code" is firmly on the paranoid psychic jellyfish side of the line, and it's too bad, because I was actually quite intrigued by Robson's portrayal of the conflict early on.)
Disappointments aside, it's really nice to hear Benny and the 7th Doctor together again, and Lisa Bowerman gives an excellent performance. If you're a Benny fan or a Companion Chronicles completist, you certainly won't regret hearing this one, but if you're not, there's no real reason to seek it out. View all my reviews >>