Saturday, April 30, 2016

Flip-Flop by: Jonathan Morris directed by: Gary Russell: The Dramatic Equivalent of a Palindrome

Flip-Flop stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor with Bonnie Langford as Mel.  It was written by Jonathan Morris, directed by Gary Russell and released in July 2003 by Big Finish Productions.


You may be asking yourself why a type of footwear is the title for a Doctor Who story.  Well that’s because this is a story comes in a black and white disc that can be played in any real order and still understand the story as Morris works it out so the story doesn’t have to feel forced with the odd gimmick.  He even uses the gimmick as a way so to prove that everything isn’t black and white and is put into the shades of grey in a social commentary that is still relevant today as the message is you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  The order I’m listing this plot is the way I listened to it, but it can still be listened to in any order as I have done it both ways and you don’t lose a thing from the story.  The Doctor and Mel land on the planet Puxatornee where they have to get some crystals to defeat some Quarks on the Space Yacht Pinto.  The planet is derelict where they are criminals and are captured and forced to go back in time to stop the destruction as everything happened due to the President’s secretary being killed by an agent of the Slithergee race which started a war.  The twist is when they get back to the future the timeline has changed so much that the Slithergee have peacefully taken over by basically using feminist tactics acting like as they as the minority must be the oppressed one.  The Doctor and Mel leave as the Doctor and Mel arrive and the plot is basically repeated over again in what is a time loop.


This is a great plot as even though halfway through you can guess what happens, you are still interested as you don’t know how they are going to get to the future that is set up in the first half which is great.  It allows Jonathan Morris to take his commentary about basically the idea of oppression and how it relates to the majority and minority and how power of being previously oppressed can lead to more unjust actions.  It’s a great commentary that can be applied to today’s culture in some great ways that more people should be taking notice of.  Morris does this by doing what was done in Inferno and creating parallel universes not where people are evil, but just made different situations.  The main characters are Stuart, played by Francis Magee, and Reed, played by Audrey Schoelhammer, who in both universes want things to be better and will do anything to get it, but one universe has them be security men and the other has them be citizens which really shows how different people can be.  Bonnie Langford is also good as Mel here as she has to be the one to ask the questions for the audience which she does very well and she provides insight to just how much she knows about what the dangers of time travel actually are considering how much her life was messed with by the Time Lords.  Sylvester McCoy is in prototype Season 25 mode as he stays mainly quiet in the arguments as he knows the grass always seems greener on the other side, but rarely is.


The atmosphere is great here as both versions of the planet are destroyed in some way and almost every character is killed in some horrible way.  Morris is great at doing dark and he can do comedy, but not always at the same time as here some of the comedy almost lessens the drama of the story.  There are also problems with the style of this release as after the first half you know how this is going to end and what is going to happen to the Doctor and company as this is just there to fill in the gaps.  Also the professor in this story is just annoying to me for some reason and I just don’t really like him.


To summarize, Flip-Flop is a great second outing for Jonathan Morris as writer, but it isn’t perfect as the pacing really makes it slightly difficult to get through.  Most of the story however is great as the Doctor and Mel get stuck in a time loop yet get out quite easily and they just work really well here.  80/100

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