Review of The Marian Conspiracy (#6)
Big Finish Release Date: March 2000
Doctor/Companion: Six and Evelyn Smythe
Stars: Colin Baker and Maggie Stables
Preceding Story: The Fearmonger (Seven, Ace)
Succeeding Story: The Genocide Machine (Seven, Ace)
Apparently I just needed to start in the right spot.
After my last experience with a Big Finish audio adventure, I was a little reluctant to dip my toe back into the pool. Although previous forays had been enjoyable, I didn't get as much out of my first Sixth Doctor story as I'd hoped. (Actually, it was only the first full-length one; I've heard a couple of shorts in which Six teams up with Jago & Litefoot.) I wanted to be as enthusiastic about Six's adventures as I'd been about Eight's, but something just didn't quite click.
Good thing I persevered.
Having come into the middle of Evelyn's travels with the Doctor in The Apocalypse Element, I didn't quite "get" their relationship. Starting at its beginning, though, I was immediately charmed by Evelyn's manner with him, and her refusal to take any of his shit. As a 55-year-old woman, she's well established in her life as a history professor and knows her own mind. She has no need to feel in awe of him, as so many of his (especially younger) Companions have initially been. The more mature give and take between them makes for a refreshing change of pace—not least because it shows him not to be the brusque boor he often was in the televised stories.
The particular shape of their initial adventure together didn't hurt matters, either. When the Doctor discovers that Evelyn herself is at the temporal nexus he's been tracking, leading to some Back to the Future-style fading from existence, and realizes he needs to head back to Tudor England to unravel the puzzle, she invites herself along for the ride. After all, how can a historian resist a trip in a time machine?