HORNET'S NEST 4
This one is a strange bird, almost like two episodes strung together by the flimseyest of plots and yet...there's something very DW about it. The 4th Doctor, for no real reason, is trekking thorugh snowy woods in the barren fields of North Umbria, I think and the feel is very well done, a lot of atmosphere. This continues on through the first part of this story when he's attacked by a pack of hounds and has to take refuge in a nun's castle...where the nuns drink wine...something close to Tom Baker's ...huhm, heart. Anyone who's read his fantastic bio WHO ON EARTH IS TOM BAKER (a brlliant read even if his second book THE BOY WHO KICKED PIGS isn't) can attest to his love of nuns. Then this plays out like THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN where the nuns are under siege by the animals while keeping a possessed pig inside...the queen of the hornets.
Then they find something out that can keep the beasts at bay...something close to Tom's heart again and oh my dear, Tom cannot sing, can he? He tries here and unlike his same song in PART 5'S disk, here it is not funny. He flees to the TARDIS and is followed inside by the main hound, incidentally this is how he picks up his dog, Captain. There's a wild chase through the TARDIS not unlike INVASION OF TIME, only not funny this time and with more wild rooms.
The story sinks here a bit I'm afraid. Tie ins with the rest of the series are tenuous at best, shakey at worst...and I'm afraid it all doesn't really come together as a cohesive whole. Still, all of this has its great moments as anything Tom is in does. I DO like past references but here we're loaded with them: Sutek, the Helix, Kraals (as the Doctor boasts that he's seen off greater enemies that the Hornets---is it such a good idea to remind us of that? That there are better adventures in his past? and a bunch of other references to make even those who like references to be annoyed...
There's an attempt to tie the other parts to this and it really doesn't work and doesn't make much sense and then...we get the cliffhanger which is resolved rather lamely in the part five cd...
Now this is not terrible, but it's also not terribly great either and for Tom to be back in this...well, maybe as a second set of stories it would have been okay but frankly a story about alien hornets just does not do TOM jutice. Nor does Paul Magrs I'm afraid and ...well tha'ts it really. Then you realize the Doc's telling us the story from the cellar since the end of part one...and you also realize that THIS Doc will surive this anyway and a lot of the grim dark storytelling (and it is grim and dark and nasty wiht descriptions of bugs under the skin) just seems...inseconsequencial. ANd if the girl in part two or three had a normal life, then what were the hornets? Dormant?
As I said alot of it doesn't make sense and a lot of it is just there to be grim and dark and insect-y. I'ts not very gripping really but at times it does rise above the poor plotting and poor derviative script. And I"m sure Tom added his own bits in. Paul just douses us in past refernces and it grates.