Book Review – Doctor Who: The Uncertainty Principle

  • Title: The Uncertainty Principle
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Simon Guerrier
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Zoë, Jen, Jaime, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Wendy Padbury, Charlie Hayes (as Jen, guest)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/18/2017

**Spoiler Alert** The Uncertainty Principle is the third story in Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles “Zoë Trilogy”, however it doesn’t end with a satisfactory conclusion. The story picks up where the previous story left off, Zoë is still being held captive by The Company. They want information from her, but because of the uncertain nature of her previous questioning, where they couldn’t determine if she was telling the truth or making up a story based on the information given in questioning, her interrogator won’t tell her what they want to know. Zoë is drugged and again begins to tell her story.

The Doctor (the Second Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton on the BBC television series), Jaime, and Zoë arrive at the funeral of Meg. It’s a rainy day, which Zoë enjoys – having been raised in space stations, such as The Wheel, she’s not used to being outside or real weather. After the funeral, the three go along to the funeral, fitting in with the mourners at the wake. They learn Meg died in an accident at her work and investigate. They also meet Archie, the boy next door who had a crush on Meg, before she left for college and her new job. Zoë is immediately taken with Archie. The TARDIS crew goes to Meg’s work to investigate. On the way there, they are attacked by mysterious electric creatures, which seem to explode upon encountering the Doctor who is wearing heavy rubber wellington boots which break the circuit. At Meg’s work, they discover a quantum computer, that has been turned off because they can’t get it working. Meg was working on the computer but was killed by it.

As Zoë, Jaime, and Archie look in to things (with the Doctor off doing his own investigating), Jaime puts his hand between the two towers of the quantum computer. The electric creatures attack again, and Archie defeats it by throwing water at it, which again breaks the circuit.

They return to Archie’s home, only to find it engulfed in flames. Archie is immediately worried about his mother, whom he can’t raise on his mobile phone. Jaime dashes into the burning house, rescues her, and collapses. He’s taken to the local hospital, comatose, with machines breathing for him as he recovers.

Zoë and the Doctor head to Meg’s work again. She explains that at the nano scale of the nucleus of an atom, things get very weird and particles can be in two states simultaneously. A particle can be both decayed and not decayed. She brings up the famous thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat. Zoë explains to her interrogator, Jen, that the cat is both alive and dead. As she returns to explaining what happened, the Doctor, after talking to Archie begins to figure out what happened. The creatures are inter-dimensional – and rely on electricity and quantum mechanics. The Doctor is able to help the creatures – which allows Meg to come back. Jaime also recovers in the hospital. It is heavily implied that Zoë’s memory is like the cat – she has perfect recall, but she cannot remember. In fact, being forced to remember with drugs is giving her an increasingly bad headache. However, because of her photographic memory, she can remember that she cannot remember.

Jen is unsure if they have enough to save Zoë from her un-named fate. Jen does say that although Zoë cannot explain how the quantum computer worked, she’s proven it’s possible. She also believes she’s proven that Zoë traveled in time, since the gravestone epitaph she quoted at the beginning of her recitation was something she couldn’t possible know without actually being there. Jen also reveals that Archie and Meg married but divorced six years later.

This trilogy is very uncertain, no pun intended. I have the next CD in the Companion Chronicles series that features the Second Doctor, Jaime, and Zoë – but it doesn’t seem to be part of this series at all. Also, as a technical fault, there’s a scene or two in this story where it’s actually hard to tell if it’s Jen or Zoë who is speaking. I found this entire trilogy to be interesting – I’ve never really liked what happened to Jaime and Zoë at the end of the aired Doctor Who episode, “The War Games”, but this trilogy doesn’t provide a lot of answers to what happened to Zoë. Likewise, The Company, is mysteriously and frustratingly vague. On the other hand, as with all the Companion Chronicles stories for the most part – I really, really like the format of this line from Big Finish. The stories are similar in feel to the Past Doctor Adventures or Missing Adventures with the notable exception of being from the Companion’s point of view rather than the Doctor’s pov – which gives the stories a great hook. I still recommend this story, I just wish it had been a bit more definitive in it’s end.

Go here to read my review of volume 2, The Memory Cheats.

Go here to read my review of volume 1, Echoes of Grey.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click here to order The Uncertainty Principle on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

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