There are two plots going on through this story. The first is obviously Robert and Sara and then the second is the story with Sara, The Doctor and Steven. Now personally I didn’t really care for this which is probably why Simon Guerrier didn’t really put much emotional effort into it. The idea that the Doctor, Sara and Steven arrive on a meteorite that has a mining area that has been affected by an earthquake (or meteorquake). I liked the idea that as well as the water that can burn which was rising there is also the matter of what is in the water because that kills and comes close several times. I found the ending of Part 1 to be quite a shock. There were essentially two endings. The first being that Sara says quite heroically that no one else will die. Then when the story telling ends we have a monologue where Robert discovers that the recordings are silent. Robert was really annoyed by this and so asked Sara to disperse, this was a mistake because she was called back in Part 2.
I felt the ending of Part 2 was only good if there would be a third part. In the extras it seemed to be suggested that this story will be part of a trilogy. As the theme played I thought that it was all over and that left me feeling a bit let down but by the end of the extras I changed my opinion.
Whilst I enjoyed parts of this story it wasn’t quite up to the standard of Home Truths. There just wasn’t enough dialogue with Sara and Robert for my likening. I think that they have a great chemistry and that is down to Niall McGregor and Jean Marsh. In particular Marsh who is just mesmerising and gives a different sort of performance than she did back in Home Truths. There seems to be desire for redemption and at times I felt sorry for her. This did change at the end of the episode when she said that she would help Robert’s daughter if they stayed with her. This was an ending that I just didn’t expect.
Normally first stories of a series tend to be a bit weak. Frostfire, Mother Russia & Here There Be Monsters were good in their own way but this story is by far the best opener so far. I would have liked this to come later in the run but as it is I found this story to be enjoyable and bodes well for the rest of the series. Simon Guerrier has written a great story that takes the great elements of Home Truths (the house, Sara and Robert) and builds on that. Lisa Bowerman has directed a really good story and has managed to make it feel exactly the same as Home Truths which is quite a tough thing for a director but Bowerman manages it brilliantly.
At the end of the day and despite this being the first story of 12, it could potentially be the best story of the series. You never know!