The Perfect Symmetry of the Crocodile

The Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller travel to a world where most everything, even the people, are blue in the 2008 Doctor Who audio play “The Skull of Sobek”. I still haven’t heard any audios from the Eighth Doctor’s series that are anywhere near as good as his stories in the monthly range but “The Skull of Sobek” is one of the best I’ve heard so far.

Upon arriving on the planet, the Doctor (Paul McGann) explains to Lucie (Sheridan Smith) how it rains one day in a regular interval of decades and a bright red flower blooms when it does, which puts a pretty image in the listener’s mind. But the main plot involves an abbot and nun belonging to two sides of the local religion, one which emphasises the need for balance between perfection and imperfection. The Doctor explains how in the distant past, these people had a society that was too perfect and it caused problems so this “Order of Imperfect Symmetry” arose. Which is an intriguing concept. Since it’s one of the really short audios, only fifty minutes, writer Marc Platt can’t explore it too far but in one amusing development it turns out the people responsible for the past perfection were talking crocodiles, which becomes apparent when one, a general, returns from the grave.

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I guess I can see how crocodiles might be sort of obnoxiously perfect. The important thing here is that they’re vicious carnivores and also apparently hypnotists as Lucie is somehow bewitched into joining the side of the crocodile. She mentions having a fear of crocodiles early in the story, which I liked—the idea that she’s susceptible to becoming something because she fears it.

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