Sunday, 23 February 2014
REVIEW – DARK EYES 2 – THE TRAITOR – SPOILER-FILLED
There have been no reports of Big Finish’s website crashing. That could only mean two things: 1) Dark Eyes II isn’t as good as the first installment or 2) Big Finish anticipated just how awesome Part 2 would be and took the necessary steps. Since it’s not number 1, I declare that it must be number 2.
Part One of a four part series of reviews covering Paul McGann's new Dark Eyes II. Personally, I enjoyed Part II more than Part I. While Part I was one four hour Dalek story separated across four sub-scenarios, Part II is four separate stories all linked together by a common plot arc which involves the doctor travelling to Nixyce 7 and encountering Liv Chenka (Robophobia). The Daleks have enslaved the people of the planet and are forcing them to build a super-weapon. Liv Chenka has been helping the Daleks, but in a good way – she is a doctor taking care of the ill, but since this is still helping the Daleks, she is branded ‘the traitor’ by the people.
There are some interesting, not to mention misleading stuff going on in The Traitor. The trailer, as well as the title of the story implies that it’s the Doctor who becomes a traitor once the Daleks convert him into a Roboman, but it turns out to be a ruse. The Doctor is only pretending to be a Roboman so that he can wander the Dalek corridors in piece, which also seems odd because the Daleks don’t seem to recognize the Doctor pre/post-conversion even though the two forces have encountered each other numerous times over.
The Doctor isn’t there to make things better either. He’s come to Nixyce 7 to ask the Daleks for help. Yip. You heard right. Reverse Asylum of the Daleks going on here. According to the Doctor, there is a greater force that’ll out last both the Time Lords and the Daleks and it needs to be stopped first – the Eminence.
What’s great about this story is that it checks all the elements that make Daleks stories work. There is confusion, panic, a high body count and strained relationships with people willing to sacrifice everything to get out from under the Daleks. You also have a rather unique dynamic in that the Doctor has to offer something in return for the Daleks’ help and they want the super-weapon complete. Interesting moral dilemma.
This story has a great pace for a Dalek story. It’s slower than Dark Eyes I, but the fact that the Daleks are out of the picture in an hour as opposed to four really helps – unless of course you love Daleks. I don’t. This was actually one of the reasons I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it as much at first. What a lovely feeling to be wrong this time.
At first Liv is okay with the Doctor giving the Daleks what they want, but once she learns that thousands of people will die if the Doctor goes through with his deal, she changes her mind and begs him to stop. Unfortunately for her, the Doctor agrees and the episode ends there. What a terrific way to end the story? It automatically makes you want to listen to the next story as soon as possible. The television series of Doctor Who needs more endings like these – stories in which the Doctor loses big time. Well…he wins, but also loses. You understand. Bottom-line: There are too few times when the Doctor loses onscreen anymore. That needs to change. People keep preaching they want the show to be darker, well how about introducing the Doctor to losing in episodes that aren’t regeneration or companion farewell stories.
What’s interesting to note about this story is that the Doctor seems very aware of the events taking place (cough * Seventh Doctor) and seems to already have a plan in motion as soon as he gets there. This seems very out of character for the Eighth Doctor, but I attribute this to treads running through the series as a whole that will probably come to light sooner rather than later. Big Finish are known for telling more complicated timey-wimey storylines, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more of that. Rating this first part: 8/10
A pleasant and impressive way to start of Dark Eyes II. Next time I tackle The White Room…