Sunday, 13 April 2014
REVIEW – DARK EYES 2 – EYES OF THE MASTER (SPOILER-FILLED)
The Eighth Doctor comes face to face with a very old familiar face...
It's an unwritten rule somewhere that you must leave your best for last and never before has it been as true than listening to the final episode of Dark Eyes 2. For the first time in over 17 years, the Eighth Doctor goes one on one with the Master. Given that sort of pressure to do a good job, it's thankful that nobody dropped the ball during this tale.
The plot features a rudimentary scheme by the Master (played spectacularly by Alex MacQueen) who is up to no good in 70s London. He has taken over the Ides Institute (that building the Doctor and Molly visited in Dark Eyes 1) and he is posing as an optician for some reason? Granted, his scheme does come with a very unusual twist and explanation, but it's the interaction between the Doctor and Master and the tension building up between Liv and the Doctor that really drives this story. The Doctor now knows that Liv is from his future, but stays adamant that she not tell him about the future for risk of him second guessing himself later. Oh and we know about the various paradoxes that would follow even if he doesn't bother mentioning it.
Molly also gets a chance to shine. She meets David Walker again (from The White Room), now much older who has lost his sight some time ago, but people are saying that the Master can work this miracle and restore it. See where the optician disguise comes in? Adaboy readers! It's all connected. And as soon as David visits the Master, Molly arouses the Master's interest and all hell breaks loose. Think I, Robot meets The Walking Dead.
Now onto the Great One - I love Alex Mac Queen's take on the Master, but like many other Big Finish fans, I wanted desperately for them to resolve this retroactively created character and tell us where the hell he fits into the Master's timeline. Thankfully, we get an answer and it is a doozy! According to the Master, the Time Lords saved him from a 'predicament' and gave him a 'new lease on life'. He feels like they're 'setting him up for something', but he isn't worried because he plays their game better than they do.
From this, we take that this incarnation lies between Eric Roberts and Sir Jacobi, meaning that this was the Master the Time Lords resurrected to fight in the Time War. From later continuity, we know that the Master will pull a David Copperfield and run away. 'New lease' also fits in with the Master's new set of regenerations as Jacobi regenerated into Simm at the end of Utopia. It is however unclear if the MacQueen Master is a younger Jacobi or a separate incarnation that will eventually regenerate. Regardless, it's always nice to hear Big Finish fill in the gaps and this explanation is awesome not only because of that, but because it's another stealth Time War reference put in under the BBC's radar.
Yet, the most gut-wrenching part of this story comes at the very end. The Doctor is on his way to Niyxce 7 to do battle with the Daleks and meet Liv as seen in The Traitor. Molly is staying in the 70s era with David while the Doctor tries to establish why her dark eyes have suddenly returned. And the Master? Well he shows up at the very end (post credits) to kidnap Molly with that awfully sinister catch phrase of his 'Hello you!', making fans wait until November to find out what the hell is going on.
Thankfully, we can be sure that the Master is back for Dark Eyes 3 and will probably feature as the main villain following the Daleks in Dark Eyes 1 and the Eminence in Dark Eyes 2.