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Reviews By Drew Vogel
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 7/25/17 2:03 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I realize my opinions are often out of step with fandom, and it usually doesn't concern me. I don't think my opinions are superior to others (except insofar as they are mine). I don't imagine that I'm setting anyone straight, or anything like that. My opinions are mine, and I don't expect other to people to necessarily share them. Still, I can't overstate how shocked I was to see all the high scores this story received. I'm fairly stunned, I must admit.

In my opinion, this story is really quite bad, leaning towards awful. It's painfully unfunny, and there's nothing more tedious than a comedy that isn't funny. Most of its jokes come from the fact that it's a pastiche of "The Chase", but "The Chase" is also terrible. This story just repeats many of the same story beats without really adding anything. It doesn't give us a fresh new take on "The Chase". It isn't a clever subversion of "The Chase". There isn't really even a joke here. Apparently, a Benny story based on "The Chase" with the Grel filling in for the Daleks is just supposed to be inherently funny. Well, it's not.

The Grel are particularly tedious, and Sophia is no exception. Apparently, she was previously introduced in "The Glass Prison", the novel in which Peter was born, and is Peter's godmother. There's this one scene in this story when Jason directs an insulting and racist remark at the Grel chasing them, and then says "Sorry, Sophia." Sophia responds by analyzing the remark. It's bad dialogue, it isn't even a joke, and it halts the action. That's what the Grel are like. They work better in print. On audio, you actually have to sit and listen to their tedious, repetitive, humorless crap.

The one saving grace to this otherwise terrible story is that it presents intriguing clues about Peter's future, which I gather will be picked up on in future stories. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
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7
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7
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 7/25/17 12:53 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Ok, the slow pace of the story is starting to get on my nerves. We're now halfway through the series, and we haven't made a great deal of progress toward revealing the story. Yes, each episode adds new elements and advances the story, and this episode is no exception, but a big chunk of what this episode adds is actually redundant. After all, Georgi Selestru has already sent Galanar on an undercover mission to the Border Worlds to look for evidence of the Daleks, and he's making progress. In fact, he makes quite a breakthrough in this episode, and that's great. But also in this episode, Georgi sends Siy Tarkov and his daughter Amur on an undercover mission to the Border Worlds to find evidence of the Daleks. See... that really doesn't advance the story. I mean... it does, obviously, because something is going to happen to them when they get there, and that can't happen until they get there, so sending them there does advance the story in that sense. But it doesn't add anything to the audience's understanding of what the story is.

(It's not padding, though, as another reviewer has suggested. The issue here is pacing, not padding.)

Incidentally, there's a lot of shockingly stupid behavior around this subplot. First of all, it's shockingly stupid that the Galactic Union wouldn't even authorize an investigation based on Tarkov's evidence that the Daleks are planning to invade the galaxy. Granted, Tarkov's evidence is a bit flimsy, so I understand the GU being reluctant to commit itself to launching a war, but I think at least an investigation was in order. Mietok, chair of the GU's security council, said that Tarkov's evidence was insufficient to establish a "clear and present danger". Granted, but when you have evidence that raises a well-founded suspicion, yet falls short of establishing a clear and present danger, the not-stupid thing to do is to collect more evidence. But Mietok turns the tables on Selestru by revealing that Amur isn't Tarkov's daughter, which Selestru would have discovered if he had only bothered to check. So there's plenty of stupidity to go around.

Galanar is definitely the MVP of this episode, as his storyline makes significant progress, and ends on a solid dramatic reveal. The Wardens storyline also advances, but not as dramatically.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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7
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Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 7/24/17 5:16 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This story, it seems, has been overshadowed somewhat by the notoriety of its author. And that's part of the problem. This story is something of a muddle. It's a jumbled combination of ideas and tropes, but it all just sort of washes over without making much of an impression. There are some very strong characters here, some nice character work for Peri and Erimem (who are developing into a very strong companion team), and some very good writing. And yet the whole thing adds up to quite a lot less than the sum of its parts.

The problem, I think, is that it's all pulling in too many different directions at once. Opening Part Two with Erimem's funeral was a bold and confident move, and the rest of the episodes explores Erimem's background and her relationship to her father. If the story had continued along with those themes, it might have worked better, but Part Three picks up right where Part One left off and explores an entirely different set of ideas. Nothing ever seems to join up properly.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 7/24/17 2:31 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I can understand why some people don't like "Dalek Empire III" as much as the previous releases. In "Dalek Empire" and "Dalek War", the big picture was never far away. The scenes may have focused on particular individuals, but the story was always focused on the big picture. In "Dalek Empire III", the balance is different. The big picture is still there, but so far it's been kept very much in the background, and after two episodes, we still can't see very much of it.

We know the Daleks are up to something, and that it has something to do with assisting the Border Worlds deal with the NFS plague. Not only are their real motives hidden, but we don't even know what they're actually doing. It has something to do with geoengineering uninhabitable planets and turning them into giant treatment centers, which appears to be what they want to do with Graxis Major. But that's all being kept in the background. In the foreground is the Daleks cooperating with the Border Confederation to supposedly help cure the plague. So get scenes like the one where the Graxis Wardens insist on burying their comrade, who was murdered by the Daleks.

One way of looking at a scene like that is that it's irrelevant to the main story. Another way of looking at that is that it is the main story. I think which way you look at it probably says a lot about what you think about "Dalek Empire III". I trust that the big picture will become clear in the fullness of time. But for right now, I'm happy to have the narrative focusing so heavily on the Graxis Wardens. I like the Graxis Wardens. They're good characters, I like how they're standing up to the Daleks, and I like how they can get away with it because the Daleks can't afford to simply exterminate anyone who gets in their way. At least for now, they seem to require the cooperation of the Border Confederacy, which means they have to at least make an effort to get along with "lesser races".

Unfortunately, this episode triggers one of my pet peeves. Apparently, the Graxis system was chosen for geoengineering because it has no "sentient life". 9 times out of 10, when a character in "Doctor Who" is talking about "sentience", they mean "human-like intelligence", but that is not what "sentience" really means. One of the subplots of the story so far is that the primates on Graxis Major may actually be more intelligent than the Wardens realize. Ok, that's interesting. But there is absolutely no question that they are sentient. "Sentient" just means "responsive to or conscious of sense impressions".

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