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One of my most anticipated listens was the ‘Return’ trilogy of the Bonus Range, featuring the return of three classic monsters. This one wasn’t the one I was most excited for, but I was looking forward to listening to it.
This story strongly ties into the Dalek Empire series, and luckily I have listened to it so I was aware of what was happening. The story is that Kalendorf and ‘the angel of mercy’ Susan Mendez go to the planet Zaleria to negotiate with the native rebellions against the Dalek occupation. The Doctor turns up, teams up with our couple and some natives, when it is revealed that the planet is Spiridon and the Daleks seek to revive the frozen Dalek army (see Planet of the Daleks).
This story is brutal and harsh. Susan has her arm broken by an Ogron and many extras are exterminated. The Daleks reach their full potential as villains, being manipulative and sneaky. They are also scientists in this story, trying to cure Light Wave Sickness. Nicholas Briggs, as always, vocalises the Daleks amazingly, and in this story, they are incredibly menacing. The supporting cast are also very good, but on occasions, I had trouble remembering who was who, as a lot of their voices sound similar. The incidental music and sound effects are very, very good, however I was unaware of much of the settings. Is it a frozen forest like on the cover, or is it the Dalek city? Nothing is described from narration or sound effects.
My main gripe with this story is the plot. It all goes along for most of the story, reaching for the climax. The Daleks kidnap the Doctor, leaving Kalendorf and Susan to escape, and then we hear some narration explaining that the Doctor was imprisoned for many years, and then he defeated the Daleks by turning his research on Light Wave Sickness against them. And then we get a scene with the Doctor returning to the TARDIS. What kind of ending is that!? It’s so anti climatic and rushed, that it defies belief. It is almost like Nick Briggs, wanted to include so much material, the ending was condensed into a narration. It would have been better to omit much of the rebellion and cut to the chase of the Doctor being imprisoned. This story would have worked much, much better as a four part Main Range story to promote Dalek Empire than this truncated script.
Still, its not terrible. I’m excited to listen to the other stories in this anticipated trilogy. Watch out for my reviews of them!