Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 11/5/17 7:01 pm
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This episode puts more of a focus on the developing relationship between the Doctor and Lucie, and this is very well handled. I particularly love how they don't even choose to travel together at the end. Of course, some would point to Season 22 on television as an example of what can go wrong when the Doctor and the companion don't get along well, but the writing generally wasn't very strong that season, and that was before the modern era when the Doctor/companion relationship became an important focus of drama. There's a lot of good value that could be had out of somewhat fractious relationship between the leads, and this script especially shows that potential. Unfortunately, the opportunity is squandered, as the Doctor and Lucie are basically good friends already in the very next episode. Don't get me wrong, the friendship between the Doctor and Lucie is a key component of what makes this line of Eighth Doctor adventures so strong, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But it would have been nice if it had been allowed to develop a bit more gradually.
I can't help noticing the broad similarities (and I do mean "broad") between this and Steve Lyon's "Killing Ground", which features human colonists turning themselves into primitive Cybermen in order to better fight the Cybermen. The two stories have very little in common except that idea of human developing alternative strains of established monsters. I have to say it's much better motivated in "Killing Ground". Frankly, it's not clear to me why Professor Martez thought it would be a good idea to turn people into Daleks, or why he seemed to expect other people would agree with him. He wasn't trying to rival the Daleks, and he wasn't trying to build a private army to help him achieve some other goal. He apparently just discovered some Dalek technology, thought "Ooh what a good idea!" and that was that.
Still, this is made up for by a fast-paced and compelling plot. This story was a good choice to launch a new series because it's exciting and action-packed. It's also got a nice teaser at the end introducing the Headhunter. Like the new series on television, we're given a hint of a deeper story unfolding in the background. I generally like that approach, although it really depends a lot on the strength of the eventual resolution.