Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 2/27/18 5:23 pm
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With Ace and Braxatel's appearance at the end of the previous story, Story 2 is set up as a side mission for the pair of them into a unknown region of space to find an old mentor of Brax's comes with huge complications and circumstances. We know who Ace is as a former companion of the Seventh Doctor and now an agent for the CIA but who is Brax? In this story, all you really need to know here is that he's another important Time Lord in the Gallifrey series with a long and strong history. But if you want a little extra detail, Braxiatel is the Doctor's older brother with a massive and complex life glimpsed only in the audio dramas. Paired together, neither one fully trusts the other and this distrust between them and with the other main introduced here serves as the heart of this dark and very personal base under siege story. The plot drives along at a slow pace at first but it becomes much more frantic once the Daleks arrive en masse leading to tricks, destruction, a slow reveal of information, suspicions of each character, and surprises all around. It helps especially that the Obscura is a wonderfully odd concept and creepy piece of Gallifreyan history akin to something out of the War Doctor series. Having the remains of a temporal battlefield so twisted with time that even gazing at it causes insanity be the basis for the setting makes it very surreal and serves to turn the station into something akin to a haunted house inside and out. Combine with this fact that the Daleks themselves haven't been this creepy or unnerving in a long time and it makes this one memorably creepy with an atmosphere full of ghosts, insane cackling Daleks, and a older Time Lord serving as the last line of defense with personal connections to Brax. While the cast is small, it is of course amazing with Sophie Aldred, Miles Richardson, Zulema Dene, and Nicholas Briggs all turning in outstanding performances. Revealing too much about their characters here do a major disservice to the story and potentially spoils it so I won't say anymore there. I will say though that Sophie Aldred is easily the standout though the primary reason I can't say without giving away a major spoiler. The fact that Ace really gets to participate in the War with her background with Seven really makes her stand out in my eyes on the surface and it also makes me want to revisit her involvement in previous Gallifrey stories "Intervention: Earth" and "Enemy Lines" a whole lot more. When everything is said and done in this story after this story's action-packed battle, it all comes back down to Ace and Brax and the final moments of this story with them are a shocking gut-punch that honestly takes your breath away. I have a feeling that long time fans are going to be talking about this ending for a long while and as much as I love these characters, I kind of hope it sticks. With all that said, "Obscura" is a major highlight story for this series with a terrifying concept and atmosphere, intense Dalek action, Gallifreyan intrigue, and a shock ending that I'm curious to see affect the rest of this cast and possibly all of Doctor Who fandom. With things worse than they've ever been and the Doctor refusing to help, it's time to bring another renegade with a decidedly more sinister edge......