Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 8/4/17 2:28 am
3 out of 3 found this review helpful.
Perhaps I'm just easily pleased, but I really love that the end of "The Next Life" teases a story featuring the Daleks and Davros, and then Big Finish gives us an entirely different story with the Daleks and Davros the very next month. That's a really fine bit of scheduling.
And what a lovely story it is! It's not as good as "Davros", but then very little is. It is a very different story, but like "Davros", it gives us a somewhat different perspective on the creator of the Daleks. This time, it's not about exploring his backstory or filling in details of his biography. This is about showing us Davros working very much against his old creations. Of course, we've seen Davros/Dalek conflicts before, but usually Davros is trying to convince the self-sufficient Daleks that they should continue to obey him. This is different. This time, he's actually trying to replace the Daleks.
I'm not sure I really buy that the Daleks would recruit the Doctor to help them with this situation, but I'll let it go because it works thematically with the story. Over the course of the story, both the Doctor and Davros conceal their true relationship to the Daleks from Mel, and Mel is very much the center of this story. Indeed, it's hard to overstate just how important Mel is to this story. Of course, Mel has been in several Main Range releases before this one (and also an Unbound), so by this point, her character had already been thoroughly and successively re-invented by Big Finish. With this story, author Scott Alan Woodard takes that new-and-improved Mel and puts her right at the center of the narrative. Not only is she strong and independent, not only does she play an indispensable role in the plot, but she's the emotional core of the story as well.
I sometimes think of 2005 as the Year of Mel. She appears in four out of thirteen Main Range stories released that year, which is more than Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, or Paul McGann.