Planet of the Ogrons

Posted in Audio by - July 11, 2018
Planet of the Ogrons

Released July 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Audaciously opening with an Ogron stepping out of the TARDIS onto Gallifrey and rather politely claiming to be the Doctor, ‘Planet of the Ogrons’ by Guy Adams quickly sets itself up to be something quite unique. Following this with the introduction of the Twelve as she crosses paths with the Doctor and Bliss with this Ogron by her side and claiming to have been sent by the High Council and to have control over her previous eleven incarnations in a way her predecessor as marvellously played by Mark Bonnar never did, this second instalment of The TIme War 2 quickly amplifies the intrinsic sense of terror and mistrust magnificently by calling upon the Doctor’s recent past while calling into question his immediate future.

While the appropriately nicknamed Doctor Ogron may utilise a few too many spins on familiar lines from throughout the Doctor’s many lives to drive home the fact that this being truly is the Doctor in some capacity, the fact that he shares the Doctor’s DNA and has a similar memory engram with differences explained by regeneration add an intriguing dynamic that forces the Doctor to begrudgingly accept that this cravat-wearing creature from a race that is no more than brute force incarnate is, indeed, somehow related to him. In fact, as the Doctor and Bliss discover that the Daleks are flaunting the assumed rules of the Time War by altering their own timelines via the implementation of Ogrons, a fact that wonderfully puts the Ogrons’ previous appearances into a new light, the undisputed highlight of ‘Planet of the Ogrons’ is the burgeoning respect and even admiration the Doctor develops for the Ogron bearing his mannerisms and name as his bravery, intelligence, and ability to improvise are all featured in short order.

Predestination paradoxes have become increasingly common within the Doctor Who universe over the years, and when Doctor Ogron reveals the presence of a mysterious hybrid creature housed in Dalek casing whom the Daleks equally hate, fear, and revere precisely because of its impurities and who has been performing genetic and temporal experiments upon the Ogrons’ home planet, it’s quite clear that the Doctor’s arrival will factor into the creation of this intriguing facsimile. Though this outcome is almost inevitable, however, the experiments that the Overseer is undertaking have quite profound implications, and the notion of a fleet of TARDISes being completely subservient to the Daleks once he overwrites the sentience of the capsules with the minds of Ogrons is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Given his obvious success and continued potential paired with his feelings of self-entitlement and grandeur, the Overseer brings an almost Davros-like presence to this Dalek plan and hits all of the right notes to become a significant and recurring foil for the Doctor within the Time War, at least until the Daleks sense weakness through failure and once more pursue their unyielding ideology. Indeed, in a saga where Time Lords and Daleks are equally villains alike, this was an opportunity to bring another creature on the Daleks’ side to the forefront on a recurring basis, and being pushed somewhat more to the sidelines to only serve a narrative purpose rather than to develop as a character with his experiments allowed to wreak havoc is a missed opportunity for this isolated story and the overarching one to pursue.

Although the Twelve does not suffer from breakthrough moments from earlier regeneration nearly as frequently as the Eleven did, Julia McKenzie makes an instant impact as the newest iteration of this most dangerous Time Lord foe. With the unassuming appearance of a more elderly woman and an even-tempered voice filled with reason, she certainly seems to fill the role of a reformed villain akin to her eighth incarnation, and contrasting this seeming congeniality and earnestness with the known deceit and danger of her immediate predecessor and nine others like him ensures that the Doctor is always kept off balance and on his guard. At the same time, Jon Culshaw is wonderful as the Ogron version of the Doctor, and the manner in which he looks after Bliss while also changing his tactics to foment a rebellion against the Daleks captures a certain nuance and charm that blends these two distinct races very successfully.

With the Doctor, Bliss, and the Twelve captured by the Daleks as their base explodes and the Doctor’s plans of regaining his TARDIS on Gallifrey and ensuring the freedom of his Ogron self disappearing in an instant, ‘Planet of the Ogrons’ sets plenty of pieces in motion for future stories to pick up. Given Doctor Ogron’s ultimate fate, there is every potential that he could return as well, a most welcome proposition that speaks to the strengths of the character developed in such a short time. While it fortunately seems as though the Twelve will be a recurring character at least in the short term for McKenzie to continue to develop the intrigue she so innately holds, ‘Planet of the Ogrons’- like the preceding serials- suffers only from too many ideas without enough time to thoroughly explore them all in detail. Still, this is another strong and enjoyable tale that shows the Daleks’ continuing war efforts and the surprisingly conflicted paradigms that even this most single-minded race can sometimes experience.

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