Daughter of the Gods

Posted in Audio by - November 16, 2019
Daughter of the Gods

Released November 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Multi-Doctor stories have become increasingly common throughout the televised, audio, and written mediums over the years, meaning that each sequential release has to be all the more impressive to warrant its release as something more than mere fan service. The First Doctor, in particular, offers a fascinating vehicle through which to explore any subsequent incarnation, and as he has likewise enjoyed something of a popular culture resurgence thanks to David Bradley’s flourish, Hartnell’s original as voiced by companion Peter Purves is now poised to cross paths with his immediate successor in David K Barnes’s ‘Daughter of the Gods.’ After narrowly avoiding a collision after Zoe reattaches a piece of old equipment to the TARDIS, the Doctor, Jamie, and she soon find themselves on a world facing evacuation fronted by another man calling himself the Doctor alongside a space pilot named Steven Taylor and a mysterious young woman named Katarina.

Katarina, of course, is famed for being the first on-screen companion to meet her death while traveling with the Doctor, introduced as a citizen of ancient Troy in “The Myth Makers” and seeing her tenure end in the very next story, “The Daleks’ Master Plan.” With no empty space for further adventures available within this stretch, this woman who was so far out of her time and element has always remained something of an enigma and was seemingly destined to always remain so. However, something momentous was needed to validate the meeting of these earliest incarnations of the Doctor, and the fate of Katarina absolutely fulfills that remit as the Second Doctor quickly pieces together just what must have happened to allow his lost companion to gain this second lease on life. Interestingly, and wholly keeping in line with Katarina’s characterisation on screen, she still believes herself to be dead and that the Doctor as a lord is transporting her to her next life, and this gains all the more resonance when put into context with her forthcoming fate that assuredly must befall her to ensure that the universe remains safe from the Daleks and their now-completed Time Destructor.

Barnes quite brilliantly exploits the four-part structure of his story to allow the situations of both Doctors to fully develop before the truth of what has brought them together and what has changed as a result comes forth. This makes the exploration of these incarnations who find themselves so opposed on one key viewpoint all the more effective as the conventional wisdom of the First Doctor is challenged by the facts his future self presents. There is little flippancy or playfulness to the Second Doctor here who fully understands the unintended consequences of his actions despite the glimmer of positivity that has also resulted with the First Doctor taking Katarina under his wing to educate her more fully and allow her to truly experience life for the first time in this haven, and both Peter Purves and Frazer Hines perfectly capture the needed power and cadences of their respective Doctors to realistically bring this unique and multifaceted moral conflict to life with arguably the Daleks’ most powerful threat always present.

While understandably the Doctors’ inherent similarities and distinct differences stemming from this situation form the narrative backbone of ‘Daughter of the Gods,’ the companions are all served quite well throughout, too. In particular, the pairing of Jamie and Katarina as two people in such similar circumstances who hold such different views is a fascinating one, and Jamie’s voice of reason and consternation that can find a common ground with a young woman from even farther back in time than he hails from provides a certain context and element of familiarity to Katarina that would otherwise have been absent. Hines and Ajjaz Awad share a brilliant chemistry, and their surprisingly introspective scenes together mesh well with the efforts of the fiercely brave Steven and unbelievably brilliant Zoe as everyone attempts to find a way to take the fight back to the Daleks. The Doctor in all of his incarnations has always chosen his friends well, and even against this monumental threat that will not be remembered they firmly acquit themselves as a brilliant testament to both the Doctor and humanity.

As Big Finish continues to delve more into the worlds and characters of modern Doctor Who with the casts of the Hartnell and Troughton eras in particular becoming less prevalent as instalments in The Companion Chronicles and The Early Adventures seemingly become less frequent, ‘Daughter of the Gods’ arrives to remind everyone just how immense the morality and both the universal and personal stakes were in those early years and to prove just how much further room for development there still remains within these well-explored eras.

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