The Enemy of the Daleks

August 9, 2016

Released May 2009

‘The Enemy of the Daleks’ is a dark and gritty affair, tonally perfect for a confrontation between the Seventh Doctor and his most infamous foe. With the Doctor entwined in perhaps the most monumental atrocity of the Dalek War, this is a dark tale about morality and psyche and the effects that war has on both.

As a ship of Valkyries flees the war and heads for a remote human outpost that itself is beleaguered by some unknown disease, writer David Bishop does an admirable job in creating an entire civilization struggling to cling to life. With the Daleks hot in pursuit, the plot is exceedingly streamlined and straightforward, but it unabashedly tackles difficult concepts and forces its characters into difficult situations without allowing for a convenient and easy escape. Perhaps most intriguing is Hex’s personal journey, however, as the everyman who simply wants to do his best to help everyone begins to rethink his decision to join the TARDIS crew. There is a slight discord apparent among the manipulative Doctor, the brutally tough Ace who fits in with the Valkyries with ease, and the heroic but more grounded Hex, but the gravity and consequences of the situations in which he finds himself are truly beginning to take their toll on him.

The titular enemy of the Daleks is a fascinating and intriguing concept as well. Rather than following the cliché and having the Doctor or some other foe from the past resurface, the introduction of the Kesabia is superb. The creation of a scientist determined to win the war at any cost, the Kesabia are parasites that eat metal- tearing through Dalek casings effortlessly- before laying their eggs in within the exposed Dalek mutant. Despite their unequivocal success, the Doctor knows all too well that the Kesabia are on a path to quickly destroy all of humanity in the process of destroying the Daleks. ‘The Enemy of the Daleks’ marks a return of the darker, more cunning iteration of the Seventh Doctor most prominently featured in The New Adventures range, and Sylvester McCoy gives his all to dictate the severity of the situation. His decision to eradicate all of the Kesabia, hearkening back to the Fourth Doctor’s similar conundrum in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is particularly chilling and telling of how much the Doctor has changed over time.

‘The Enemy of the Daleks’ is overflowing with stellar performances, each guest actor matching the intensity that the leads bring. As the script explores the extent and lengths to which each character will go to defeat an enemy, the story continues to offer incredible insight into the inner psyche as well as the external forces in play. Combined with the generally strong production values, the score is powerfully unique and again fits the tone of the story perfectly. With so much else going on it’s easy to overlook the Daleks themselves, and Nicholas Briggs puts in another great effort into bringing the menace to life. The story by necessity puts a unique spin on the Dalek threat, and it’s fascinating to see such a familiar foe in such an unfamiliar situation. In the end, ‘The Enemy of the Daleks’ is a another strong outing for the Seventh Doctor and company, every aspect coming together to form a an engrossing tale that grips listeners from beginning to end.

Wrap Up

The Enemy of the Daleks

Pros

  • + Strong performances throughout
  • + Daleks put into the unfamiliar situation of being the hunted and at a disadvantage
  • + Good exploration of psyche and morality in a time of war

Cons

  • - Rather straightforward plot that challenges the characters but not necessarily the listeners

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