Palindrome Part Two

Posted in Audio by - September 18, 2020
Palindrome Part Two

Released September 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

As the Dalek Time Strategist continues its quest to rebuild the might of the Dalek race in the unlikeliest of locations so far away from the Time War, the layers of multiple realities begin to coalesce around Davros and the creations who inexorably follow in his wake in John Dorney’s ‘Palindrome Part Two.’

Of course, ‘Palindrome’ as a two-parter is anything but a palindrome, but the title makes it clear from the start what the intent of the narrative will be and thus removes any sense of mystery and intrigue from proceedings. Instead, it’s the continued spectacular performance from Terry Molloy as this alternate Davros succumbs to his counterparts’ darker inclinations and hatred that creates a truly enrapturing experience. The first episode wonderfully built up the emotional relationship between Davros and his wife, and the ever-altering perception of Charn’s importance and even existence to this man who suddenly begins to experience such an incredible array of emotions and thoughts he never knew existed prove to be a devastatingly effective window into the mindset of this man whose motivations change from so very honourable to anything but.

However, despite the established relationship between Davros and Charn, not quite enough work is done with this Davros to accept how quickly he agrees to the Time Strategist’s plan to fundamentally alter his entire race and reality. Even with the possibility of saving his beloved wife, there is no reason for Davros to accept the notion that the Daleks will be the kind creatures of goodness that he hopes, and a man of science would assuredly look to understand more of the monumental decision facing him in the form of the mutated creature he understands he will make so many others here become. Yet while the decision to set himself down the path of no return is horribly rushed even within the time constraints the plot enforces on him, the mental pain he endures as his own body begins to change to better conform to that of his alternate selves as their malicious thoughts flood his brain and threaten to overwrite his own intrinsic goodness is expertly written and performed. The shock and revulsion of what Davros finds himself at times thinking is balanced perfectly by an increasing certainty and even pride on his deadly path to Dalek domination, although the entire and inevitable relationship between the Daleks and Davros does perhaps unfold too quickly as the relevance of Davros is quickly called into question.

Unsurprisingly given the intrinsic focus on Davros but nonetheless surprising as the second straight story to open this set, the Doctor and Bliss are only superficially involved in the events of ‘Palindrome Part Two.’ Naturally, the animosity between the Time Lords and the Daleks comes to focus as Davros becomes more in line with the figure the Doctor knows of old, but they are ultimately here to provide a voice of reason to contrast to Davros’s maddening descent and ultimately to force Davros to directly confront the life he left behind. These scenes are effective, but they don’t add too much that the internal exploration of Davros in his many mindsets that occurs without them present manages to achieve. This is a technically sound story that provides some of the greatest exploration of Davros as a figure yet even if this is a version initially so distinct from the creator of the Daleks that the Doctor has come to know, but spending so much time with an alternate version who will become critical to the Time War instead of focusing on the rebuilding of a battered known figure who must start anew is undoubtedly brave but ultimately questionable narratively given how few stories remain in this series and how sidelined the Doctor and Bliss are as a result.

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