Tangled Web

Posted in Audio by - November 07, 2018
Tangled Web

Released November 2012

With the Dark Eyes saga beginning to take form with the first instalment introducing a bold new companion and the second highlighting many key ideas and events waiting to be fully developed, ‘Tangled Web’ as the third entry finally begins to provide some of the needed answers and backstory for the ongoing mystery surrounding Molly O’Sullivan’s mysterious past as reality itself comes into question.

Through the chaos and confusion of the preceding adventure, Molly had the wherewithal to state that the TARDIS seemed familiar to her when she first stepped aboard, and the ease with which she takes to the TARDIS controls as the Daleks continue to appear wherever they materialise rightfully results in the Doctor casting upon her a suspicious eye. However, even the battle-tested Doctor who has seen so much is thrown for a loop when the two suddenly appear on a Skaro populated by peaceful semi-demutated Daleks looking for redemption for their past actions in their famed city of imposing architecture bedecked in vibrant flowers. He has always hoped that somewhere deep down the potential for something beyond pure evil exists within the Dalek race, but his multitude of encounters with these creatures has taught him time and time again that they have no chance of redemption even as very clear evidence to the contrary meets his gaze, and fittingly the mention of an all-encompassing and all-destructive war between the Daleks and the Time Lords is something even he cannot bring himself to consider as a serious possibility.

Unsurprisingly given the audio clues, though still somewhat sadly given how riveting and full of potential this version of Skaro is, the Doctor is correct in his assumption that something is amiss as the true Daleks eventually appear and exterminate those responsible for creating the illusion. Instead, the true lasting weight of ‘Tangled Web’ comes from the story of Kotris, a rogue Time Lord whom the Time Lords have simply classified as ‘X’ and who took Molly who went missing from her village on her second birthday into his ship to make changes to her genetic makeup. He makes no secret of the fact that he wishes to destroy his own race, and he plans to use Time Lord technology in the form of a relativity map as well as Straxus whom he saves from suicidal death to accomplish his audacious goal. Though the use of the alias ‘X’ rather than calling him Kotris does rather hint at this figure’s true identity too bluntly given the small ensemble of key characters introduced so far, the groundwork has certainly been put in place for a bombastic finale, and Molly fervently insisting she has no knowledge of any of this despite her actions as she continues to try to frame events within the context of her own time and to worry for her beloved mistress adds an extra layer to the mystery and the character that works wonderfully.

The Daleks and the Germans of the Nazi era have always been intrinsically related through blunt allegory, but having Molly make that comparison given her own experiences is an effective moment that underscores her own belief that both races can be forces for good given what the Germans must likewise think of the British in her wartime home setting. Though ‘Tangled Web’ is the second consecutive story in which the Doctor and Molly together takes precedence over the many locales that come to feature, the stunning vocal work of Nicholas Briggs as a wholly unique type of Dalek alongside the genuinely intriguing mystery behind Molly and her associations with Kotris’s own malevolent desires that continue to develop make this a strong character piece that is easily able to overcome a vast segment of filler material to lead into the conclusion on a high note.

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