The Enemy of My Enemy

Posted in Audio by - November 13, 2020
The Enemy of My Enemy

Released November 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

After leaving Brian the Ood and finding himself a captive of the Daleks once more, the Eighth Doctor in Big Finish’s Time Lord Victorious contributions is shocked to find his oldest foes asking for his help in ‘The Enemy of My Enemy’ by Tracy Ann Baines. With the entire universe in flux with great and thriving civilizations now dead while others that should never have existed continue to manifest, no life or history is assured, and even the Daleks understand that they themselves may also fall victim to this monumental threat.

Unlike ‘He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not’ that served a fairly foundational and introductory role to Time Lord Victorious while only tangentially linking to the overall narrative, ‘The Enemy of My Enemy’ much more directly thrusts the Eighth Doctor into the dangerous variations that the Tenth Doctor’s actions have wrought. To that end, the Wraxians are a profoundly interesting race to introduce, a civilization of warmongers who strive to learn about every culture they deem fit to very literally return to its very base. Their friendly and congenial visage only further underscores just how dangerous these people are, and the sheer power of the devolver that they control poses an incredible and tangible threat that few Doctor Who stories manage to achieve. The sheer callousness with which they act- whether they believe it to be in their own best interest or in the universe’s- and the paradoxes they leave in their wake make these new beings of legend an immediate standout, and the cunning foresight and the resultant actions taken to help bring about this particular encounter with the Daleks under the pretense of peaceful negotiations provides a layering and intelligence that rival the Doctor’s shrewdest antagonists.

Yet while Rachel Atkins is sublime as Sarathin of the Wraxians as she hammers home the profound danger that her link to the Dark Times holds, Paul McGann and Nicholas Briggs shine even more with some of their most engaging performances to date. Especially when delivering a variation of the Fourth Doctor’s famed ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ speech as the Doctor here opines about life and death when presented with the opportunity to give the Daleks a second chance at species development away from Davros’s influence, McGann is pitch perfect throughout and more than able to meet the ever-nuanced voices of Briggs and the many iterations of the Daleks he brings to life here. The Eighth Doctor is an incarnation filled with hope and optimism even in these grimmest of hours, and the scheming and manipulation occurring around him as each side tries to furtively outmanoeuvre the other with the Doctor stuck squarely in the middle is a brilliant core conceit that brings the very best of the McGann’s portrayal to the forefront.

‘The Enemy of My Enemy’ is wiling to dedicate plenty of time to the meaningful and philosophical discussions needed for the Wraxian menace to truly resonate, and those slower moments end up being some of the most powerful that Big Finish has delivered in recent memory. Whether taken as a standalone Dalek story or as an integral part to this overarching saga that expertly pieces together certain narrative strands while setting the scene for what is yet to come, this story with its troubled allegiances and genuine scope and threat present everything that a Doctor Who story should regardless of its inclusion in an event series like Time Lord Victorious. Baines may be one of the newer writers under Big Finish’s expanding umbrella, but she has quickly proved herself to be amongst the most ambitious and adroit at capturing everything that makes this franchise so special even when challenged with putting the Daleks into the role that a companion would otherwise serve.

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