The House of Kingdom

Posted in Audio by - April 18, 2021
The House of Kingdom

Released April 2021

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With no TARDIS to escape in, the Doctor, Anya Kingdom, and Mark Seven begin an expansive look for a scientist who specializes in time travel to help them on their quest in Andrew Smith’s finale to Dark Universe 1, ‘The House of Kingdom.’ When an attack on a space station alters their plans, however, they soon find themselves on their way to Neptune when rescued by Anya’s grandfather, Merrick, a man who signifies the betrayal and loss of the Kingdom family.

This is anything but a happy family reunion for Anya, and the deaths of Anya’s mother, her aunt Sara, and her uncle Brett are revealed to still be significant wedges between these two given her father’s earlier decisions to maintain confidentiality. Anya’s steadfast beliefs are an intriguing parallel to the Doctor’s own about her, and it’s fitting that the Doctor who himself made the most extreme sacrifice in the Time War should be the one to talk about potentially misdirected blame when taking into account the true evils of the universe and how individuals must act to serve the greater good. Kevin McNally and Jane Slavin realistically portray the nuances of a fractured familial relationship, and Anya’s begrudging willingness to attempt to reconcile that breaks through her initial coolness is an intriguing dynamic that plays into the buildup and eventual downfall of this misguided man who is so set on ending the Dalek wars.

The Daleks, in their way, are perhaps the greatest unifier in the universe, and any idea to thwart their spread and inevitably destructive ways is certainly one worth considering. As such, weaponizing the Varga plants to use at least against the Daleks’ servants if not the Daleks themselves is a chilling proposition that wonderfully updates a classic threat from ‘Mission to the Unknown’ and “The Daleks’ Master Plan.” It also helps to bring in a certain political drama that is perfectly suited for this time period and these serials, one that reveals a darker side to what should ostensibly be the most honourable of professions. This is very much a broken society in which every person and sentient being is not treated nor thought of equally, and money still proves to be a significant motivator when plans change and previous successes come to naught. Much of this is handled with a few succinct lines of dialogue sprinkled through the script, but this specific information goes a long way in building up this time and world that the Doctor finds himself trapped in presently.

With Sheldrake something of a misdirection through the first two stories and the Daleks only fleetingly present in this entire box set, the subtleties and explicit horrors of the individual human threat come to the forefront and capably fill the villainous void here in a much more slowly-paced and dialogue-driven affair than the preceding two. The much-advertised return of the Mechonoids does showcase the dangerous prowess that these world-clearers inherently possess, but that danger is very much a secondary factor to the far more insidious evil that comes to feature. Still, Nicholas Briggs expertly captures the intonations of the Mechonoids first seen in ‘The Chase’ and successfully brings back to life one of the less-recognized creations that stemmed from a Terry Nation script. Unsurprisingly, David Tennant gives another sterling performance as his Doctor uncovers the truth of the situation before him, and although David Sims is thrust into more of a supporting role in this story that doesn’t have quite the same frenetic energy as its predecessors, ‘The House of Kingdom’ proves to be an intriguing and personal ending to this first box set that has confidently begun an exploration of everything the Dalek threat has entailed.

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