The Kamelion Empire

Posted in Audio by - March 13, 2019
The Kamelion Empire

Released March 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Kamelion is unquestionably one of the most fascinating characters in the long history of Doctor Who, yet he sadly remains of the most unexplored because of the practical limitations that the physical android construct presented on screen. Looking to answer the questions that have persisted about this enigmatic being’s existence both prior to meeting the Doctor and during his lengthy absence from adventures while aboard the TARDIS, Jonathan Morris’s ambitiously closes out this Kamelion-centric trilogy with ‘The Kamelion Empire.’

When Kamelion receives a recall signal beckoning him to his home planet of Mekalion, the Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough soon find themselves entwined in a dangerous and harrowing saga dating back millennia and sprawling across galaxies. Though their companion initially seems reticent to reveal just how he came to be on Xeriphas where the Master found him, Kamelion eventually reveals that he was an ambassador of sorts for the Kamille people who had long ago given up their physical bodies to exist within their Locus device when their sun set forever. However, playing into the vast mystery that surrounds Kamelion even after all of these years, Kamelion must ultimately divulge that the servants such as himself traveled to countless other worlds to assuage their creators’ continuing desire to learn, installing one Kamelion to rule each civilization and utterly destroying any that dared stand up to the universal harmony they represented. With this empire long since fallen and remnants of Kamelion androids littering the ground of Mekalion, the Doctor is naturally affronted by what he has learned and wonders just what other secrets Kamelion is keeping, an accusatory anger that appears wholly justified as Kamelion awakens his fallen kindred and they look set to fully reassert their might.

Even if this backstory goes against what the BBC novels suggested, there is no shortage of powerful and truly engaging ideas throughout, but in many ways this story condenses enough material for an entire trilogy into a running time that doesn’t quite let it fully develop and flourish. Thus, while an interface reveals the four factions that gained significance as a fierce battle that broke out in heaven played out in reality and brought about the empire’s fall in just a day, this bevy of spoken information simply cannot compare to actually having the Doctor and his companions experience its rise and fall directly. In fact, it’s difficult to believe that such a sprawling and brutal empire is completely unknown to the Doctor in his fifth incarnation, especially given the vast resources at his disposal in the TARDIS data banks on top of his own personal experiences and knowledge to this point. Unfortunately, relying on previously undisclosed facts is a continuing facet of ‘The Kamelion Empire’ as the Doctor makes mention of a PA system in the TARDIS and stealthily sets the TARDIS to act in silent mode so that his plan can successfully be seen through to fruition, the latter a narrative shortcut that again proves just how much more expansive this tale could have been if given the opportunity.

With the Doctor’s assumptions proving correct even as Kamelion’s story about harmony and chaos swerves in an unexpected direction, the true villain fortunately proves to be a captivating presence acting out his forceful desires on two planes with Kamelion caught squarely in the middle. Chaos’s motivations to conquer and re-enter the universe at large may be generic following his pyrrhic victory long ago, but the battle of wills and foresight between the Doctor and him escalates magnificently and constantly proves that no stated fact or assumed locale can be taken for granted. It would have been easy for this back and forth filled with strategy and subterfuge to collapse under its own weight, but it makes the most of what this franchise can offer and in the process helps to compensate for the battle within the Locus and the strange alien presence upon Makelion that don’t really develop in any meaningful fashion.

Simply put, ‘The Kamelion Empire’ is far too ambitious for a single story, and the brief teases of the many fascinating ideas on display hinder rather than amplify what truly is a monumental story waiting to be told. Even without any previous indication that Kamelion was part of such a monumental civilization, the Kamille Empire is absolutely one that deserves to be explored in much finer detail to put all of these events into greater context. With Kamelion asking to be forgotten in order to recover from any mental influence once offered his own quarters aboard the TARDIS and events lead into ‘The Five Doctors,’ however, it seems unlikely that that true story will now come to light, at least not with the impact this story could have delivered. All of the component pieces are in place including strong performances, direction, sound design, and a brilliant depiction of the turmoil external influences can cause Kamelion, but ‘The Kamelion Empire’ is more a series of vignettes that the vast epic its imaginative ideas suggest.

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