The Perfect Prisoners Part Two

Posted in Audio by - February 16, 2019
The Perfect Prisoners Part Two

Released February 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With the Doctor learning just how much of what he assumed to be true is false in heartbreaking fashion, his friends and he now know who the true mastermind of the Syndicate treachery is in John Dorney’s ‘The Perfect Prisoners Part Two.’ But as alliances and even reality itself shift, nobody is safe as the influence of furtive machinations threaten to expand far beyond the limits of this galaxy alone.

John Dorney as the script editor of The Syndicate Master Plan has naturally been involved with the entirety of the series, but this particular half story feels like the one he was yearning to tell, continuing his systematic elimination of the Syndicate members until only the assumed final member reveals the secretive member from Earth. Fortunately, the journey to reach the Technic Zaal on Earth is a fascinating one, the conscious nebula and Malpha each providing unique insight into the fragile alliance and the latter accepting defeat at the hands of the Doctor all too graciously given his past record. Of course, it’s this latter point that the Doctor finds the most distressing, not because he has been wrongly accused but because it’s his presumed companion who has been targeting these members with knowledge of their locations far in advance of what even the Space Security Service has been able to attain in their lengthy investigation. Proving that the violent flashes glimpsed in earlier stories are the norm rather than the exception for Anya Kingdom whose sleeper identity has been exposed due to the Doctor’s actions, she eagerly continues her calculated and murderous trek through the Syndicate’s ranks, the Doctor realising that he has been used as a scapegoat for her actions because of the reputation he holds with these particular individuals.

Full credit must be given to Jane Slavin who plays the duality of her character perfectly as the more assertive Anya steers events while tapping into the softer but equally determined visage of Ann whom she is aware of in a fringe capacity as needed to best ensure she always has the advantage. Similarly, though Tom Baker continues his commanding and beguiling performance as the Fourth Doctor with seeming ease no matter the circumstances thrown at his character, he also deserves plaudits for the shock, heartbreak, and even simmering anger he is able to bring out as he learns the truth behind the woman he has come to trust and enjoy so much while admitting that he should have realised that her backstory wasn’t exactly the most detailed. This is rarely charted territory for this character who has been so thoroughly explored over the many decades, and it fleshes out the central conflict here to magnificent effect, especially when Anya turns her murderous sights on the Doctor and the accompanying SSS agent.

Any good script featuring a machine that could alter perceptions wouldn’t just limit it to events going forward, and Dorney maximises the potential of this concept by revealing that even portrayed events in the first half of the tale and before cannot be taken at face value. Following an audacious escape that exploits K9’s abilities, the Doctor finds himself confronting the unique powers of the Technics and the dream machine that filled- knowingly and in some cases unknowingly- the power void left in the wake of the Daleks and Mavic Chen. Ronan Vibert gives an inspired performance that channels the very best of the dangerous but eloquent James Bond villains, and the menace and self-assuredness he is able to imbue into Zaal as he openly talks about his businesslike approach to the influence he now holds both over the general population and his supposed allies alike due to the Syndicate’s joint vision that he furtively co-opted before erasing their memories of what had occurred. With Anya a sleeper within a sleeper and Zaal’s plans expanding to the universe at large, the Doctor’s relatively unseen spore-filled adventure from the preceding story as well as the TARDIS’s prior destinations are put into greater context, and the Doctor’s only hope is to appeal to a lingering shred of doubt to buy just enough time for reality to explosively become just that once again.

This is not a story with a simple and clean resolution, and the loss of Ann is a devastating blow for the Doctor that Anya is not afforded the chance to rectify, her decision not to kill unable to match her proclamation of saving a life in the Doctor’s eyes. With a heartbreaking moment with K9 providing closure- as of now, at least- to the journey of this most mysterious woman alongside the Doctor, ‘The Perfect Prisoners Part Two’ completely destroys and then beings the road to reformation for the Doctor’s erstwhile companion, in the process providing the definitive story of this entire series that excels so much precisely because the Syndicate as a whole is dropped in favour of one incredibly suave and dangerous villain.  Though The Syndicate Master Plan is something of a misnomer for how the series ultimately developed, the journey has led to a wholly satisfying conclusion that leaves one wondering just how events could have played out had Zaal and his plans been more overtly involved earlier on even if still unknown to the Doctor.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.