The Traitor

Posted in Audio by - November 09, 2018
The Traitor

Released February 2014

Though the Dalek Time Crontroller and his Time Lord ally Kotris have been defeated, the danger is far from over even after the timelines have resultantly shifted. With his actions and every step being tracked across all of time and space in Dark Eyes 2, the Doctor must continue his unending fight against the evil that wishes to destroy everything he holds dear as his past, present, and future collide in a most non-linear fashion.

This second series opens of Dark Eyes with Nicholas Briggs’s ‘The Traitor’ on the Dalek-occupied world of Nixyce VII where the only hope of survival for much of the enslaved population is a semblance of decent medical care. Briggs truly cemented his writing reputation with the sprawling Dalek Empire epic, and there is arguably no single person greater positioned to write a Dalek tale in the classic vein than Briggs himself. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in many ways ‘The Traitor’ feels like a missing instalment of that epic given the incredibly oppressive atmosphere created and the use of a woman who inspires hope but who can likewise be deemed a traitor by helping people in order to survive under Dalek rule. Here, that figure is none other than Med-Tech Liv Chenka who made quite an impact alongside the Seventh Doctor in ‘Robophobia,’ and though her story as presented there didn’t necessarily scream out for another appearance, Nicola Walker was nothing short of captivating from beginning to end in the role and absolutely deserved the opportunity to further develop this woman who simply wants to do good as here Liv slowly learns that the greatness the Daleks have thrust upon her as she tends to their slaves can be exploited to help swell the burgeoning revolution.

While the Daleks go through the typical beats of enslaving the local population as an underground workforce, here to help create a planetary weapon, the Doctor is surprisingly absent from vast portions of this story which further aids in the world development, but with an assumed alias of Burt Higgins he is nonetheless fully committed to bringing down Dalek tyranny across the cosmos. In fact, while Dark Eyes showed a gradual softening of an Eighth Doctor who had lost all hope, the Doctor presented here seems more willing- as a reluctant warrior or not- to tread into the darker territory that his predecessor so often did as he hopes to guide the Daleks to become his own weapon against something altogether more terrifying. With the Doctor deploying his usual trickery as here he fakes robotisation and then relies on his persuasive charm and forcefulness to convince the freedom fighters led by The Hawk to put their trust in him, it will be fascinating to see just what has brought the Doctor to this state of mind and just what he hopes to achieve after stunning everyone by betraying those around him and allowing the Daleks to emerge victorious.

What ‘The Traitor’ does is a present a classic Dalek story in almost every regard, but it’s greatest success in so perfectly capturing the essence of stories that have come before it is that very little can be deemed original material. Additionally, while Paul McGann and Nicola Bryant give superb performances within this dangerous atmosphere that is so vividly detailed, the remainder of the characters and the exact people whom the Doctor is fighting for fail to develop in the same manner. As such, ‘The Traitor’ is an extremely polished and exciting opening instalment that adeptly sets another exciting core mystery in place with a shocking cliffhanger, but overall it doesn’t quite deliver the nuance of Briggs’s prior epic nor the uniqueness that Doctor Who is still so capable of delivering, offering something of a rapid-fire greatest hits of the Daleks that needs a bit more time to fully reach its true potential.

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