Dark Gallifrey: Morbius Part Three

Posted in Audio by - June 23, 2024
Dark Gallifrey: Morbius Part Three

Aired 22 June 2024


Tim Foley’s ‘Morbius Part Three’ brings the first trilogy of the sprawling Dark Gallifrey to a close with Morbius now brought back to life and with Captain Argento using the Horn of Rassilon to call for help from the legendary figure but receiving a most unlikely response.

While the Morbius story to this point has taken a fairly unexpected route by not necessarily featuring the criminal Time Lord as an overt and direct threat, the ambition of the narrative has nonetheless been impressive both in its overall scale and in its attention to detail with each of its characters as the many shifting truths and dangers become clear around them. True to form, Samuel West is mesmeric as three distinct iterations of Morbius here that- whether as a hypnotic vocal manifestation, a physical interface, or the true returned figure- spectacularly highlight the lack of morality as well as the undoubted intelligence and charisma of this figure who so fully earned the ire of his people at large. This is a figure high upon the pantheon of the Doctor’s most dangerous foes, and the three intrinsically linked forms all help to further showcase the impulsiveness and unscrupulousness that make him such a uniquely layered menace that refuses to be contained or defined as he looks to act on his grievances against his own people regardless of the consequences to anyone in his way.

With the focus of Dark Gallifrey reportedly being on the more nefarious figures from throughout Time Lord history, the announcement that the Fourth Doctor would feature in this episode as well was somewhat surprising despite the obvious connection between Morbius and him from ‘The Brain of Morbius.’ However, the means by which he is incorporated here as a very unique manifestation in response to Argento’s summons to Rassilon brilliantly ties into Gallifrey’s future from the perspective of these events while also serving as something of prequel and sequel to that televised serial. The characters of the Doctor and Morbius bounce off of each other brilliantly to add further definition to each, Morbius seeming ever more powerful and the Doctor ever more expressive and even playful despite the obvious stakes at this crucial point in history. This is one of Tom Baker’s finest performances in recent releases that absolutely captures everything that makes his Doctor such a beloved incarnation, and his presence and performance are an absolute perfect complement to the strengths of West’s.

Of course, Captain Argento and Gilda are also crucial to these events, and the payoff for their individual and linked stories is immense. This is a time when regeneration is still a fairly new concept, and Argento continues to suffer from a certain inability to reconcile the face looking back at her from the mirror with the person she was and is. Argento yearns for peace on multiple levels while Gilda likewise tries her best to comprehend and adapt to these incredible events that are far outside of her normal experiences, and Foley’s script explores some very dark and deep themes and ideas as both personal and existential dangers mount. Rachel Atkins and Lara Lemon are wonderful throughout and allow each of the twists, developments, and even surprises to resonate fully and logically; while it is likely that these characters will remain constrained to these Morbius tales, both have clearly made their mark and would be most welcome in more stories in the future. With the intriguing notion that Dark Gallifrey is an actual narrative-related idea that will be investigated and explored rather than simply being an overarching title relating to the figures at the core of this series, ‘Morbius Part Three’ more than capably rounds out this saga while seeding ideas for the future of this range that clearly holds so much potential.

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