Destroyer

Posted in Audio by - December 10, 2021
Destroyer

Released December 2021

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Trapped on Tharius with its worship of war, the Doctor finds himself fulfilling an ancient prophecy that just may make him the ancient Warbringer of this world’s legends in Andrew Smith’s ‘Destroyer.’

Intriguingly, whereas in previous tales the Doctor has quite steadfastly refused to be associated with any sort of name or reputation for war, he here somewhat desperately adopts the moniker of Warbringer to retain a sense of power upon this world he knows to be doomed in order to help the unknowing citizenry. He is more than familiar with the scripture of Tharius and just how he can be seen as the fated figure to lead these people into battle against time and into a great exodus, and his quick thinking as he stalls a disaster highlights just how much of the Doctor’s morality and good intentions still drive this incarnation that he would later strive to forget. Jonathon Carley continues to excel and has now more than mastered this complex character’s nuance, power, and gravitas with aplomb.

Of course, the preceding tale made it clear that something far more nefarious than the simple carnage of a two-sided war was occurring on Tharius, and the arrival of the Daleks as well as the discovery of just how invasive their observation squad has been in all facets of this world further accentuates just how experimental the Time Lords’ foes have become during the Time War and why Velkin and Tamasan are committed to ensuring the destruction of this world regardless of the Doctor’s rather brilliant efforts to continue working against them. While the Time Lords are more than acutely aware of the Doctor’s previous selves’ shared reputation, though, they are also keen to see him adopt the warrior nature they believe they need him to; this is a sentiment that quite spectacularly shows itself as the final scene unfolds, and both Beth Chalmers and Adèle Anderson give strong performances that exemplify their characters’ unified and focused dedication to achieving their aims.

To the Daleks, the Doctor is a disruptive influence whose power cannot be allowed to spread within their system, and they are more than willing to eradicate any hint of loyalty shifting in his favour. The fact that they are unwilling to let this world perish without recouping some of their potential losses proves just how important Tharius could be to their wartime plans, and through Case who finally reclaims her own memories the brutal truth begins to come to light. Case was already a well-developed character even without her memories given the immense drama surrounding her desire to rediscover herself, and the return of her memories and just how the Daleks intend to use her once more only further heightens that internal conflict as she must now pit the person she wants to be against that she has been designed to become. Ajjaz Awad is again wonderful in this role, and the promise of fully learning how she came to be in this position is a strong hook for the final story of this set.

With each successive story, it becomes more and more difficult to do something novel with the Daleks, but ‘Destroyer’ does successfully develop their more passive role within this world’s development to maximize the impact that their newest weapons can hold. Nicholas Briggs again delivers a pitch-perfect performance to bring these dreaded menaces to life so vividly, and the Daleks’ wariness of the Doctor meshes well with their otherwise utter conviction and certainty. The War Doctor and the Daleks will naturally cross paths several more times before the doctor’s ultimate action, but this is another strong episode in the inexorable march to The Moment that pays due attention to the Dalek, Time Lord, and Tharius components to create a wholly satisfying middle instalment that leaves plenty for the finale to explore in more detail.

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