Rewind

Posted in Audio by - May 13, 2022
Rewind

Released May 2022

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Every other world within light years of Lacuna has succumbed to the terrifying might of a new breed of Berserker Daleks, but this one planet and its civilization are pulled back from the brink of destruction to relive their final day over and over again in Timothy X Atack’s ‘Rewind.’ One man alone in a distant castle holds the key to Lacuna’s salvation or annihilation, and after more than 400 days of repeated destruction, Ignis Abel is determined to uncover the truth and to break this horrific cycle.

Time loops, of course, are a familiar and standard storytelling trope that allow for both intimate and unique opportunities to explore familiar characters. However, Atack takes the idea of one central character remembering the loops while everyone else naively starts the day afresh one step further with everyone remembering their previous deaths and failures as the Daleks continue their advance. In fact, Atack takes quite a bit of time to build up this world and foundation without the Doctor present at all, using Councillor Ignis Abel with an extended monologue to explain the horrors of having to live through death time and time again and just how that weighs on different individuals. Through discussions with loved ones who both parties know will inevitably perish by day’s end, actions to step away from jobs to find something more pleasant and meaningful in their final day, and a grim determination by some to continue the fight and to try to glean more information about their unbeatable assailants, the many intense emotions flooding this society are poignantly on display to highlight the unique combination of determination and hopelessness at its core.

Homer Todiwala and Julian Forsyth are tremendous in supporting roles as Regis Parenthis who is leading Lacuna’s charge against the Daleks and as Grei Potemic who is looking to advance his own power and position, respectively, but this is very much Ignis’s story to carry, and Sarah Moss is brilliant as a woman tasked with buoying spirits as each day reaches its inevitable end who is also determined to find something more than an acceptance of the final day repeating. Ignis is dedicated to discovering the truth behind the strange lights in the distant castle, and the Doctor’s role in this affair that she continues to uncover through multiple cycles- much to her superiors’ annoyance- brilliantly adds a layer of enigmatic nuance about this incarnation’s morality that is not often so overtly on display. Of course the impending advancement of the Daleks who are so powerfully voiced by Nicholas Briggs once again adds a tremendous sense of immediacy and impetus to the Doctor’s more extreme actions, and Jonathon Carley is superb as this man who is implied to have done something recently that has made him even more strongly forsake his previous title. The Doctor here fully understands the personal hell that these citizens are living time and time again, and while he is seemingly determined to help no matter the consequences to himself or others, the shockingly abrupt ending that provides no absolute answers is a profoundly powerful moment that leaves so much open to interpretation. Whether he succeeds and offers himself a form of redemption in the process, fails and further deviates from his own lofty standards in this morally defunct war, or inexplicably runs away remains unknown, paralleling how ambiguous the War Doctor and, indeed, any action within the Time War confines can be.

Simultaneously incredibly intimate and extremely profound in its scope, ‘Rewind’ brilliantly uses its bold premise to offer an incredible amount of characterization to the Doctor and Ignis on an emotionally-heightened world. Although it would have been even more satisfying to experience more individuals’ heartbreaking conversations with loved ones directly rather than through Ignis’s recounting, the end result is another highlight for The War Doctor Begins audio range that showcases the incredible acting, directing, and sound design that are always on display.

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