The Death of the Daleks

Posted in Audio by - April 29, 2022
The Death of the Daleks

Released April 2022


After nearly four years since the last Second Doctor collection in The Companion Chronicles range, the third volume has finally arrived, opening with George Mann’s ‘The Death of the Daleks.’ In the aftermath of the Doctor’s extraordinary actions in ‘The Evil of Daleks,’ Jamie isn’t sure that his friend is quite himself as they arrive on the war-torn planet of Tersimmon.

Whether because the vanquished enemy was the Daleks or perhaps because the televised ‘The Evil of the Daleks’ has been lost from the video archives and was only recently recreated through animation, there has been surprisingly little discussion about the Doctor’s emotional state either in the moment or following his monumental actions when the Dalek Emperor finally revealed itself. The Doctor has never been a man to take any life casually and without second thought, but clearly this decision would continue to weigh on him throughout his lives with the emotional repercussions truly manifesting again when the Fourth Doctor was confronted with the option of genocide by averting his greatest foes’ creation altogether. There is a wealth of emotional turmoil to delve into for further characterization and contextualization of the Second Doctor, and ‘The Death of the Daleks’ brilliantly uses Jamie’s perspective to question what the Doctor is feeling and experiencing as he tries to piece together the different thoughts and ideas his friend divulges.

Frazer Hines is absolutely stunning as both the Doctor and Jamie as the Doctor’s mental state and trustworthiness is questioned both in the moment and through a strong interrogative framing device. While Jamie’s uncertainty in the Doctor at this point in their travels seems to nod more to their more limited amount of televised stories together without taking into account the vast number of adventures they’ve had in other media, it’s genuinely and profoundly gripping to hear Jamie wrestle with answering the questions posed to him about the Doctor with any certainty. The Doctor is an incredibly layered and mysterious character in each incarnation, and with a strong impetus to answer questions truthfully, Jamie reveals just how much of the Doctor is left shrouded and how much the companions must learn about the Time Lord simply by witnessing his actions in the most extreme circumstances. Jamie has always been an insightful and genuinely thoughtful and caring companions, and these heightened circumstances in another dangerous locale with his friend not quite himself allow Hines to expertly delve into the many nuances of this character once again.

Impressively, as much as ‘The Death of the Daleks’ initially centres around the Doctor and what he is experiencing as visions of a Dalek Death persist, it just as effectively morphs into something more grim as the reality of what has happened on this world reveals itself. The Daleks certainly do feature, and quite effectively as well given the typically strong performance from Nicholas Briggs, but this is a story very much about ethics and morality when presented with a seemingly unstoppable opposition. In her role as Anya who comes to voice the plight of Tersimmon, Emma Samms is able to convey an incredible amount of emotion and shades that further deepen the weightiness of the material on display throughout this release. This is a far more introspective and emotional story than might be expected given the Daleks’ involvement, but the purposeful pacing, stark visuals, and fairly minimalist sound design help to create a thoroughly engrossing atmosphere for these profound discussions and questions to develop before and after the twist that has been staring the Doctor and Jamie in the face from the start becomes known, making for a brilliant reintroduction to this range and adding an immense amount of characterization and understanding to a beloved leading duo in the process.

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