The Hybrid’s Choice

Posted in Audio by - December 25, 2023
The Hybrid’s Choice

Released December 2023


Marking the beginning of the reported end of The War Doctor Begins saga, Enemy Mine opens with “The Hybrid’s Choice” by Ajjaz Awad-Ibrahim. Believing that Case is dead, the War Doctor and Veklin investigate the strangest of Daleks attacks by which euphoria is the final emotion felt before death. Case’s own fate is far worse than death, however, as the Dalek Time Strategist- who knows that Case’s soul remains in conflict- looks to recruit her to the Dalek cause and seal her fate forever.

Naturally, Awad-Ibrahim has an implicit understanding of the War Doctor and Case given her time in the role of the Doctor’s tortured companion whose hybrid nature has led to such internal strife, and so it’s no wonder that the dialogue for each flows effortlessly with the weighty emotion that each character is carrying at this point. Unsurprisingly given the title, the bulk of the story focuses on Case and the Daleks’ surprisingly strong ploy to get her to fully accept her Dalek nature and to join their cause. Her hybridization allows her to perform an immense hyper-extermination with the personal toll unknown, and that power is simply too strong for the Dalek Time Strategist to let slip by, this powerful being going so far as to proclaim that Case is the only being for whom the Daleks would change their paradigm in order to employ. Nicholas Briggs provides a suitably unique and almost empathetic tone for the Dalek Facilitator who has been trying to get Case to open up and turn to the Dalek cause, and together the Facilitator and Time Strategist excel at again proving just how manipulative the Daleks can be when they sense that an advantage against the Time Lords is within their grasp.

Empathy and therapy are hardly ideas that are readily attributed to the Daleks, and while a few steps in what should be an immensely trying and wrenching process of personal reflection and discovery are by necessity skipped or at least glossed over, Case’s complete loss of trust in the Time Lords and her resultant desire for revenge stemming from her constant state of loneliness and not belonging anywhere is truly palpable and helps to serve as a strong motivating force for this incredibly strong-willed and uniquely vulnerable character. While it’s clear that she has not attempted to see things through anyone’s eyes but her own and to consider the turmoil the Doctor may be experiencing if he believed her to be dead, this unique combination of strength and fragility are precisely what the Dalek Time Strategist needs to fully wedge himself between Case and the Doctor’s entire race. And although it again seems somewhat rushed for Case to accept her role so whole-heartedly and remorselessly in such devastating acts of carnage simply because she understands what she is to the Daleks and what her place is again proves to be a powerful motivator and anchor that makes her eventual reunion with the Doctor all the more profoundly effective and heartbreaking.

Strangely, the weakest part of the script is likely the one that was intended to be the most powerful given the development and sense of history that it finally provides Case. Although both her past and her present deserve to be explored in whole, featuring both elements in something of an intertwined nature makes the past element seem particularly rushed as Case comes to learn about and love the alleged person she once was. Even within the confines of the Daleks’ manipulation and even with Case’s obvious desire and need to be accepted and loved, there simply isn’t enough time to meaningfully get Case to where she is emotionally by the time inevitability strikes and her path is set. Nonetheless, this sequence does show a broken character trying to put herself back together and build herself up just as the Doctor has been doing in his own way while spurred on by an increasingly demonstrative but respectful Veklin, and the ultimate confrontation between the Doctor and Case as he tries to atone and to avoid losing his friend to the Daleks forever is fittingly powerful and leads to a profound culmination that sets this series on a bold new trajectory. All in all, “The Hybrid’s Choice” is an absolutely essential story for the character of Case, and although its fascinating premise truly ought to have been expanded to cover two stories to truly do this character development justice with deep exploration, it shows an immense confidence and also provides another unique look into the Time War and just how much both the Daleks and Time Lords have changed while looking for any semblance of an advantage.

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