GUEST POST: Dark Eyes Dissection #1

by Z.P. Moo

Dark Eyes, or Dark Eyes 1 as it’s retroactively known, picks up the pieces where the finale to Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor Adventures (EDAs) left off. Where that set ended the Doctor has just lost some friends. Not only have two companions, Lucie and Tamsin, been killed during a fight with the Daleks but also his great-grandson Alex. There are arguments you could make that this is a serious case of fridging and I won’t really bother to argue because that assertion is probably and unfortunately correct. But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about, if you want me to go off on one about why the practise of fridging is bad then you’ll have to wait for my analysis of Dark Eyes 4’s finale, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The cover debuts a new look for this incarnation suggesting he has moved on to a new chapter in his eighth life. Gone are the long flowing hair and the Lord Byron ensemble, in their place come a more practical shorter hairstyle and a leather jacket, the latter of which will be a mainstay for the two incarnations that follow this one. Is that a deliberate choice of foreshadowing? Although the War Doctor was still unknown to us at this point we cannot say the same of the Time War. From his new costume alone we can see that the Doctor is growing closer to what he shall become during the Time War. And there are indeed hints that such a conflict is on the horizon, which we shall see as we go on through the Dark Eyes saga. You could accuse me of reading too much into it, but the point of the new look for the Doctor is clear enough: He’s just learned the hard way that the universe doesn’t play fair and after the tripple-whammie of To The Death he’s had enough. This is where we pick up the story in the opening entry, The Great War.

I AM OBLIGED TO WARN YOU THAT FROM HERE ONWARDS THERE WILL BE SPOILERS

dark-eyes-11062015

The Great War

The very first scene of this opener sets the tone immediately for how the Eighth Doctor’s next set of adventures will look and feel. He is desperate to see that the universe isn’t as cruel a place as it has just appeared to him to be and where better to go than its very end?

We begin with him alone in his TARDIS hurtling through the time vortex and the Doctor is nattering away to himself. The obvious point of comparison here is his very first Big Finish appearance Storm Warning, which opens in a similar manner. But in that story (which is brilliant by the way and you should go listen to it) the opening sequence with the Doctor in the TARDIS is a lighthearted affair. He’s flying around trying to avoid space pterradactyls, vortisaurs if we’re being technical, and the scene has a joyful feel to it – It’s the Eighth Doctor! It’s Paul McGann! It’s a continuation of Doctor Who! All is right with the world! – and this couldn’t be further from that. Here he’s cross and he’s angry and he’s totally lost all hope. It’s a very different Eighth Doctor to the one that Big Finish had been giving us for the last decade or so and by contrasting it to his very first scene with them that difference is hammered home effectively. It’s a definite statement of intent from writer Nicholas Briggs and there’s no doubt that we’re in for a new experience from what we’ve heard before.

And into the Doctor’s hopeless situation comes a Time Lord, Straxus. This isn’t just any Time Lord, this is the very Time Lord who put Lucie into the Doctor’s care in the first place and the whole thing is tied back into the source of the Doctor’s distraught state because he is (indirectly) behind it, so who better to send the Doctor on a mission that can fix that problem for him?

The theme of Time Lord intervention is a driving force behind the narrative and so it makes total sense to introduce that at the very beginning of the opening story. Heck, Straxus literally represents the Celestial Intervention Agency or CIA. Not very subtle, but it’s a concept dating back in Who to the 2nd Doctor that the expanded universe has picked up and ran with, and I like it. Gallifrey has been portrayed historically as bunch of upper class out of touch old white men and it remains an excellent source of political commentary to this day. As I write this, the most recent appearance of the Time Lords was in Doom Coalition 4 (which is a masterpiece by the way) and that has scenes where they literally use the words “I’m with her” in defiance of a villain who obviously represents the toxic side of patriarchy. Here in Dark Eyes 1 it’s the issue surveillance and intervention that’s brought up for commentary and the double-edged sword that comes with it. These themes are much more prominent in the finale of this first set so I’ll dig deeper into that there, but it’s introduced here.

Straxus sends the Doctor on a mission that will bring him hope, which apparently means going to the battlefields of World War One. That’s not where I’d expect to be going if I wanted to get hope and not despair but there you go. And yet, I think that’s supposed to be the point. It’s only in the darkest of places that hope is the most useful thing to have, as I’m sure some philosophers have found much more eloquent ways of saying. Almost immediately the Doctor is struck down by gas, as if he hasn’t gone through enough hardship recently, and this is how he meets Molly O’Sullivan.

Molly is working for the Voluntary Aid Detachment and we see her being constantly put down by her superiors. She’s not technically a nurse and the people there that are will take every opportunity to remind her of this and talk down to her. Even when she helps the wounded and gets thanks from them for it she isn’t able to appreciate this because she’s at the same time being told off for their mistaken belief that she’s a nurse. She’s done nothing wrong and is just trying to help yet she never gets the recogniton for her important life-saving work.

When the Doctor shows up and is being his usual charming self it should come as no surprise to anyone that Molly dismisses him immediately and grows suspicious, and his impossibly quick recovery from his gas exposure doesn’t help much. But her lashing out isn’t just because she’s downtrodden so much, there’s also a tragic element to it. The woman she came to France with Kitty Donaldson is off dying from gas gangrene. The parallels with the Doctor’s own situation are hard to miss, Molly too is losing someone close to her, she is unable to do anything about it, she has nobody she can talk to about it, and she reacts by lashing out. If she were able to run away from it she probably would, just as the Doctor is when we meet him in the first scene. The parallel is very striking. (And if you’ll permit a touch of headcanon here, I’m conviced that these two have got a thing for each other. Which is strange since Kitty shares an actress with Molly’s mother.)

It’s still not enough for the Time Lord and VAD to come together as a Doctor & Companion combination though. For that we need to go to another wartime trope and give them a common enemy. This takes the form of a returning villain from previous Doctor Who serials, but which one might that be, I wonder? See if you can guess.

Is it:

  1. A) The Krotons
  2. B) The Zarbi
  3. C) An Abzorbaloff
  4. D) …

Look, it’s the Daleks, okay? They’re right there on the cover, even though their arrival is a cliffhanger. Doctor Who loves doing that with them, the practise dates right back to 1967 and The Evil of the Daleks, it’s kind of their party piece by this point. Having said that, they are actually used really effectively in spite of remaining an unseen presence until quite late on. We instead have the Doctor being kidnapped and falsley accused of murder by an American doctor (actually a Dalek agent), and Molly is forced to make a choice between which of these two doctors she trusts. She is confronted by someone she thought she trusted turning out to be an enemy. It’s an interesting concept and one that is paralleled by what the Doctor faces in the finale, so it’s a shame that this idea is so swiftly brushed aside so that we can launch into the second story and have a runabout through time and space with Daleks. But at least it was a good idea?

I get the impression I’ll be saying stuff like that a lot as I go on through this saga, especially the fourth set. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

 

Fugitives

Fugitives

The second story picks up right where the first leaves off, with the Dalek cliffhanger reveal happening (in that most Dalekky of cliffhanger reveals because everyone but the characters can see it coming from a mile off), so off we go to the Doctor’s TARDIS and Molly finds herself inside it…and actually isn’t shocked by its size inconsistency. This is a new idea that we haven’t really seen since Romana in The Ribos Operation (although in The Vampires of Venice Rory Williams comes close) and I rather like it. If you want an explanation for how she apparently knows the workings of his “tardy-box” then you’re out of luck. There’s some stuff in the third and fourth stories that could potentially explain it, but even then the credibility is tad stretched. It’s one of those things that boils down to…

briggs

Having said that, it’s a different approach to bringing in a new companion for the first time and so I have to praise it for that much.

Fugitives is a story about the introduction of a new companion and it’s clearly a victim of the Four Story Boxset format’s limitations. It can feel like three stories in one. You’ve got the first time in the TARDIS and the subsequent trip to Molly’s future, specifically a brief stop in WWII where they lose the TARDIS and have to get back to it. You’ve got a trip to 1970s London where they find themselves meeting a scientist named Sally Armstrong (she’ll be important in the next two boxsets) but then the Daleks emerge and give chase. The Daleks kill her and the Doctor is distraught at losing yet another friend. After returning to the TARDIS, Molly turns the Doctor away from his greif and they go off to some planet where they go Zero Gravity swimming with dolphins.

.   .   .

THE TONAL WHIPLASH, IT HURTS!!!!!!!!

I have a theory that this series started life as a fifth EDA series and that Fugitives would’ve been three different stories and that as EDA 5 morphed into DE1 that idea got lost in the mix. I have no idea if that’s true or not, and I doubt I’m the first to suggest it, but if it turns out to be the case then I wouldn’t be surprised. In fact you can see the traces of it throughout the two stories following this one, in Tangled Web and then X and the Dalek, which both feel like two stories combined into one.

If that were the case then it could’ve been a much better run. For one thing the rushed pacing and tonal whiplash wouldn’t be an issue. It would’ve allowed us for a set of stories to ease-in the new companion Molly. We have the “pure historical” in WWII, where they lose the TARDIS and have to get back to it whilst avoiding the historical conflict, followed by the obligatory Earth Invasion story, and finally a trip to an alien world.

Thematically speaking there’s not really much to pick up on here, and I think that’s a result of the rushed pacing. That’s not to say it’s without merit though, I want to pick out how it establishes that most NewWho of things with Molly by slowly revealing that she’s The Most Important Person In The Universe. This aspect of the plot works really well and establishes a mysetry that the next two stories will attempt to explain, but the key is subtlety. Throughout The Great War we learn that Molly’s dark eyes (for which the series is named) are of some importance and the Doctor’s tracking them down with his sonic screwdriver. Now in this one he learns that her very surname literally means “dark-eyed” and we see the Daleks with some mysetrious figure named Kotris discussing her as the “random human female” at the heart of his villainous plans.

It’s been a key theme throughout NewWho (and occasionally ClassicWho did it, like with Ace) that the Doctor’s companions are important to the universe’s well-being in some way – The Impossible Girl Clara, Girl Who Waited Amy, Supertemp Donna, and so on – and I like it when it’s done well, such as here. It’s an important message for the audience to hear that the ordianry person can be special no matter how often their peers tell them otherwise. Doing this for Molly picks up the thread of The Great War where she was being put down all the time by her superiors and told off for doing nothing wrong and it’s brilliantly done.

For interesting themes in Fugitives, that’s about it. Lots to comment on, mostly criticising it, but very little by way of thematic stuff. But what little there is of that is really interesting.

tangled_web

 

Tangled Web

This third story is where things begin to get more complicated (as the title probably suggests) and it does really feel like two stories in one, relating back to my EDA series five comments above. One of them is about child abduction and the other is about National Socialism and racial prejudice. Fun times!

So going one at a time, the first half is set on Molly’s second birthday as the Doctor decides that since that was when she apparently got her dark eyes it is there that they should go to to investigate. And we get ourselves a great twist when we learn that she was kidnapped and taken into a TARDIS by Kotris. What did he do to her? It’s left unclear (for now) but a bigger concern for the Doctor is how someone who he can tell isn’t a Time Lord could possibly have a TARDIS. The message that’s being given is an unusual one. A stranger abducts a child and he does something to her that will cause her some problems in her adult life. It’s more than a little bit awkward to listen to. I’m also somewhat confused as to why her parents are strangley okay with her suddenly having her eyes go dark after this encounter. It’s not easy listening at all, but then I guess that’s the point?

While this is going on we see Kotris later on observing these events and witnessing the Doctor’s own observations of him earlier on. (Timeywimeyness is a big theme of the saga from here on and this is tame compared to what Dark Eyes 3 & 4 have in store for us.) What is the point that Briggs is trying to make? I reckon it ties back in to the opening scene of The Great War where Straxus is sent to intercept the Doctor; while there the Doctor being observed was for his own good and proved beneficial for him, here it leads him into trouble. The double-edged sword of state surveillance and intervention is brought up again, but the implication is of people from outside the system being able to use the same methods for evil purposes so perhaps not the damning critique of the state that it could have so easilly become? Kotris is in league with the Daleks and the Time Controller is the main villain among their ranks. What can I say about the Time Controller? Not much. He’s potentially an interesting villain but he won’t come into his own truly until series four’s The Monster of Montmarte and until then he just sits around being just another leader of the Daleks.

After these scenes end we get what would ideally be our cliffhanger if this were a better-paced boxset than it is, as the TARDIS (being influenced by Kotris and the Time Controller) is brought to a stop and the Doctor calls out Lucie’s name before collapsing. The sound of the Daleks outside the TARDIS can be heard and … cliffhanger!

But no, it’s still Tangled Web. The same story continues into a spot of tonal whiplash as we suddenly find the Doctor coming-to on an unknown planet. Molly helps him recover and he finds that the two of them are in a city where Daleks are claiming to have seen the error of their ways. Daleks are playing with children in flowery fields. They are caring for the Doctor in a hospital. This place is Skaro after 1000 years of peace. The Daleks are in the process of deevolving into Kaleds again.

And while Molly is totally fine with this, the Doctor refuses to believe any of it can possibly be real. You might even call him … prejudiced. It makes for an extremely fascinating and unique portrayal of the Daleks and shows them in a totally new light. This race of Space Nazis has become friendly? And yet the Doctor is unwilling to recognise that the Daleks could possibly see what’s wrong with their toxic idealogy and turn their powers for good.

And okay, it is the Daleks and they are Space Nazis (for all its qualities Genesis of the Daleks is the least-subtle satire you’ll ever see, which is a topic I’ll steer clear of because that’s a whole separate article and my friend Sam has already written it) [Editor’s note – I did. Will be published in a few weeks] but that doesn’t mean that the Doctor’s prejudice is okay. Why? Because 1000 years have allegedly passed in which they’ve risen above that. If you want a real-life comparison then look to Germany. They went Nazi in 1933 and stayed that way until WWII ended 12 years later. The ideology remained around for a long time afterwards though (and some would suggest it still exists in some places today in new “alt” forms) but for the most part we recognise Hitler’s reign as an evil force that deserved to be as utterly defeated as it was. But to look at Germany as it is today, when we are still less than one tenth of the time period for Skaro in Tangled Web, and you wouldn’t recognise it as the same nation because that ideology has been all but wiped out there. In fact Germany today is one of the most open nations in the entire world, almost defiantly so at times, and it certainly trumps a few other nations that I could mention.

And that’s why the Doctor’s prejudice is out of place. He knows how history goes and has seen it himself, he should know that 1000 years is more than enough time for the Daleks’ toxic beliefs to have been removed and even if he’s excused from the culture shock of it he sees the evidence of it for himself and recieves their help firsthand. It’s awkward to consider the implications when he turns out to be absolutely correct.

Oh, but it was all a simulation so it was okay for him to feel like that! No. No it wasn’t.

An obvious comparison can be found in, of all places, The Sarah Jane Adventures serial The Gift. In it Sarah Jane meets the Blathereen aliens from Raxacoricofallapatorius (really Russell, that’s what you call your first newly created world?) and Sarah reaches the conclusion that they must be evil because they look like the crime family Slitheen. It could’ve been an important morality tale for the child audience that show reached out to and taught them an important lesson not to prejudge by having Sarah’s prejudice of them be misplaced – but no, it took the lazy route of having her be right all along and her fear was right after all. That’s not to say that The Sarah Jane Adventures has helped to raise up a generation of alt-right supporters because of one misjudged storyline but still it takes some awkward implications and shoves them in your face at the end of a run of episodes of what is ostentiably a childrens’ show.

And to be fair to Tangled Web it is much better than The Gift was, but not by much on an ideological standpoint. It still has all those same problems, as well as some cool new ones like making the whole thing a simulation that never actually happens and then having the real-life Daleks stay true to what the Doctor believes, so that Molly can’t hold the Doctor to account for his prejudice – a prejudice that is justified by the plot surrounding it. So does that mean that said prejudice is okay? It’s probably not the implication that Briggs was going for but the implication is very present all the same. (And let’s not forget that this is the writer behind Exile’s transphobia and To The Death’s tripple-fridging, so who knows what was really going on in his mind? Not judging him exclusivly on some weaker efforts though because he has a tonne of really really good scripts out there, like The Brink of Death and Beachhead, which redeem him of the lesser efforts I mentioned. There’s a lot of mixed thoughts on his writing that I could devote an entire other article to that, but that’s one for another day so I’ll leave it for someone else to deal with.)

But we’re still not finished with this messy story because after the scenes on Skaro we are launched into a third segment as the reality melts away and the Doctor and Molly have found themselves in some sciencey place somewhere. It’s all a bit weird and out of left field but the key idea here is one that has been in place from the start, that they are being observed both by the Time Lords and by the Daleks, the latter group inclding Kotris. There’s a brief scene where Kotris somehow possesses Molly and says through her that she will be the destruction of the Time Lords and Kotris telling the Time Controller that this is all a ploy to get the Doctor where they want them. Then Straxus shows up with an exposition dump, such as how Kotris was once a Time Lord but now isn’t and they call him “X” due to his being an unknown quantity. Off go Straxus, the Doctor and Molly in Straxus’s TARDIS to find X but then they get rammed into by another time machine and then his TARDIS begins to disintegrate with them all in it, cue cliffhanger. Straxus tells the Doctor to go ahead and leave the rest of them if he can just stop X and the Daleks. Will he do that? That’s the question. After the FakeSkaro stuff forced us to question the Doctor’s morality here we see that being put to the ultimate test and it makes a great end to this section of the story as we wait to see what he will do. But even though this gives it dramtic weight, it doesn’t make the justification of his prejudices okay.

x_and_the_daleks

 

X and the Daleks

Yet another Dark Eyes 1 story that feels like two plots in one! If we had split Fugitives into three parts and then both Tangled Web and now this into two each then we would have an eight-episode EDA series 5 and it would probably be much better-paced than Dark Eyes 1 as we know it. But complaining about that is not what I’m here to do; I’m here to see what interesting themes and concepts we can get out of it.

Up first we have one of Big Finish’s favourite party tricks as they rip-off pay homage to The Dalek Invasion of Earth when, following a spot of cliffhanger cop-out, the Doctor and Molly arrive on Dalek-occupied planet Strangor. What a coincidence that they find an old assistant of Straxus’s who is dying, from whom they learn that Time Lord regeneration is impossible here. Why is it impossible there? Nick Briggs can tell us!

briggs

After a brief runaround in this world Molly ends up falling right into the Dalek headquarters and meets Kotris face-to-face at last, where she inadvertently sets off the events that will lead her there in the first place when Kotris realises that she is full of “retrogenitor particles” (hence the dark eyes) and concludes that she must be the person he goes to when he puts his plan into action later. Yes, it’s gone full timey-wimey!

Meanwhile we see that Straxus is alive after all and faked the whole thing on the president’s demands. And yet his assisstant dying was the real deal, told to sacrifice his life for the cause. They kind of gloss over that point, but I think it’s interesting. The Time Lords are always presenting themselves as benevolent people and yet this is what they consider to be a just thing to order someone. It would’ve been nice if there was a bit more made of this point. What would you give up your life for? The Time Lords expect one of their own to die for their people. It ties in nicely with Molly’s own background in WWI where that was largely the same principle being applied. But that’s all the story really does with this idea, which is a shame because there’s a lot to discuss.

For one thing, it brings to mind all those war poems we remember having to endure in our English Lit lessons at school.

How sweet and honourable it is to die for one’s country”, writes Wilfred Owen. It is obvious from context that he thinks anything but, and by quoting this oft-cited pro-war quote and juxtaposing it with the horrific reality of what dying in this manner looks like. “Sweet” is as far from it as one can get. “Honourable” it may be insomuch as sacrificing oneself for others but most of these people had no expectation of dying, especially in such an unpleasant way. His is just the most high-profile example of someone condemning the waste of lives brought about by wartime, as out-of-touch elite send civilians to die. Briggs in X and the Daleks has a chance to use the Time Lords’ practises in a similar way but he declines the chance by brushing it aside. Oh dear, what a perfect time to write something powerful that Briggs has totally and utterly wasted!

He does come close when he has the Doctor show up and talk Molly out of doing the self-sacrfice thing, but it’s too late now. You had your chance Nick!

After this the Doctor, Molly, Straxus, and random native Nadeyan are all taken hostage by Kotris, the Daleks, and the Time Controller, and the stage is set for the final act … that consists of these six characters talking to each other for a bit. I rather like that idea. Briggs decides to subvert expectations of an explosive finale, for now anyway.

We learn that Kotris injected baby Molly with the retrogenitor particles that would take effect once she came near a Time Lord, as he knew she would eventually meet the Doctor. The idea is that he can then use his space/time projector device to evolve the Time Lords backwards until they cease existing, having undergone gentic changes to be more like the Daleks so that he won’t fall victim to it. This could be seen to tie-in with the self-sacrifice elements brought up earlier as we see Kotris unwilling to put himself into such a position, but this is never called out so it’s hard to say if it’s deliberate but it’s there all the same.

His motives are the most fascinating part of this story, as we discover exactly which Time Lord he is. Kotris is the next incarnation of Straxus!

Now that’s a seriously good twist. It’s not quite on par with the likes of Yana being the Master, John Hurt being the Doctor, or Amy being a ‘ganger, but it’s still a bloody good one.

Remember right at the beginning where Molly’s trusted American doctor turned out to be a Dalek agent? Well here the Doctor’s semi-trusted Time Lord acquaintance turns out to be destined for the same eventuallity. As is sadly becoming standard procedure for Dark Eyes 1 this parallel is something that you have to go looking for and it isn’t really brought up properly, but it’s there and The Great War was foreshadowing it as that was the only thing in Molly’s storyline that the Doctor’s didn’t have a parallel to. But if foreshadowing is as subtle as this then maybe it isn’t really intended as such at all. It’s not very effective foreshadowing, that much is clear. But at least it’s there, I guess?

The themes that have been present all throughout Dark Eyes 1 of intervention and surveillance are brought up once again, and Kotris provides us with a good critique of this concept. He has considered what the Time Lords had his previous incarnation (and other CIA agents) do and he thinks it’s morally repugnant. He has become a moral crusader but has gone about it totally the wrong way with his violent methods of an attempt to eradicate the Time Lords entirely. He has a good motive – stop the Time Lords from abusing their power – but he’s fallen in with the wrong crowd, the Daleks. The Time Controller has taken advantage of his outrage and disenchantment, and he is manipulating Kotris into an extremist position. It’s the same story we hear again and again nowadays, someone is upset about what the state does but vents his frustration and anger in a violent way, and seeing a Doctor Who villain from this kind of background is an interesting new idea that we haven’t really seen enough of. It’s refreshing and relevant.

It’s also an interesting way of presenting the Time Lords. Kotris tries to argue that he sees them as even worse than the Daleks, and this is actually not entirely untrue. It fits with what we’ve seen repeatedly in NewWho, and even though the 8th Doctor doesn’t agree with it here in this story it is a viewpoint that the upcoming Time War will see prevail throughout the universe and ultimately cost him that particular lifetime when he falls foul of someone who believes it, as seen in The Night of the Doctor. It’s a view that in The Day of the Doctor will cause his War incarnation to destroy both races at once. It’s a view that the 10th Doctor would state to Wilfred Mott in The End of Time and it’s something that the 12th Doctor would learn the hard way in Face the Raven and Heaven Sent / Hell Bent. Although X and the Daleks is set long before all of these stories it’s very much the prevailing view that the Doctor Who canon has always clung to. It’s even confirmed canon that the first shot of the Time War was the Doctor’s effort to prematurely destroy the Dalek race in Genesis of the Daleks and thus their endless conflict was of the Time Lords’ own making.

There’s a compelling case to be made for what Kotris says when you stop and think about it. The Time Lords are just as bad as the Daleks but in a different way. While the Daleks want to exterminate all life that isn’t Dalek, the Time Lords seeks to destroy the entirity of time and space except for their own people. Such lovely guys.

The Time Lords have of course figured out what Kotris was up to and have sent Straxus to change the workings of the projector so that it will destroy Daleks instead. Naturally Kortis sees this as a motive to switch allegiance to the Strangor native Nadeyan and promises him the new timeline where the Daleks never invaded and Nadeyan’s family are all alive. All that needs to happen is Molly dying from the use of the retrogenitor particles inside her. But Nadeyan gives us YET ANOTHER HEROIC SACRIFICE because he won’t have another person die, and he destroys the projector instead and himself with it. And the Doctor is totally fine with this, apparently.

Straxus’s interfeering is yet more of the Time Lords keeping their own hands clean while sending someone else to do their dirty work for them of Dalek destruction, but when Nadeyan dies putting a stop to this it’s the Doctor’s endgoals that are achieved as he prevents a genocide at the cost of someone else’s life, whilst being able to wash his hands of the consequences. Perhaps the Doctor isn’t the clean moral hero he so often presents himself as? Sadly the only person to call him out on the double standard is Straxus so the point Briggs makes about the Doctor’s double standard is undermined somewhat.

And then the Time Controller, seeing his plan to elimintae the Time Lords has been lost, decides to exterminate the younger Straxus. Since regenration is still impossible here this means that Kotris never comes into being and thus these events all never happen. Molly’s eyes cease being dark, Kotris disappears, the Dalek invasion doesn’t happen, and everyone that died (except Straxus) is now alive again. The Doctor, Molly, and the Time Controller are the only ones who will remember any of what happened.

The story ends with Molly going back to the battlefields of WWI where we first met her because now Kitty Donaldson is no longer dead. Molly has hope for seeing her friend again, the Doctor has his hope that the universe can be a good place restored once more, and the narrative of Dark Eyes 1 has come to its natural end point.

Except that it isn’t the end. This is only one quarter of the series.

 

 

Final Thoughts

I have been very critical of this boxset in places, but that’s always going to happen with something of this nature. Overall Dark Eyes 1 is a very strong run of episodes and in spite of some serious pacing issues, occasioanlly questionable morals, some controved plot elements, and a frequent failure to make some of the points it wants to, I do still highly recommend it be listened to, if only to meet my personal favourite of the 8th Doctor’s seven (at time of writing) known companions.

You want my advice? Stop Dark Eyes here and skip ahead to Doom Coalition. Come say hello to Liv, Helen, Padrac, The Eleven, Caleera, and Cantica. Don’t bother with Dark Eyes 2, 3, & 4. I live in denial and insist that Dark Eyes ended here, and we shall see why that is as I explore the remaining three boxsets in future articles. But at least the rest of it has Alex MacQueen’s Master in them, so that’s something positive to look forward to, I guess?


 

About the author:

Z. P. Moo is a cow who watches Doctor Who a lot. (He may or may not REALLY be a cow called “moo” but that’s what he tells us.) According to some accounts he’s a human that studies physics for a living, but claiming he’s an anthropomorphic Gallifreyan cow is much more fun. Also contributor on Warped Factor.

 

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3 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Dark Eyes Dissection #1

  1. Very strong piece! Just one small correction from me:
    The Celestial Intervention Agency was featured with the Second Doctor, but that was in The Two Doctors, which is probably better described as a Sixth Doctor story.

    From what I can see it first featured in The Deadly Assassin.

    Like

  2. Pingback: TIBERIAN THOUGHTS – Game of Thrones, the Fantasy Ghetto and “To the Death” | DoWntime

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