World enslaved by the Daleks, drilling operation, blah blah blah… Reading a brief synopsis of this story could make you believe that Nick Briggs has fallen back on the old reliable tropes of Dalek story-telling. What you’d be forgetting is that this is a story with a very different Doctor at its heart, a Doctor who has renounced the name, determined to be a warrior in the battle with his mortal enemies. There are numerous moments where you expect the Time Lord to act in a certain way – because that’s what the Doctor does – but he doesn’t. It makes for unsettling listening and an unpredictability we’ve not really had in the audio range since the Unbound series (and the early days of the Eighth Doctor when no-one knew that we’d get Eccleston and beyond).
Carolyn Seymour is as good a foil for John Hurt in this tale as Lucy Briggs-Owen was in the first episode, while the all-too-brief scenes between Hurt and the other Time Lords just whet the appetite for future showdowns. We’ve encountered Time Lords like Beth Chalmers’ Veklin before… but again, there are hints that there’s going to be more to her than just the “straight down the line” loyal soldier. Particularly when she learns the truths that the Doctor does at the end of the episode…
Verdict: A strong continuation. 8/10