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Hey girls and guys! I did a review of the first (Award winning) Dark Eyes Boxset, so it’s only fair that I review the next instalment in this epic Eighth Doctor series, Dark Eyes II featuring
Eighth Doctor (Paul “Gorgeous Blue Eyes” Mcgann)
Molly O’Sullivan (Ruth “Dark Eyes” Bradley)
Liv Chenka (Nicola “Awesome till time’s Horizon” Walker)
The Master (Alex “Silky voiced” McQueen)
The Eminence (David “Voice of Nightmares” Sibley)
Dalek Time Controller/The Daleks (Nicholas “Voice of evil pepperpots” Briggs)
*This review contains spoilers so if you haven’t hear it yet, then click on this link, get yourself a box set and don’t complain that I ruined the surprises for you. You have been warned fellow Whovians.
Also, this review is very long.
Going in, I actually didn’t have that high hopes for Dark Eyes 2, but that was only because the first was of exceptional quality and it seemed a really difficult task to beat in quality and drama. That being said, I think that Dark Eyes 2 is a step up from the original. I think I preferred the format of this box set over the previous one.
The stories are very different to the four previous which seemed like one overall story. Dark Eyes 2 is four incredibly different stories which was although have a clear arc, which makes for a really refreshing listen. I think having 3 different writers, (Nicholas Briggs, Alan Barnes and Matt Fitton) helped keep each story it’s own.
Wooo! Daleks again! You can never have too many Daleks Especially when they’re written by the writer the Dalek Empire series and their voice actor. Also the Dalek Time Controller is back and up to his usual guile and cunning. I always love seeing this Dalek back, he’s my favourite Doctor Who villain of all the media. Also facing my favourite Doctor of all time, Eight.
The Traitor features a companion, or rather a character who has encountered the Doctor before (in Audio play Robophobia), Liv Chenka, however it was with different incarnation (McCoy) and so on when she encounters him on this Dalek occupied world she doesn’t recognise him, even when he tells her his identity.
The Traitor isn’t the greatest Dalek Story ever told, but to be fair, it is better than a majority of the new Who televised stories, in that it feels like an extra chapter in the Dalek Empire series (The DTC even references it in the story) with Liv Chenka standing in as the Suz type character and the Doctor a much more moral, Kalendorf. It starts off slow and it never gets really going for me until the very end, when everyone’s running around with mine triggers, trying to evacuate the planet (of both Daleks and slaves) and arguing about each others moral conduct.
It’s entertaining in itself but the secondary characters such as the Last resort warriors aren’t that interesting enough to help Liv Chenka’s revolutionary character. I did however like the Doctor’s stalking in the shadows approach, much like his manipulative 7th incarnation, giving us hints of a bigger picture going on. The same tactic with the Dalek Time Controller sensing something else going on, even before the Daleks find the Doctor’s TARDIS. The DTC tormenting the Doctor over his moral high ground is always as unsettling as it is entertaining and mirrored later/earlier in the Eyes of the Master by McQueen’s Master.
Not the greatest story in this box set but still a cut above the rest, although the last boxset contained Daleks, none of them felt like a true Dalek story whereas this one does. A great story, that felt a bit slow paced to begin with, but all the while had it’s moments and overall was a great listen with a hell of an ending.
The Traitor gets 8.5 out of 10 Last Resort Soldiers pretending to be Robomen.
Molly’s Back! Hooray! Also, what the hell happened to the Daleks?! What happened?! Anyway as it turns out, Dark Eyes 2 is not told in a liner fashion. Which is cool, unless you’re doing something else at the time and have to go back and check if you’re actually listening to the box set in order. But anyway, The White Room is my least favourite story of the Boxset but it’s still a really interesting a great story to listen to and is by no means dull.
This story includes a race of creatures created by Nicholas Briggs (who have a history with the Daleks and the DTC no less) the Viyrans. They’re a race of dedicated (and overly Pedantic) aliens whose mission it is to rid the universe of a store of viruses. Blowing up entire cities or planets isn’t beneath them to achieve such a task.
This story includes a virus which makes it’s victims flesh transparent and is temporally activated. A man who wishes to develop biological warfare, a Spy and Molly’s Dark Eyes returning when she encounters the Doctor again.
I’ve never really found the Viyrans to be all that interesting despite the fact they have some really cool abilities that makes them a threat to the Daleks. Here, they don’t really do much except threaten to cut off limps, seal people in lead boxes and destroy one another. Despite that, the twists and turns made it quite an interesting listen.
Overall it’s a good story, however when paired together with the other stories in the boxset, it’s the least entertaining one of them all.
The White Room receives 7 out of 10 Incendiary devices powerful enough to burn out a large part of Southern England.
2.3 Time’s Horizon (Matt Fitton)
Oh, so that’s where the Daleks went… The Dalek Time Controller is surprisingly polite for a Dalek. I know it’s being sadistic to make the Doctor squirm, but still. I though I’d never hear a Dalek say Thank-you, let alone twice. (Obvious joke BBC Sherlock reference here)
This story is my favourite in this boxset, it’s nicely paced, with a great build up and brings together our two companions, Liv Chenka and Molly O’Sullivan. They make a great team up, a woman from the late 19th Century and woman from the far flung future.
This story takes us to the very edge of Time itself, or Time’s Horizon as it’s referred to in story, a place where nothing exists except a presence known as The Eminence. The Eminence being part of the overall story arc across this box set. It’s essentially a much better version of the televised story 42 with a creature very much like the Flood from the Waters of Mars, except talkative and much more interesting. All the characters are individuals, unlike the Resistance fighters of The Traitor, which in turn allows us to feel sorry or righteous about the fates they receive. The Captain, is an unlikeable character, a scientist who will stop at nothing to gain her glory or save her life, even to be willingly possessed by the Eminence to save her own life only for those ‘Dark Eyes’ to come back into play somehow. I also found the religious character kinda of pitiful yet seeing how someone just wanted to find something akin to hope or make sense of the universe really interesting. Funnily enough it’s the superstitious character who gets snuffed/taken over first.
A mystery spanning over 900 years in space and the presence of another hitching a ride in another’s mind (Another Dalek Empire reference) and someone on board with a double agenda makes this story gripping and intense. References to the first boxset can be found such as the Doctor trying reach the end of the universe/time itself are nice call backs.
Although it’s been a while since I listened to the box set (hence the lack of ability to call back character names) I found every character equally interesting in their own right and can remember their actions and personalities clearly. An absolutely brilliant story, tense and thrilling at every back of the ride. And good lord, David Sibley’s Eminence Voice is the stuff of Nightmares! It’s great. *grins evilly* I like it a lot.
Time’s Horizon receives 10 out of 10 corrupted personality memory sticks.
Starts off with Eight and his best friend the DTC having a cosy chat. Then gets into the Master sucking out some lady’s eyes and replacing them with synthetic replicas.
Don’t ask me what incarnation of the Master this is, all I can tell you is it’s Alex McQueen’s Master and he is magnificent! He has a beautifully silky voice that’s almost hypnotising. No wonder he was chosen to play the Master.
This is my second favourite story in the box set, involving, creepy white eyes, the Eminence, Sally Armstrong as the Master’s ‘pet’ and the Eighth Doctor’s purple beetle. This story is especially great because of the banter between the Doctor and the Master. McQueen and Mcgann have a really great chemistry, even on audio it’s really fun and easy to imagine them snipping and taking shots at each other.
The jibs at the Doctor’s barber and tailors are really great, and it’s just fun to listen to. It’s also quite devastating to see a character whom the Doctor took a real liking to in the original Dark Eyes, Sally Armstrong, turned into somewhat of a grunt and side character for the Master, or if you like, the Master’s companion. Also, Molly O’Sullivan still can’t seem to get away from the fact that other aliens now want to either use her or destroy her. The cliff hanger to the story does not help.
The Dalek plot thread comes back into play, or rather it would, if the Daleks where actually there. Turns out they’ve all left and there’s resistance people freeing people from the Dalek prison cells, well the living ones anyway. A resistance soldier who sounds like Frank Skinner and the Doctor find the TARDIS next to the Doctor’s cell.
Maybe it was the DTC’s way of saying thanks for telling me about this threat, I shall now deal with it? *shrugs*
Either way, a story with it’s main plot point revolving around ripping out people’s eyes is surprisingly entertaining and filled with thrills. It resolves as many plot points as it leaves cliffhangers for Dark Eyes 3.
Eyes of the Master receives 9.5 out of 10 Gallifreyian Synthetic Eyeballs
Seriously, it’s almost as worse as the one for Desolation of Smaug. (Well at least I know how that one’s going to end) If not worse. How am I supposed to wait for almost a year for the resolution to that cliffhanger. It hurts so bad how I wanna know how the story continues.
Overall, I actually though that it was better than the original. The original Dark Eyes story felt like listening to one enormous story non-stop. Here it feels like four separate adventures each to their own credit. Each story was brilliant in it’s own right and I would have bought them even if they weren’t in a box set together. Unlike the previous 4 you can listen to these as individual stories and they wouldn’t feel as out of place.
There’s obvious similarities, the retrogenitor particles coming back into play, an overall enemy appearing in every story, travelling to various places over the universe and the Dalek Time Controller once again appearing in three out of four stories again. I have absolutely no complaints, I love the character.
The ending and beginning of The Traitor and the White Room really threw me off though, I didn’t like it, but it did make me pay attention, which is no bad thing. It’s just a bit disconcerting and although it’s tied up in Time’s Horizon, it kind of annoyed me somewhat.
The non-liner story telling also left me a bit confused at the end, was it told that way because it was the Doctor telling the DTC about the eminence or was it from the liner timeline of the companions? It might not be any of those explanation or it could be both. *shrugs* I’m not a Timelord or a Time Controller so I couldn’t tell you.
Overall, I liked it over the first, although it kinda had to grow on me after a second listen and I do like the 4 distinct stories with the plot threads running through. Fingers crossed that Dark Eyes 3 comes out in time for Christmas 2014 guys. More Master and DTC please. Maybe even Master and DTC shenanigans?
Overall Dark Eyes 2 receives 9.5 out of 10 Infinite Warriors fighting the Master while being pulverised by Dalek planetary weapons.
Dark Eyes 3, do not disappoint me.
Love to here your opinions in the comments below and I’m assuming that you’re reading this because you’ve listened to the boxset or don’t actually care about spoilers of which I have included some.
Did you think it was better than the first? Have you had enough of the DTC and his minions? Does Alex McQueen make a terrific Master?
Includes a few Charley's and Miller's.
If you find anymore you like please post them in the comments