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As Expected, but not Quite

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 20 April 2022
Rating:   7

Part 2 of Shadow of the Daleks is another anthology series with a single story arc. The Doctor continues to follow the time anomaly he found in Part 1, continues to meet the same people who are not the same people, and continues to be confounded about what it all means. The first adventure is Echo Chamber, the most surreal of all the stories in both Shadow series. The Doctor finds himself becoming the substitute host for a political provocateur radio show. Through most of this, he is utterly confused about why he is there and what he is supposed to do, but again finds the faces and voices he keeps remeeting through time. The same themes of interspecial war, of aggression, of memory loss, appear as well. The next story is Toward Zero, an old style murder mystery in which The Doctor has to discover who murdered him. This one is the least attached to the story arc, and seems to be mostly to lighten the mood. At this point, The Doctor seems no nearer to discovering what this time anomaly is all about. Story three is Castle Hydra, another peculiar and somewhat surreal adventure that partly solves the mystery of why The Doctor keeps meeting different people with the same faces as each other. Last is Effect and Cause, which brings back the Daleks in a proper Dalek type story, but one bent by what we have learned from the previous 7 adventures. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem, not even the Daleks. I cannot say that I found the solution totally satisfying. Given how long it took to get there, I guess I expected a bit more. In total, Shadow of the Daleks 1 & 2 are well acted in an ensemble cast fashion, like repertory theater with each actor playing a different each night. I was left with wanting more out of each episode than what we got. There were too many interesting ideas hurried to the end, leaving not much room to contemplate their significance. Peter Davison does well performing as a Doctor without companions, and that aspect works well. Companions would have gotten in the way and cluttered the narrative.

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