Review by Jacob Licklider
The Enemy of My Enemy
is a perfect title for a Doctor Who story where the Doctor has to team up with the Daleks, and this installment of the Time Lord Victorious multimedia event puts the Eighth Doctor in a situation where there is no other option. ￼
Like the other two Big Finish releases so far in this whole series, The Enemy of My Enemy is fairly standalone (outside of maybe He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not). Sure there are references about other events and the Dalek Prime Strategist, Time Commander, and Dalek Executioner are large parts of this plot, but the story is self-contained in the single hour as the middle installment of the Big Finish trilogy of stories.
Newcomer Tracy Ann Baines provides this story; being a lifelong fan and in the interviews showing that writing for the show was one of her dreams. Baines provides her take on the infamous Genesis of the Daleks speech: the Doctor is given the chance to take the Daleks back to the beginning of their evolution, giving the species a second chance away from Davros’s influence. On the surface, the decision should be plain, but like the conflict in Genesis of the Daleks, the dilemma here is much the same. The Time War would end, but that means that so much of history would change that who knows what would actually happen by the end of everything settling.
The Wraxian race is one of legend, one that should never have existed, and one that specializes in creating paradoxes. They survive by changing timelines to suit their needs which are ever changing as new threats appear to destroy them. They want to destroy the Daleks because they foresee the Time War ending badly, and paradoxes are already causing problems for the timelines as the Doctor cannot remember exactly what has been happening in his life. The rest of the story builds towards a conclusion which the listener can see coming a mile off: obviously as the Daleks are involved in the story extermination isn’t far behind and the conclusion involves some very messy wrap up, and a setup for the concluding part of the audio trilogy brings everything together.
Nicholas Briggs in particular brings each Dalek to life, making them feel like characters. Yes, there are a few ‘standard Daleks here, but the Prime Strategist and Executioner in particular are performed in such a way that they are distinct from the others. There is a sense that these are more than just standard Daleks.
Paul McGann as the Doctor is always enjoyable and plays as the center of the drama; not really wanting to work with the Daleks because they’re the Daleks, and eventually everything sends the Doctor further back than he’s ever gone before. This is where bits of The Enemy of My Enemy falls flat, as while it is an enjoyable performance, the Doctor feels like a minor character and not in a good way. This could have been told without the Doctor present at all, except at the setup which makes this feel far too expository to really have an impact on events.
Yes, he’s important in the conclusion, but really integrating the Doctor into the tale better or making this a story without the Doctor would have worked better. Overall, The Enemy of My Enemy is a good installment in this rather odd multimedia event and sets up the Big Finish “finale” so to speak well enough, though may suffer on future listens. 7/10.