Evolution (2013)

Evolution is the middle story of this penultimate series. It’s also the shortest in the series at just under an hour.  Written by Una McCormack who like James Peaty is an author I had never heard of before this but after finishing this story I hope to hear more in the future. Story starts off with quite an intriguing pre-title scene. This continues through the story which sees a sort of scientific conference but that sort of gets forgotten as the main story takes centre stage. It’s a good idea because it’s for a good cause.

The supporting artists in this story are very good.  Jonias (David Menkin) is not a very nice character after its revealed that he has been using slaves for testing. Even at the end he doesn’t seem to be very nice and his demise is very nice to witness. Menkin manages to make us contemplate being sympathetic towards him. Maris starts off as a friend of Leela’s but shows her true colours when she betrays her. Maris is played by Anjli Mohindra who played Rani in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. She is quite good as Maris and having only seen her a little bit in that show (honest), she did sound like Rani. That said the character was well written and served a purpose from start to finish.

There is nice pace to the story before it goes slightly dark with the use of slaves taking centre stage and their treatment is something that helps make it seem darker that a usual Gallifrey story. First half moves at the usual pace for these stories but it’s the last 20 minutes where it really picks up and gets dramatic. Romana seems slightly erratic in this story, can’t quite figure out what sort of mood she’s supposed to be in. One minute she’s bored and then the next she’s annoyed. Lalla Ward normally doesn’t put a foot wrong but this time it seems like she took her foot off the gas just a little bit. Louise Jameson has a better time in this story as Leela forms a friendship with Maris and it’s quite good that Leela doesn’t see the betrayal coming. It’s nice to know that despite how much the character has developed, there is still some of the old naïve Leela left.

There is a lot of mentioning of ‘her’ or ‘she’ and at times quite whiney noises which are a little off putting. It turns out to be Maris which I must admit I saw coming which isn’t normally the case. That said it was a perfectly fine answer to that particular mystery. The worst thing that they could so was say it was K9 which would have ruined it. It was obvious that there would be a cliffhanger for the final story of the series and we got one but it’s wasn’t the one that I was expecting. One word came through in a scrambled message – Axis. Not quite sure whether I missed something and it’s meant to be important but it seemed quite an odd word. Presumably it will be quite important in the final story. I quite liked this story as I found the characters to be very well written and there were a wide range but equally impressive performances. The middle stories of three part series always tend to be the hardest ones to get right because they have to bridge the first and last stories yet Evolution manages to pull this tricky job off really well.


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