The Dalek Contract (2013)

The Dalek Contract is the penultimate story in what I think has been a consistently strong series. The final two part story from the previous series involved the Master and that seemed to go down well so it was obvious that they were going to do the same sort of thing in this series. I like the stuttering Daleks. I found it hard to get to grips with at first but then I started to enjoy it.

I love how irritating Romana finds the Doctor, she takes every opportunity to berate him for his latest brainwave. Mary Tamm is great in this episode and she seems to be a more tolerable version of what she was like the first time that we saw her in ‘The Ribos Operation’. Tom Baker is also on good form in this and the partnership has worked well throughout this series. It’s a shame that we wont get more from this duo but at least we have what we have. I like the moment when I realised that the first Romana never met the Daleks. It was this little nugget that made the story even more enjoyable because we got to see how she would react to the Daleks.

The Daleks return but what is strange is that they have seemingly entered into a partnership with Cuthbert. They use the word ‘arrested’ in the cliffhanger which the Doctor finds odd. It’s always good when they do something different  with the Daleks instead of the standard invasion (which isn’t a bad thing but its always nice to spice things up a bit). Another thing that they do in this story that I was impressed with was what they did with K9. I am not a K9 fan but I thought that he was well used and was important to the pacing of the story.

Also David Warner returns as Cuthbert after appearing in the War Against the Laan/The Sands of Life two-parter at the beginning of the series. Quite frankly I could easily enjoy a series full of Warner as he is great in whatever story he is in. A bonus of Cuthbert coming back is that Toby Hadoke makes a return as well and I like the character in this episode.

As this is the first two episodes out of four (?), Nicholas Briggs can take his time in telling the story and what Briggs does well is to make it seem like he isn’t filling it with padding. Briggs remains to be one the best writers for Big Finish and if I trust anyone to pull of a series finale well then its him. The cliffhanger is a rather good with the Doctor uttering the words “I Surrender”.  It’s clearly part of the Doctor’s plan but I thought it was still a good way to end the release. After being disappointed by ‘Prisoners of Fate’ I needed a strong story to get me back into a good mood and this story did that. A good story with some good characters and the final release of the series looks like it will be a cracker.
Rating – 8.07/10

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