30 August 2014

AFT: The Fate of the Obliviate

The Fate of the Obliviate consists of a single scene, picking up directly from the end of The Silence of the Drums. It's revealed that the Hybrid actually is a product of the fusion of the Master and Dalek Sec, as I suspected but it hadn't been confirmed. I'm not sure if it's a deliberate RTD era-style finale, but it has definite shades of the period it was written in. I felt that particularly with this episode, as there's references back to the Time War and the TV Movie, plus a grand scale to events.

Between the last episode and this one, both the Doctor and the TARDIS have been strapped up by the Daleks, and the combined power harnessed for their schemes. Using a quirk of technobabble, we go back into the Time War, and witness the battle of Scaibus Prime, the Dalek breeding ground. The Obliviate was a Time Lord ship impenetrable to mass Dalek firepower, sent to eliminate the growth worlds. However, three thousand suicidal Daleks were sent to the Obliviate, three massive bombs strapped to each. This blew up the ship and the battle was lost by the Time Lords. 

This part of the plot comes from the fact that the Daleks are all gone. Dalek Sec/The Master (although there really isn't much of him left) has concocted a plan to retrieve Daleks from the battle at the point of death, thus recreating an army. OK, maybe there's more left of him than I thought. As an experiment, they bring one back. Soon it tries to kill the Doctor, and so is exterminated by its comrades. The Time Lord has been saved because he is needed to bring every single Dalek out of the Time War, to bring about a new Dalek Empire.

There's so many good ideas in this episode, it's bristling with excitement. There's the Obliviate, Scaibus Prime, the Time Scoop... It's full of great lines too, with my particular favourite being "Welcome to Hell". Coming after the conversation between the Doctor and the Dalek, it works perfectly and proves once more how good Phil is not only at plotting, but character too. I think the real stars of this episode are the visual effects used. I didn't mention it last time, but the Dalek POV shots are excellent, very well done indeed - especially considering it's Flash! It's used particularly well when the Dalek is pulled out of the battle. Another great visual is the display thing that hangs in front of the characters, letting them see. It fits perfectly with the whole thing, and the animation in it must have taken so much time, but works so well.

The photoshopping in the last couple of episodes has been good too. From the rush on objects when they're displaced through time in the last one to reaction shots in both, it's really amazing. All the standout photoshop manipulations come from the Master in the final shots of a story so far though. In Silence, it was the seamless combination of the Master and the Hybrid, and here it's the shot when the Master smiles (as seen above). You really can't tell how he's done it, and it works brilliantly. Just a quick mention for the suicide Daleks. I can't believe the tanks were added after, even after studying them for ages. It's a brilliant job, and I still can't tell now!

There was a sad lack of Jack and Martha this episode, but with the next being called The Doctor's Army, I think we might see the tables turned on that front. I must admit I was a bit disappointed that the Hybrid wasn't more masterly, and there does seem to be one rather obvious flaw in the Daleks' plan: why couldn't they use the Master instead of the Doctor? That's it for (hopefully constructive) criticism on this episode though, everything else was near-flawless.

This really ramped up the hype from the last episode, suddenly making this is a Universe-threatening story in exactly the way we might have seen on TV in the period this was written and made. It's interesting to consider the Time War segments given the events of The Day of the Doctor. Presumably the Master knows it's the John Hurt Doctor that fought in the War, but he probably doesn't know that he hides that era of his past, even denying the existence of the incarnation. The music was mostly well used, and the pre-credits sequence was straight from the pen of Russell T Davies! An exciting episode that sustained the tension nicely, despite omitting two of the three leads.

In a Nutshell: A really exciting addition to the narrative, revealing more tantalising hints about the Time War.

You can watch The Fate of the Obliviate here.

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