‘THE HUMAN FACTOR’ (DE)
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The Daleks Are Coming! – Part 2
“Prepare to be exterminated!”
The ‘Dalek Empire’ reigns supreme as the Big Finish spin-off series continues!
‘The Human Factor’ is the second chapter/episode/audio drama out of the four-part CD collection of the first ‘Dalek Empire’ series. It is a 70-minute episode. After enjoying the first episode ‘Invasion of the Daleks’, I was keen to find out what would happen next with the Daleks and with Susan Mendez.
This ‘Dalek Empire’ spin-off series from the worlds of ‘Doctor Who’ is written; produced and directed by Nicholas Briggs who also voices the Daleks with Alistair Lock. It also stars Sarah Mowat as Susan ‘Suz’ Mendez; Mark MacDonnell as Albert ‘Alby’ Brook and Gareth Thomas (‘Blake’s 7’) as Kalendorf.
After some initial preconceptions that I wouldn’t get into this spin-off series as easily as I thought, I found myself really enjoying these four episodes as it’s an interesting take on the dreaded Daleks. I found it interesting how Nick Briggs portrays the humans and Daleks in this bleak futuristic scenario.
Six months have passed since the Daleks invaded the planet Vegas VI. The Earth Empire is struggling to oppose the Daleks, as they’ve become more powerful and are attacking the galaxy. Despite the opposition, more humans become slaves and Suz and Kalendorf must find a way to stop the Daleks.
Sarah Mowat stars as Susan Mendez. Suz has becomes the ‘Angel of Mercy’ as she speaks to the human slaves on behalf of the Daleks in order to reassure them of ‘hope’. Despite working for the Daleks, Suz is looking for ways to bring the Daleks down as she’s in telepathic contact with Kalendorf.
I liked how Suz’s journey is developed in these ‘Dalek Empire’ audio episodes. Suz tries to overcome her fears as she gets challenged by the Daleks and holds to her dreams of hope. She makes decisions that affect human souls. Suz’ humanity is also tested as her decisions can be unrecognisably human.
Gareth Thomas delivers a great performance as Kalendorf. Kalendorf has become a close friend to Suz. He’s loyal to her, but Kalendorf sometimes questions Suz’s behaviour. They both have telepathic contact with each other, as Suz and Kalendorf wait to send their message of “Death to the Daleks!”
The Daleks try to get rid of all human opposition in the slave groups on the planet Guria and in the Garazone System. The Daleks use Suz as the ‘Angel of Mercy’ to do their ‘dirty work’ and to talk to the human opposition. When that fails, the Daleks horribly exterminate the human slaves instantly.
It’s a very extraordinary and grim situation for Suz to be in, as she allows the Daleks to kill the slaves in those opposition groups. Kalendorf is disgusted by Suz’s actions and questions her humanity. But she doesn’t want the Daleks to know of her true intentions as she’s trying to bring the Daleks down.
Mark McDonnell as Alby Brook is still on the search for Suz, who he believes to be in love with. He journeys in a spaceship with Pellan at his side. Alby is determined to ‘die trying’ on finding Suz, no matter what. He has to tolerate Pellan’s pessimism on the way when they come to the planet Guria.
There is a moment when Alby sees Suz on the view screen. Suz sees him too and she gets challenged by the Daleks on who he is. It transpires that Alby was a man that Suz had fallen in love with. This adds more depth to her character about who she was before the Daleks came into her life.
John Wadmore guest stars as Gordon Pellan, Alby’s companion on his mission to rescue Suz. Pellan is pessimistic and easily scared when they both go to the planet Guria where the Daleks are. Pellan gives news reports about Suz to Alby. He even knows about something called ‘Project Infinity’.
The Dalek Emperor makes another appearance in this second episode of the ‘Dalek Empire’ series.
Tim Keable again does a really good page of comic book art featured inside the CD sleeve notes of ‘The Human Factor’. Also the extract from a speech by Admiral J N Elisonford at the back of the CD notes is pretty good, accompanied with more impressive comic book art by Tim Keable in ‘colour’.
Like the previous episode, there aren’t any CD extras or ‘coming soon’ trailers featured at the end of this disc. So no trailers for any new ‘Dalek Empire’ episodes or ‘Doctor Who’ stories, sadly.
‘The Human Factor’ is an enjoyable second chapter to the first ‘Dalek Empire’ series. I was wondering where this series was going to go and how Suz and Kalendorf were going to stop the Daleks and whether Alby will rescue Suz. I would have to find out more in the next instalment of ‘Dalek Empire’.
The next episode in the first ‘Dalek Empire’ series is ‘”Death to the Daleks”‘.
‘The Human Factor’ (DE) rating – 7/10
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