Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Purity written by James Parson & Andrew Stirling-Brown and directed by Gary Russell

What’s it about: 'We are Kaleds. We are more than a match for weak, tattered, crippled relics of the war.’ Now approaching his 30th year, Davros is trying to get out of the Kaled Military and into the Scientific Corps, determined to use his mind to create new ways to let the Kaled race survive the never-ending war with the Thals. But first, he must undertake a mission into Thal territory. A mission that will introduce him to technology and hardware he could only dream of. And it just might teach him a few life lessons to. But however dangerous the Thal City might be, that is nothing compared to the scarred relics that inhabit the Wastelands... Wastelands he and his team have to cross twice

Scarred Scientist: With no decent facilities or materials Davros is trying desperately to impress with his technical expertise but he is wasted on a government who wont even r cognise his work. Science and mathematics is his passion, his aim has always been to join the scientific corp but his way has always been blocked. He is neither interested in or willing to marry and as such his fathers money remains locked up in his will, even if his mother will have to live in (what she would consider to be) poverty. When he understands the principles behind the Thal rockets Davros’ mind reels with the possibilities, an intelligent and thinking mechanical brain able to make logical judgements. He considers it as nothing short of inspired genius. The he discovers a man that has mutated into a plant creature and he wants to take samples to satisfy his perverse curiosity. He sees the Varga’s as a potential weapon against the Thals. Davros murders Reston because he cannot understand his need to die. To Davros you should always strive to live, to spend every moment of your life dedicated to the genocide of the Thal people and anybody who can turn their back on that vision should have their wish and be killed. They would only hold them back. He accuses his mother of betraying him but is manipulating into thinking it might have been Yarvel. The one moment of real interest came when Davros wasn’t even present and his mother tells Yarvel who are they to stand in the way of his destiny? That’s a word Davros would abuse a lot in the future and it’s interesting to see where such a grandiose feeling of self importance might have come from. Davros refuses to waste his sister’s remains and plans on splicing together her genetic material with that of a Varga and a Thal to develop a weapon that could end the war. Wowza, you really do not want to be born into this family.

Standout Performance: Once again Carolyn Jones makes the greatest impression and it might indicate the strength of this instalment that she is only present for ten minutes of material. When Davros tells his sisters corpse that science will win them the war you can hear the beginnings of the Davros that we know and love starting to emerge and Molloy gently adds his familiar purring tones.

Sparkling Dialogue: ‘You’re a dangerous psychopath, Davros’ ‘No I am quite plainly a realist.’
‘I only hope that one day you find out what it is like to live like this…’

Great Ideas: Davros’ family are living in a deluded headspace with his sister preaching peace with the Thals and his mother trying to cling on to her luxurious lifestyle when the money is slowly running out. Is the purity of the Kaleds a myth perpetuated by the government to stir up hatred against the Thals – I seem to recall another super race with similar political xenophobia. Information that all the races on Skaro were integrated and diverse has been suppressed but archaeological detail still exists. One painting shows a Kaled and a Thal embracing. A new and groundbreaking design of ariel missiles are being built by the Thals.

Audio Landscape: Astonishing how something as simple as the door sound can conjure up Genesis of the Daleks so succinctly, a family swimming together, shells exploding, a machinery pumping production line, an explosion tearing through the Thal factory, gunshots, gurgling mutations.

Isn’t it Odd: The first half an hour of Purity lacks the strength of characterisation and plotting that was so strong in Innocence. The dialogue scenes are overlong and painfully quiet and they don’t reveal anything new about Davros that we didn’t already know in the first story. I know it isn’t the fault of either actor but I wasn’t convinced of the transition from Rory Jennings to Terry Molloy. Both are fine, convincing actors and ace the part but when you switch from a deep voiced child to a high-pitched adult something jars in the changeover. Do you know I haven’t heard a Gary Russell cameo for ages and what an unconvincing Thal soldier he makes! The Kaled automatic defences are really quiet I could barely make out what was going on.

Standout Scene: After an abundance of memorable moments in the Innocence, this episode was severely lacking anything particularly memorable. Actually that’s not quite true – the moment when Calcula lies to Yarvel and tells her that Davros is dead to force a confession from her lips was a highlight but it took over an hour to reach a moment that stood out. Calcula drowning her own daughter is an astonishingly frightening act.

Notes: ‘Remember the genocide against the Dals’ – I always thought that fandom skipped merrily over that continuity slip up in The Daleks but it turns out it was an age of warfare all of its own!

Result: What a shame that the second instalment of the I, Davros series lacks the powerful drama and experimental nature of Parsons & Stirling-Brown’s last effort, LIVE 34. I could imagine the gripping documentary feel of their debut script would have benefited this series immensely. Innocence was charged with an incredible sense of world building and electrifying character interaction, both of which Purity lacks when piling on the plot mechanics. The way the story assembles all the pieces of the Daleks is insultingly childish; Davros discovers an artifical intelligence, Davros discovers a mutated creature and Davros discovers a man consumed by hate…what would happen if he put all those things together? Interest starts to bubble up at the end so I am still looking forward to the next piece of the puzzle but this was a dramatic stumble after the top notch build up: 5/10

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