Monday, 19 December 2016
“To understand the future, we have to understand the past.”
I, Davros: Corruption is the Big One: war movie, psychological drama, doomed love story, Greek tragedy and Revenge of the Sith all at once. Lance Parkin - who had until now delivered by far the best-written, most insightful work to feature Davros in the form of his own audio, Davros - goes one better than his own previous record, and knocks even that great achievement into a cocked hat. Corruption is marvellous; believe the hype. This I, Davros series is worth it entirely on the strength of this instalment alone.
Unsurprisingly, Parkin takes a number of cues from his previous work, building on it and expanding it. The end result means that Corruption is best appreciated after hearing Davros; although I don’t think the former story is essential to appreciating what’s being done here, the two definitely work best as a double-bill, as it were. As you’d expect, Parkin seizes upon the key role of the Kaled scientist Shan - one of the more memorable and moving glimpses of Davros’ past we had yet seen - and weaves her into the storyline here. Shan’s relationship with Davros is better for its not being too explicit, too obviously romantic; there’s something there, certainly, but it’s a potential that is never realised, and this only makes the storyline more affecting. For all his scintillating intelligence, Davros can be relatively idealist at times, driven merely by the utopias he envisages and the ideas that come to the fore; in a similar manner, his head seems so full of his scientific projects that the net result is he’s a fairly sexless creature, not somebody you can imagine being easily distracted by female Kaleds (“we need women who can give birth to good strong Kaled babies” is again a direct evocation of Aryanism under the Nazis). In her scenes with Davros, Shan tends to represent modern science as we would recognise it; a champion of blind evolution and denier of an overall “genetic destiny” which Davros - more idealistically - believes in. “We were there at the genesis of a species, Shan. How many people can say that?” he asks his colleague, and we can hear the first rumblings of that terrible beginning coming towards us. Terry Molloy is absolutely superb; when his human voice rises in anger you can already detect the familiar cadences of the distorted, raving voice he will later have; and the first time that voice appears at the story’s end is a shiver-down-the-spine moment.