The Kamelion Empire is a story of two very clear halves, one is a moody tale going into the unique and interesting history of Kamelion’s people, and the second half a generic run-around with a very one-note sneering villain. The problem comes from the fact that this is supposed to be one story, not two like last month! Still, does the good outweigh the predictable? Let’s find out!
Once upon a time, a people of great artistry and great knowledge ruled the planet Mekalion: the Kamille. For a thousand years, they prospered peacefully.
Then came disaster, when their sun set forever. Facing extinction, the Kamille made the Locus, a device to sustain their minds; and fashioned shape-changing machines, to act out their wishes on the physical plane…
Servants they called the Kamelion.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
The Doctor (Peter Davison) – The Doctor is taking Kamelion back to his home planet, reminding the Time Lord that he actually doesn’t know a lot about his robot companion’s backstory…
Tegan (Janet Fielding) – Tegan, after accepting Kamelion as a friend, has suddenly turned completely against him again, and now wishes he’d leave. Don’t know what caused this, but hey-ho, makes the story work!
Turlough (Mark Strickson) – Turlough always felt for Kamelion, given he was in a similar situation of distrust amongst his TARDIS crewmates, but even he’s had enough of the often-mind-controlled robot, and hopes he stays on his home planet…
Kamelion (Jon Culshaw) – Kamelion has been hiding a lot of secrets from The Doctor, secrets about his people and what he was doing on the planet The Master found him on. Now he has no choice but to reveal it all…
The Kamile (Various) – The Kamile were a highly advanced people who eventually uploaded themselves into “The Locus” in order to survive their dying world. Sadly for them however, it seems war can breakout anyway, even in cyberspace…
The Gores (Various) – A simple-minded race who has come to inhabit Mekalion after the Kamile and their robot avatars vanished across the galaxy. (Note: I guessed at the spelling…)
I like the weird family photo vibe this cover has going for it.
The first two parts of this story do a great job of going into detail about Kamelion’s past and his people. Once they became cyber-data and walked around in shape-changing avatars, the Kamile ended up conquering a good majority of their Galaxy, installing Kamelion avatars shape-shifted to look like local residents in order to rule without the populace knowing they had been conquered by an outside force. That is unless the Kamile judged the race to be too violent, then they were just wiped out. Eventually though, the Kamile split into four factions: Harmony, Liberty, Chaos and erm… a fourth that I can’t remember off-hand. Maybe Justice?
Anyway, the war ended with every last Kamile wiped out apart from Chaos, but he became stranded in the Locus thanks to the outside signal to the Kamelions being cut off. After a few thousand years Chaos manages to get a signal out and that leads our group to arrive. After wandering about in the wastelands (and dodging some rather funny comic-book cheesy brute villains on motorbikes) Kamelion admits everything to The Doctor, including the reason he was on Xeraphas when The Master found him (that he was there to take the planet over as an “Ambassador”.) It was all really good, and an interesting and unique alien race. Sadly, Kamelion is soon over-taken by Chaos and, well… yeah.
The very end was good, in an on-the-nose continuity way. Kamelion was going to kill itself but The Doctor convinces him to instead live in a specially made room in the TARDIS, cut off from the rest of the world so he can better control himself. This explains why he just vanishes after his first appearance until he gets his leaving story in the TV show. Hell, Kamelion even informs his friends not to “mention him or even think of him” to give him a better chance of cutting himself off, which is damn-near fourth wall breaking, but I’ll allow it because it was hilarious! The last few moments include the TARDIS landing on the Eye of Orion and directly lead into the Five Doctors, so it’s unlikely we’ll be getting any more Kamelion adventures going forward…
Part 3 and 4, while entertaining at times, was basically everyone running around the TARDIS trying to escape from scenery-chewing villain Chaos. Some bits were fun, use of the secondary control room, it eventually being revealed that The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough were just using Kamelion avatars, but overall it was just okay, and a bit of a let down after such an interesting first half.
I also have to mention how Turlough and especially Tegan just suddenly reverted to disliking Kamelion and not seeing him as a companion or ally. Did Mr. Morris not read the past two scripts? Hell, did he not read the last few pages of the first story in this trilogy? It makes it seem like this story was supposed to be a one-off and no one told him there were three stories before this one that show Tegan coming to care for Kamelion as an ally, or even a friend.
As well as following on directly from “Power Game” and ending as a direct link to “The Five Doctors”, there isn’t much to say here, continuity-wise, beyond references to Kamelion’s debut TV story “The King’s Demons” and the jokey excuse as to why nobody mentions him again until his second and final TV appearance in “Planet of Fire”.
This is a good thing, obviously, because a lot of the continuity is newly added continuity about Kamelion and his race, which is pretty much the only thing I really wanted from this story…
The Kamelion Empire is a good story in that it does its job telling us the history of Kamelion’s people and gives us a reason why he isn’t seen or mentioned all of a sudden on TV, but the final half of the story descends into a generic run-around, which was a disappointment. Still, a mostly good story, just one I doubt I’ll be listening to again…