In Review: Big Finish: The War Master: Escape from Reality

Pursued by a squadron of Dalek assault ships, the Master's only hope is to abandon the space-time vortex and flee into an altogether different reality.
reality

Synopsis: Pursued by a squadron of Dalek assault ships, the Master’s only hope is to abandon the space-time vortex and flee into an altogether different reality. He must navigate within a realm of fiction.

The Master is confronted with creatures of myth and figures from folklore. He sees an opportunity to scavenge a universe of impossible artifacts and use them against his enemies.

But first, he must face off against a host of legendary monsters and literary heroes. Along the way, he’ll embody fiction’s greatest consulting detective — Sherlock Holmes.

 

Review: Big Finish gave their lit geek listeners an early Christmas present. The War Master: Escape from Reality answered a question many have asked and never thought to have answered. What if characters from the Classics range were impacted by the Time War?

 

The Story

The War Master: Escape from Reality is a wonderfully realized, if somewhat bleak, stand-alone box set. Big Finish capitalized on internal logic, literary deconstruction, and reprised roles.

“The Wrath of Medusa” by Rochana Patel upended The Clash of the Titans. The interplay between the Master and Athena was one highlight. However, my favorite plot point involved the Master’s creative problem-solving with scavenged Dalek parts.

“The Shadow Master” by Lizzie Hopley was the most cerebral and esoteric tale in the set. She shifted from ancient Greek mythology to the works of Hans Christian Andersen. 

Hopley pulled from several of his stories. The spine of her narrative, though, centered on one of his lesser-known yarns.

Throughout, her setups and payoffs were superb. Additionally, she managed to combine Andersen and Poe in an unforgettable way.

“The Adventure of the Deceased Doctor” by Alfie Shaw brought listeners to 221B Baker Street for a twisted murder mystery. Shaw discomfited all the characters with meticulous and loving care.

“The Master of Dorian Gray” by David Llewellyn visited Dorian Gray at an early point in his story. In the process, a certain character is given far more agency than they ever had before. 

Moreover, Dorian ventured in new and unforeseen directions as a person. All the while, listeners were never left feeling anything was out of character.

 

The Acting

Sir Derek Jacobi dined out with glee upon a marvelous four-course meal. When he was finished, there wasn’t a crumb left.

His supporting players were equally committed and extremely skilled. That said, two performances stood out.

First, Richard Earl returned as Dr. John Watson. He brought years worth of understanding to the role, as Watson’s reality unraveled.

Second, Alexander Vlahos returned as Dorian Gray. He brought shades to the role listeners could never have imagined 10 years ago.

 

Overall

Merry Christmas, Big Finish. The War Master: Escape from Reality was a great way to ring out 2022. I can’t wait to hear what next year brings.

 

You can purchase The War Master: Escape from Reality here

10
Big Finish: The War Master: Escape from Reality
  • Story
    10
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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