In Review: Big Finish: The War Master: Killing Time

Big Finish, you made me cry!
Derek Jacobi

Synopsis: Derek Jacobi returns in four new adventures.

For centuries, the Stagnant Protocol has been forgotten by the universe. It’s an empire populated by a race that can never advance. They’re a race the Master seeks to seize control of.

Unfortunately for him, he has a rival. Calantha understands how to manipulate the system better than he could ever hope. 

His only chance of defeating her lies in the hands of some old acquaintances, whether they realize it or not.

One thing, however, is certain. Whichever of them may win, the Stagnant Protocol is destined to lose…

Review: The War Master: Killing Time is a brilliantly unapologetic tale. Derek Jacobi shines once again in a story built upon intrigue and psychological manipulation. This box set is I, Claudius in space in many ways.

Story

“The Sincerest Form of Flattery” by James Goss is an excellent start. His world-building and character development quickly hook the listener. I particularly appreciate the gleefully meticulous layers of bureaucracy Goss creates to flesh out the society.

Lou Morgan authors the middle tales in the set. “A Quiet Night In” sees the return of Jo Jones. “The Orphan” sees the return of Nyssa.

Both stories show the scope of The War Master’s cruelty. He uses the damage and trauma he’s caused both women against them to achieve his ends.

In the process, Morgan forcibly demonstrates the significant tonal shift between Classic and Modern Doctor Who.

In this instance, that tonal shift is extremely difficult to take. Jo and Nyssa are unmistakable collateral damage in the Time War. 

That said, Big Finish has irrevocably committed to the War Master and the Time War. These developments are outgrowths of necessary internal logic I’m afraid.

“Unfinished Business” by James Goss wraps up this arc exactly as it must be wrapped up. Calantha and The War Master are ruthless and intriguing chess players. But, only one recognizes the end game.

Acting

Derek Jacobi remains superb as ever. He’s clearly relishing the eternal galactic high tragedy and villainy.

For their parts, his scene partners rise to the challenge. Alexandria Riley is excellent as Calantha. She gives a whip smart performance that really sells the central power struggle.

Katy Manning and Sarah Sutton are the stars, however. Each brings years of understanding to their roles. They give performances that match the gravity and travesty of this new era. They took Jo and Nyssa on horrific journeys with grace and fortitude.

Overall

Big Finish, you made me cry! These tears are the price of grand, but unforgiving storytelling.

 

You can purchase The War Master: Killing Time here

 

You can check out more of our Big Finish Reviews here.

9.7
Big Finish: The War Master: Killing Time
  • Story
    9.0
  • 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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