In Review: Big Finish: The War Master: Only The Good

Spoiler Warning. If you have not listened to this yet and don't wish to be spoiled. The please wait until you have before reading.

Synopsis: What happened to the Master during the Time War. In The War Master, all is revealed.

[Spoiler Warning]

Review: This box set could have been subtitled “What Caused The Master To Put His Mind In A Pocket Watch” These four stories are the prequel to “Utopia.” Indeed, I never thought I would write this, but The War Master: Only The Good rendered “Utopia” (a highlight of the Tennant era) somewhat anti-climactic in comparison.

Beneath the Viscoid by Nicholas Briggs This was the story of how The Master lost his Tardis in The Time War. In order to get it back, he had to ally himself with the Daleks, impersonate The Doctor, double cross the Daleks, and kill people.

The Good Master by Janine H Jones — This was the story of how The Master masqueraded as a medical doctor in order to hide from the Daleks he double-crossed. While lying low, he studied a potential tactical advantage, took a Companion, and facilitated a temporal paradox.

The Sky Man by James Goss — This was the story of how The Master connived to get his new Companion to create a second temporal paradox. The Companion did so by inadvertently destroying a civilization he was trying to save.

The Heavenly Paradigm by Guy Adams — This was the story of how The Master went to 1970’s England to combine the temporal paradoxes with Time Lord weaponry in order to bring his Master Plan to fruition.

In other words, the Master got to be more perfectly the Master than he’s been for quite some time on television. The phrase tour de force gets used a lot in relation to acting performances but Sir Derek Jacobi proved why he earned his knighthood, and he proved why he should have been allowed to stay in the role for more episodes than he was given after “Utopia.”

I’ve never been a fan of the need to make manic behavior synonymous with modern villainy. Jacobi flourished within unapologetically old-school parameters. He played a variation of Roger Delgado’s Masterquiet, potent menace. His victims were already half dead before they even realized there was a problem.

For all that, listeners learned (as did the man himself) that The Master had limits. When he reached them, he ran. Part of me is sorry, the narrative played out the only way it could, because I would love additional War Master stories.

Written By: Nicholas Briggs, Janine H Jones, James Goss, Guy Adams

Directed By: Scott Handcock


Derek Jacobi (The Master), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks), Jacqueline King (Nius), Deirdre Mullins (Osen), Mark Elstob (Glortz), Rachel Atkins (Major Desra), Hannah Barker (Phila), Jonny Green (Cole Jarnish), Jacob Dudman (Arcking 12 Computer), Emily Barber (Elidh), Robert Daws (Anvar), Nerys Hughes (Mrs Wilson), Jonathan Bailey (Marigold Lane Computer). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer Scott Handcock

Script Editor Nicholas Briggs

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish: The War Master: Only The Good
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

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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