In Review: Big Finish: The War Master: Rogue Encounters

Derek Jacobi has transformed the War Master into my favorite modern incarnation.

Synopsis: Throughout his many lives, the Master has visited myriad places and planets. Some he has spared. Others he has destroyed. All have felt his presence, however fleeting.

In the Time War, he helps a soldier save their world from Dalek assault.

On Earth, he helps a young woman discover the truth about her boyfriend’s abduction.

At the Sublime Porte, he helps himself to a source of incredible power.

As the universe itself comes to an end, a lonely old man tries to help in any way he can. However, the Master is always waiting.

Review: The War Master: Rogue Encounters was a fascinating and bitter-sweet installment. I can honestly say I was surprised throughout.



In this set, the War Master was on the back foot and vulnerable. As a result, the writers shaded the usual tropes in interesting ways.

“Runtime” by Tim Foley gave listeners an episode from the Time War in real time. The linear 60-minute ticking clock tale was frankly refreshing.

“Manhunt” by Rochana Patel was an homage to old-school alien abduction stories. Patel’s The X-Files on acid approach meshed perfectly with Doctor Who. 

Indeed, I loved how the Grays were adapted. What’s more, I loved how the War Master was so himself as he countered their machinations.

“The Sublime Porte” by James Goss was one of the best stories in any range. I hope Big Finish releases it separately.

For marketing purposes, the War Master meets Bilis Manger. However, I don’t mean to imply they’re on equal footing. 

In fact, Bilis Manger chewed the Master into bits and spit him out within his own series. The story was gloriously earned!

Alone” by Scott Handcock was a direct prequel to “Utopia.” According to the behind-the-scenes interviews. Hancock wrote it after Derek Jacobi asked to play something more vulnerable.

In many ways, Handcock presented Professor Yana as the Lumiat before the Lumiat. That made the story’s trajectory all the more tragic.



Derek Jacobi has transformed the War Master into my favorite modern incarnation. As ever, the supporting cast matched his intensity and commitment.

That said, I must single out the late Murray Melvin. His performance was so delightfully and inexorably creepy.



Thanks, again, Big Finish. The War Master: Rogue Encounters delivered surprises and autumnal frights. I can’t wait for the next chapter.


You can purchase The War Master: Rogue Encounters here


Big Finish: The War Master: Rogue Encounters
  • 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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