In Review: Big Finish: The War Master: Self-Defence

The Time War incarnation of the Doctor’s best enemy is back. At last, the two Time Lords face each other once more!
The War Master

Synopsis: In The War Master: Self-Defence. The Time War incarnation of the Doctor’s best enemy is back. At last, the two Time Lords face each other once more! But who remembers whom?

Review: The team at Big Finish was determined to be a bright spot amidst the Covid lockdown gloom. To that end, they arranged for Sir Derek Jacobi and David Tennant to reunite.

 

Story

The War Master: Self-Defence is the box set sequel to “Utopia.” The four-episode psychological thriller delivers the long game that screen Doctor Who could never quite give us.

“The Forest of Penitence” by Lou Morgan sets the stage perfectly. The Master addresses the environment and the people in it in his own inimitable way.

In the process, listeners get the perfect fusion of world-building and characterization. J.R.R. Tolkien would’ve been proud.

“The Players” by Una McCormack gives us story time with the Master. He recounts a Time War mission rife with intrigue and backstabbing. 

“Boundaries” by Lizbeth Myles continues story time. The Master regales his audience with a tale about switching gears. This time, he saves a world. As an added treat, the Time Lord delivers his best “I am evil” monologue to date.

“The Last Line” by Lizzie Hopley is the main event. According to interviews, Hopley found writing the reunion daunting. Indeed, she danced around their interactions for several drafts.

She needn’t have worried. The final result is superb. Again, listeners get the perfect fusion of world-building and characterization.

Hopley uses the characters’ history as a surgical weapon. The cuts are precise, and the blood is ever fresh. 

That said, neither has the luxury of withdrawing. The Doctor and The Master must inexorably remain to look each other in the eyes.

 

Acting

The supporting cast is excellent. However, the box set belongs to Jacobi and Tennant. 

They play every syllable of the unabashedly Shakespearean space opera with conviction.

 

Overall

This box set is near perfect. I honestly don’t see how Ten and The War Master can interact again without being anti-climactic.

 

You can purchase The War Master: Self-Defence here

 

9.7
Big Finish: The War Master: Self-Defence
  • 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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