Alan Barnes’ script for this first “multi-Doctor/multi-Master” epic which involves Big Finish’s original Doctors this summer jumps about quite a bit, with timelines crossing, characters who aren’t the age they appear, and some intriguing additions to our understanding of the concept of regeneration and death for Time Lords. Tied into the aftermath of The Awakening (there’s a great line explaining why Tegan isn’t around at one point), it’s an excellent demonstration of what sets the Fifth Doctor apart from the other incarnations – he’s fallible, he cares, and he’s willing to go that extra mile to ensure that everybody, if at all possible, survives. Peter Davison brings the energy and passion to the role which the story requires.
He’s up against Geoffrey Beevers’ incarnation of the Master, and he seems to relish demonstrating the more blackly playful side of the Time Lord. The suavity of the Ainley or Macqueen incarnations isn’t always to the fore, but Beevers’ Master has often been one of the saner versions, and that’s the case here. It’s a well-established part of Big Finish Time Lord lore that Time Lords don’t meet each other in the same order (going back to The Apocalypse Element 16 years ago), and I’m sure some enterprising soul has worked out a timeline for the Master and quite where this fits in – much of the story suggest it’s going one way, then it doesn’t.
Jamie Anderson has gathered a strong cast together to support Davison and Beevers, most of them new to Big Finish, and I certainly hope they’ll become part of the regular supporting cast – none of the roles they’re given are simple, and all acquit themselves very well. Richard Fox and Lauren Yason’s sound design and music work equally well, and I’d recommend a listen to the CD extras for an insight into Anderson’s casting methods.
Verdict: An intriguing start to the trilogy. 8/10