After Hurt vs Warner in the first box set, Jacqueline Pearce’s Cardinal Ollistra takes centre stage, out in the field alongside the War Doctor, rather than simply sitting behind her desk. You do feel sometimes that director Nick Briggs could simply give Hurt and Pearce a couple of columns from the telephone directory and they’d make high drama out of it, but Phil Mulryne’s script is suitably devious and crafty – and uses the antipathy between the characters as a key plot point. I did wonder why one particular guest star’s character seemed markedly different from his appearance in the first story, but all was clear by the end.
There’s a return here to some of the themes that Big Finish developed in their series about Davros’ early life a decade ago – appropriate given the way that the Daleks need to use every avenue to gain an advantage – and number 6 is very reminiscent of a certain Thal from that miniseries. As with a number of the War Doctor stories, this picks up on comments made by the Doctor later in his life about the Time War and the ways in which the Daleks behaved differently during that time.
Verdict: Some clever twists in this enjoyable escapade. 8/10