In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: Time War 4

This review contains spoilers.

Synopsis: The Eighth Doctor and Bliss are dragged into the Time War as the Daleks replenish their army, using Davros himself.

Review: This review contains spoilers.

Doctor Who: Time War 4 contains stories by John Dorney, Lisa McMullin, and Matt Fitton. At the structural level, this set’s sole purpose is to undo the developments of Doctor Who: Time War 3 and reassert the status quo. The results are both frustrating and exhilarating.

The Story

Doctor Who: Time War 4 must restore the Daleks to the timeline, because The Time War has to reach it’s it’s established end. The unfortunate side effect of adhering to internal logic, however, is that Dorney, McMullin, and Fitton construct a plot that relies on inhumane levels of dramatic irony and foreshadowing. I’m a life long Doctor Who fan who is accustomed to knowing more than certain characters to facilitate time travel and dimension-hopping storylines. That said, having to function ahead of the characters to the extent this box set requires is taxing in the extreme.

With “Palindrome, Parts 1-2” by John Dorney the title gives away the structure and thematic thrust of the story. As a result, listeners alternate between marveling at the narrative puzzle box that is Alternate Davros’ devolution into what we all know he must become and dreading the inexorable march that the story structure requires.

“Dreadshade” by Lisa McMullin is an amnesia storyline. By definition, amnesia storylines require the audience to patiently wait for the characters to catch back up and regain their memories. I subjectively loathe amnesia storylines thanks to decades worth of uninspired variations. Thankfully, McMullin livens up the tedium with world-building and character beats. Pairing The Twelve and the oddly poetic Dreadshade spices up the proceedings and justifies the storytelling.

“Restoration of the Daleks” by Matt Fitton is exactly what it says on the tin — the inevitable result of decades of preceding stories. The outcomes for Davros are also the inevitable result of decades of preceding stories. Structurally, the most interesting aspects of the tale concern Bliss and an unforeseen side effect of multiverse upheaval.

The Acting

The regulars are as ever superb. That said, two performances truly elevate the storytelling amidst the unavoidable structural deficiencies inherent in the necessary internal logic. First, Julia McKenzie is preternaturally delightful as The Twelve — my favorite incarnation of the character.

However, Terry Molloy offered up a performance that topped even McKenzie’s marvelous work. Alternate Davros and what he became required an ultra brilliant multi-faceted performance that built upon decades in the role.

Overall

Doctor Who: Time War 4 epically rips off several band-aids. I can’t wait to hear how Doctor Who: Time War 5 staunches the blood.

 

9.3
Big Finish: Doctor Who: Time War 4
  • Story
    7.9
  • Perfomances
    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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