Day of the Master Part One

Posted in Audio by - October 13, 2019
Day of the Master Part One

Released October 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

As the Ravenous continue their unending pursuit of Time Lords alongside the Eleven who has ever more audacious plans, the Doctor finds hope a dying commodity and legends of old his only hope as Ravenous begins its epic two-part finale with John Dorney’s ‘Day of the Master Part One’. With the Master present at every turn, however, the Doctor’s past, present, and future dangerously collide with no assumption safe and the truth in danger of being rewritten at all times.

The first part of any multi-part story, by necessity, is filled with exposition and characterisation to set up a monumental conclusion, and as ‘Day of the Master Part One’ unfolds through three distinct storylines, the characters that cover such a vast swathe of the Doctor’s timeline gloriously step to the forefront to expertly amplify the intrigue that culminates in one of the most stunning cliffhangers Big Finish has yet offered. The Doctor naturally highlights the main narrative as he travels alone into the ancient times before the birth of the Time Lords to the planet Kolstan that miraculously exists within the time vortex itself. Crossing paths with none other than the legendary Artron who here has made miraculous strides in studying the planet’s local benign population that can control matter itself with simply a thought and in harnessing a perfect and endless regeneration capability that far surpasses anything Rassilon has managed to achieve. Knowing that Rassilon’s pride would never allow for such a discovery to be made public, the Doctor is further surprised as he finds that none other than the Master he banished into the Eye of Harmony so long ago has managed to survive and to steer events on this world. This is a most welcome reunion between Paul McGann and Eric Roberts, and the powerful menace Roberts imbues into his Master that forsakes any of the levity and charm that other incarnations rely on meshes perfectly with the scope and ambition that Artron’s discoveries allow and the brutality that puts the Doctor’s life and the very fabric of Kolstan at stake as Gallifreyan might emerges. Robert Whitelock is the guiding force of this brilliant narrative thread as the optimistic and well-intentioned Artron, and it’s clear that his character will be anything but simply a forgotten legend in the concluding half.

When the Doctor leaves Liv behind to wait for Time Lord reinforcements as the Ravenous continue to consume their Gallifreyan quarry, the War Master shockingly answers the call. Learning of recent events and the fate of the desiccated Master to gain perspective of the threat now ravaging the universe, this Master proves just how quickly he can turn any situation to his advantage, and the combination of kindly charm that can draw anyone into his confidence and of treacherous menace that leaves nobody safe again proves just how uniquely unnerving this incarnation can be. Derek Jacobi is once again pitch perfect and shares a stellar chemistry with Nicola Walker as the Master always remains one step ahead and looks to the Eighth Doctor’s recent past to tremendously shift the narrative and subvert the most basic assumptions. At the same time but in a deserted Earth far in the future, Michelle Gomez excels as her mischievous but equally conniving and dangerous Missy leads language scholar Helen on a hunt for a god who mysteriously appeared on the planet so long ago with another figure but who has lived hidden away behind a prophecy for so very long. Missy is another incarnation who is perfectly adept at manipulating those around her to achieve her own means, and though this portion of the story is the least explored in part one, there’s no doubt that this mysterious figure who assumedly has ties to what has been shown so far will be all the more important as the conclusion draws near.

Even within a setup context, ‘Day of the Master Part One’ is a strong showcase of how distinct and yet familiar these different incarnations of the Master are and the legacy that Big Finish continues to create for them as Doctor Who progresses ever forward. With Mark Bonnar likewise giving a chilling performance as the Eleven who seems so prepared for every situation, the stakes have rarely been this high and the threat of danger so imminent, and Ravenous with its ups and downs along the way appears set to end on an unqualified high.

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