A Mother’s Love

Posted in Audio by - May 19, 2023
A Mother’s Love

Released May 2023


Big Finish newcomer Noga Flaishon delves into the Time War with “A Mother’s Love,” the opener to the fifth The War Doctor Begins set, Comrades-In-Arms. Responding to a broken distress signal, the Doctor arrives at a state-of-the-art Time Lord field hospital operating under the watchful eye of M.O.M., the advanced Medbay Operation Mainframe. The Doctor learns too late that the station has been compromised, however, and old alliances are renewed and tested while trying to escape the dark secrets and dangers lurking out of sight.

Though the brave and wily War Doctor ostensibly is a figure who acts alone, the recurring cast of Time Lords around him do give a greater sense of scope and cohesiveness to his many adventures and deeds that he believes make him undeserving of the title his other incarnations have held in such high regard. However, the appearance of Case, the berserker-class Cyborg that the Doctor rescued from the Daleks before her conditioning was complete, goes even further in developing a true continuity for this series while also giving the War Doctor something akin to a true companion. The Doctor and Veklin, of course, have a long and complicated history given their thoughts about how best to tackle problems within the Time War setting and Veklin’s military history and dedication, and with contact to Haven lost and the possibility of it being under hostile control now, those differences of opinion have rarely been on such overt display. There is, of course, an unstated respect between the two Time Lords, and Jonathon Carley and Beth Chalmers play this fraught and complicated relationship perfectly, one accentuated all the more by the presence of Case alongside Veklin as her history and Dalek augmentations prove to be a wholly unexpected source of dispute within the field hospital.

While the determined and admittedly stubborn Case as so strongly played by Ajjaz Awad becomes a narrative focal point and provides another viewpoint for the Time War as a whole, it’s M.O.M. and the young Runa that naturally come to feature so prominently as the Doctor, Veklin, and Case try to uncover how the distress call is related to the overall loss of contact here. Though the ultimate motivations and actions of an artificial intelligence that has experienced such grief while following its programming are by no means unique, they do provide an exciting dynamic here that through a very surprising source reaffirm just how momentous the toll of this War has been on all fronts. Georgia Mackenzie is particularly impressive as this intelligence that is obviously exceeding its parameters, maintaining a detached air in her delivery while subtly hinting at a misguided emotional understanding driving its shrouded actions and providing a subtle but pervasive menace throughout this story’s runtime and possibly going forward.

Again, in many respects “A Mother’s Love” is a variation on stories and themes that other franchises have delved into previously, but that variation works quite well in this story while allowing for the three leads to reconnect and reach a deeper understanding while showing each of their strengths and distinct thought processes. The War Doctor Begins may have once been a risky proposition with an unknown future, but the confident writing, direction, and sound design along with the expanding roster of recurring actors and characters around the brilliant Carley allow even for clichés and somewhat lower-key threats within the Time War setting to remain vibrant and exciting and continue to elevate this series into one that should not be missed.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.