Fear Nothing

Posted in Audio by - December 25, 2023
Fear Nothing

Released December 2023


Commodore Tamasan has summoned the War Doctor against his will in ‘Fear Nothing’ by Mark Wright, bringing him to a TARDIS drydock facility at the edge of the Time War and thus halting his dogged search for Case and redemption. But just as Tamasan seeks to bring a furtive agenda to fruition, the Daleks have unleashed Case to take out a key Time Lord asset who could be an unlikely key to Time Lord victory, both acts marking a dangerous escalation in this unending battle with untold consequences.

For all of the horrific and ingenious scheming both sides have done to gain the upper hand through increasingly manipulative and deceptive means involving all of space and time, there is a blunt honesty to Tamasan’s assessment that the war will ultimately come down to who has the biggest and best weaponry. To that point, the creation of the dreadnought TARDIS with it immense array of weaponry and uniquely powerful and dangerous engines truly presents a momentous shift in strategy that impresses and horrifies the Doctor in equal measure. Of course, despite the many pleas, proclamations, and desires of so many Time Lords around him, the Doctor has no interest in taking part in this war and much less to lead a vital part of the fight as Tamasan requests, and this particular element continues to create an immense wealth of conflict and drama for this incarnation of the Doctor who still refuses to accept his other incarnations’ chosen moniker yet who still acts with the best of intentions whenever possible even if the potential consequences are much higher than he has ever faced.

While the War Doctor’s claim that he fears everything is perhaps the most defining admission he has ever made, ‘Fear Nothing’ ultimately falters as a story because it covers little new ground of consequence and only marginally advances the story of Case who is beginning to show signs of being able to break through her Dalek conditioning despite still being under their guidance and control. That Case is not an ardent slave to the Daleks’ whims is hardly surprising, but since Case is no longer traveling with the Doctor, this feels like an unnaturally quick shift in her mindset given her firm acceptance of the Daleks’ decree at the end of the preceding story. Yet while she is immensely powerful as a Berserker hybrid seeking her target, her role here is mostly limited to playing something of a cat and mouse game with the Doctor while the Doctor grows increasingly desperate to save Case from herself and to salvage his own sense of pride and morality given how his relationship with her devolved so quickly and dramatically. Jonathon Carley and Ajjaz Awad play these contrasting viewpoints exceptionally well, but there is certainly a more consequential and eventful story to be told than what ‘Fear Nothing’ offers even with the inclusion of such a unique TARDIS backdrop.

Whereas the Doctor in his other incarnations has often relied on his human companions to keep him grounded and to provide a necessary sense of humanity to his alien nature, the War Doctor- even when in the company of humans- often represents that same essence of humanity when contrasted with the increasingly volatile and extreme states of both the Time Lords and the Daleks. Again, this is an angle that both Carley and John Hurt have brought forth with aplomb for Big Finish, but the inclusion of quadrigger Jodall again presents a certain honesty and innocence for the Time Lord side even with her involvement in the dreadnought programme. Firm in her belief in the Doctor-not-Doctor, Jodall also presents a direct contrast to Case who has lost all faith in her one-time companion, and while Case’s determined turn against the Doctor still feels rather rushed even with emotions running high, Becky Wright provides a perfect intermediary voice that bridges the extreme interpersonal conflict between the Doctor and Case while providing an unsurprising yet powerful impetus for the next layer of their momentous conflict. As such, what ‘Fear Nothing’ does, it does exceedingly well; however, at this point in The War Doctor Begins saga, this is a much less substantial and far-reaching entry than expected with much of its character work done by proxy rather than through direct conflict. While Jodall is a superb character who absolutely deserves the chance to shine here, this is ultimately a penultimate story that can easily be skipped without missing too much narrative significance.

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