Saviour

Posted in Audio by - December 11, 2021
Saviour

Released December 2021

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Serving as a prequel of sorts to this set’s preceding two serials while also providing a more definitive closure to the harrowing events already witnessed, Jonathan Morris brings Warbringer to a close with ‘Saviour.’

The format of this set is interesting because, having jumped in one-third of the way through the narrative with the opener ‘Consequences’ and thus already knowing the devastation with which Warbringer ends, it gives the final chapter a certain sense of dreaded inevitability as failure is all but assured no matter any progress against the Daleks the Doctor might seem to make here. While it shouldn’t be surprising given the Time War is naturally going to be filled with victories and defeats for both sides, it nonetheless is both surprising and almost a relief to see Warbringer commit to showing even the Doctor as fallible in the most extreme sense, his willingness to gamble on himself not always paying off and putting a unique spin on the morality that has fueled his many incarnations as he now tries to balance the need for a warrior with who he has always been.

Intriguingly, as ‘Saviour’ begins, the Doctor is traveling with a new companion whom he rescued, an Australian World War II soldier named Lance Corporal Albert Brown. Timothy Hofmeier is quite strong in his sole appearance to date in this role that his absence in the preceding stories foreshadows will be his final chronologically, and his dedication to the Doctor and willingness to help where possible are strong assets that would certainly make any return appearance from him most welcome. Aside from hinting at further adventures untold with this younger War Doctor, this choice of companion reinforces the thematic undertones of war that this incarnation operates within and quite brilliantly bolsters Case’s argument that this Doctor strategically saves people who can help him further his aims. Much like the famed Seventh Doctor who could almost flawlessly run the longest of games, the War Doctor is proving himself adept at thinking several steps ahead, and through Case who is struggling to come to terms with what the Daleks have done to her and her people as she fights to retain her sense of self through the failed conversion process, the manner through which this Doctor is willing to play on others’ emotions to help his cause is a brilliant piece of characterization that again treads into slightly darker territory than is often shown for any incarnation. Ajjaz Awad once more impresses as this woman who is so vital to the Doctor’s plan and who is more than willing to say exactly what is on her mind without mincing words, and the work put into her character here completes a strong arc for this character.

Of course, the Daleks are once more the main foe as the Doctor embarks on a mission to destroy a Dalek Harvester vessel, and although the story featuring a fake distress call and the Daleks and Doctor posturing against each other is filled with familiar elements, the tense atmosphere and sheer scope of events serves the story well. The Daleks are willing to destroy everything rather than admit defeat, but the Doctor is unwilling to let Tharius’s population be turned into Dalek agents should he fail, setting in motion his failed gambit to save them as shown in the earlier stories. That the Doctor was the individual who restored power to the Dalek vessel as a result of his own ego and thus set this sequence of events into motion is also a strong bit of characterization, and although it is disconcerting to see the Doctor fail with his larger plan and bring about so much death even if the alternative was a worse option, it’s also fitting that he should still hold the importance of a single life saved so dear. It’s a tenuous balancing act, but the writing and the strong performance from Jonathon Carley highlight the requisite emotion needed for such a contrast to work so well. In many ways, this is the definitive story to date regarding just how this younger War Doctor operates and what his unique thought processes are, and with a strong cast of performers in support even with the ultimate outcome known from the start, ‘Saviour’ is a strong conclusion to this second set and certainly maintains excitement and anticipation of just where this Doctor may go next.

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