And You Will Obey Me Review

And You Will Obey meI have to admit that ever since Big Finish announced The Two Masters Trilogy, I’ve been dying to hear them; and now they’re here (well the first one is anyway.) We started the year with three months of Peter Davison, and now we get to hear two hours of more Peter Davison; if you’ve read my reviews for Aquitaine and The Peterloo Massacre you’ll know that that’s no bad thing. The first round of the Doctor vs the Master in this series is a fight between the Fifth and the Beevers; but who will win? There’s only one way to find out…

Synopsis
The Master: wanted for crimes without number, across five galaxies.
The Master: escaped his pursuers. Last known location: rural Hexford, England, Earth.
The Master: dead and buried in an unmourned grave, in a lonely churchyard.
Apparently.

Review
Considering that this story is the first act of, what I hope is going to be an epic three part saga, I have to admit I didn’t expect it to start off on such a light note. I’m not complaining in the slightest as I thoroughly enjoyed the opening of the Doctor bumbling into an auction late and the woman next to him assuming he’s there for cricket trophies; and it just goes to show just how wrong assertions can be. Well done Big Finish for proving me wrong. I thought we might start the episode with the Master murdering or plotting or brooding, but that was not the case.

Hearing the Doctor and the mysterious unnamed woman have a bidding war for a Grandfather Clock that seems somewhat familiar is strangely a delight on audio; being able to hear each of the actors getting more and more irate at one another once they’ve been outbid is great fun. I have to confess that I preferred this to any Bargain Hunt I’ve ever watched. The bidding is a great scene, showing just how much people will spend if they think there’s a chance of them getting a bargain. Whilst the auction lasts just under five minutes, I can’t say that those five minutes could have been used any more efficiently, and I must confess I’m not even sure why I love this opening scene so much, I just do. It’s been an age since I enjoyed anything this much without any justification and, truth be told, I love it.

We learn that the woman who was outbidding the Doctor is called Annie, and before you ask, I think she’s okay. It seems that mysterious things are going on in relation to the clock; and that a fair few people have noticed. This story might well be less of a game of cat and mouse as it is a game of cat, cat, cat, cat and mouse. Annie reveals that the clock belonged to the Michael Masterson and I have to wonder why the Master never thinks to use an alias that doesn’t seem to shout out that he is in fact the Master. If his alias was Steven Collins, the Doctor wouldn’t suspect a thing; but then again, with the Doctor and the Master, I think the Master likes being caught.

The background music in And You Will Obey Me is extremely eerie and chilling; and yet again I have to commend Richard Fox and Lauren Yason, the music and sound designers of this release. There’s a great sense of foreboding throughout and it’s never too in your face; it’s just there, gently getting into your psyche and making you feel somewhat uncomfortable. This sound design wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood horror blockbuster.

It seems as if it’s not just humans and the Doctor who were interested in the clock or the grave of Michael Masterson, as it appears that there’s someone known as the Dragon Master who’s also keen to know the whereabouts of the dearly departed deadly deviant (try saying that five times quickly). The first glimpse (is it a glimpse if it’s purely audio?) of the Master that we hear is very reminiscent of The End of Time in my opinion, but with Geoffrey Beevers cackle, it’s brilliantly sinister.

I love a good cliffhanger in a story; that little segment at the end of an episode that keeps you hooked and makes you want to know what happens next; the perks of the Doctor Who Monthly Range is that there’s three cliffhangers to look forward to. I’m glad to report that the cliffhanger of the first episode is rather satisfactory and has a corker of a line… “You! Man with decorative vegetable, you close door.” I love it when normal people in the Doctor Who world point out just how bizarre the Doctor actually is.

Episode Two kicks off exactly where the first left off; meaning we get the answer to the question that was the cliffhanger. The second episode starts with as many twists as a rollercoaster, shaking off any assumptions that you may have made towards the end of the last episode. Alan Barnes seems to understand deeply just how regular listeners of Big Finish work and uses it against them, which makes for an extremely compelling listening experience; I can’t remember the last time I was truly bamboozled by a Big Finish story in the way that I have been with this release… and I’m not even halfway through the story.

It’s really difficult to talk about much that happens in the second episode without spoiling a lot of the story for those who’ve yet to have the opportunity to listen to it; the second episode is jam packed with action as well as both plot and character development. Annie’s character is utterly compelling; having two versions of herself, ‘nice’ Annie and ‘nasty’ Annie; we don’t really get to see too much of ‘nasty’ Annie in the second episode, but I hope that we get to see this side of her later on.

The Doctor’s actions in the second episode also really go to show just how much he cares about what’s going on in the story; there’s a certain moment when he does something very un-Doctor-like and I think that it was for all the right reasons. If the Fifth Doctor was considered the hero of  last months release, The Peterloo Massacre, then I would consider him somewhat of the antihero in the second episode of And You Will Obey Me.

Even though we don’t get to hear much of Geoffrey Beevers’ Master in the second episode, it’s clear to the listener that he’s using his powers of suggestion and hypnosis to toy with as many people as possible. In my opinion, it’s arguably more monstrous for someone to play with their pray as opposed to just putting them out of their misery as it seems that these people have no control as to what’s going on. We may have not heard much of the Master, but towards the end of the second episode I think it becomes very clear just how much power he holds.

The cliffhanger to the second episode isn’t as strong in terms of action as the first episodes, however I do think that it’s much more intriguing as it’s the first time we really hear the Master in the story and what he says does make you want to ask a hell of a lot of questions…

I’ve noticed in my Main Range reviews that the penultimate episode is where we tend to get the most action, the most exposition and normally the most poignant moments of the story. We travel back to 1984 which is seemingly the year when everything went pear shaped; the year that the Master came to visit. Hearing the characters as teenagers and being paranoid that the Master’s fallen TARDIS could in fact be an atomic bomb is a great insight as to what the main fears were in the minds of the youth at the time.

There’s surprisingly a lot of unintentional humour between the Master and the teenagers once they rescue him from his TARDIS; with there being some misunderstanding between genes and jeans. One thing that is rather uncharacteristic of the Master is the fact that he’s seemingly granting the wishes of those who had rescued him; now, I’m not saying I’m a master in the Master, but I bet that there’s going to be consequences to the Master turning into a hideous, burnt genie.

The Master’s manipulation of the teenagers back in 1984 is really eerie, especially once we hear Mikey call him Dad and starts seeing him as a suitable father figure. Personally, I think that being a Dad could be the making of the Master, I’ve been told that parenthood changes a person and I’m sure it’s the same for a Time Lord; I doubt that it’ll be the making of the Master in a positive way though.

During the last third of the third episode of the story; we get a seemingly timey-wimey turn, with the Doctor in 1984 to talk with the teenage versions of the 21st century counterparts who he was having a discussion with. Like I said: timey-wimey. There’s also a self-deprecating joke saying that Tegan had been taken to see a quarry which she described as ‘a busman’s holiday’, seemingly poking fun at the fact that a lot of episodes of Doctor Who are filmed in quarries.

The final cliffhanger of the story I have to admit is quite possibly the weakest of the three, which is a shame; however I have to admit the other two had been very strong.

It’s not until the final episode where we hear the Doctor and the Master actually converse with one another; up until this point, Colin, Helen and Janine were acting as intermediaries. I know that it is totally a matter of opinion but I must admit that I had hoped that we would have had more time spent having the Doctor and the Master spar with one another, as it’s one of my favourite aspects of any form of Doctor Who.

Mikey’s fate is one that I didn’t expect at all; however I think that I would have preferred it if his fate had been sealed slightly earlier in the story as it would have given more time for the effects to be showcased. The conclusion of the story is slightly too happy for my liking; as it seems like the moral of the story is rather fairytale like in that friendship will always win in the end.

Overall, And You Will Obey Me is a fun story that I feel dragged in some places but was immensely fun elsewhere; it’s a strong start to a trilogy and it makes me excited to see what happens in next months release; Vampire of the Mind even with the few flaws that this story has.

Rating
The rating system on the GallifreyArchive is achieved on a scale of 1-10.
For And You Will Obey Me, I will give a rating of:

8.5

Should you want to purchase And You Will Obey Me, it’s currently available physically for £14.99 and as a download for just £12.99, which you can purchase by clicking here!

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