It’s that time of the year again, when classic Doctors find themselves about New-Who monsters. In this second set, we’re joined by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth incarnations of our favourite Time Lord in a slew of new stories. Today, I’ll be reviewing the final story in the set, Day of The Vastha Nerada, starring the Eighth Doctor.
As the Time War rages, Cardinal Ollistra of Gallifrey seeks to create ever more dangerous weapons to deploy against the enemy.
When the Doctor stumbles across Synthesis Station, he discovers that the Time Lords have sponsored a project to weaponise already-lethal creatures. But in doing so, Eva Morrison and her team have unwittingly used a colony of Vashta Nerada with a very unfortunate history of humanoid contact.
The Doctor finds himself leading a desperate race for survival, in which the shadows may be the least of their worries…
Ah, the Vastha Nerada, it seems like an age since we’ve last had a story with them, doesn’t it? The carnivorous swarm that lurks in the shadows are once again the focus of the story in Day of The Vashta Nerada. We all know that before the day, there’s always the Night of The Vashta Nerada, and now it seems that the creatures are being weaponised.
The Doctor arrives to answer a distress call; but it seems neither party is quite what the other one is expecting. The Doctor doesn’t find a crew in need of help, and the crew are expecting a Time Lord, but it isn’t the Doctor. From the cover, you can probably guess which Time Lord it is that they’re expecting; Cardinal Ollistra.
It’s not long before the Doctor and Ollistra are locking horns in regards to weaponising the Vashta Nerada so they can help to obliterate the Daleks. The tension between the Eighth Doctor and Ollistra really makes me excited for the upcoming Time War box set, which has been moved forward to October.
The concept behind Day of The Vashta Nerada is really interesting; looking at how genetic manipulation and augmentation can make terrifying beings even more terrifying. War makes monsters of us all, it would seem; and the Time War is the war to end all wars.
The music in this story really emphasises the unease that the characters are experiencing, and it makes the listener feel as if they’re in the action too; which, in context, is bloody bloodcurdling. If there was a choice of being trapped with a Dalek or a swarm of these weaponised Vashta Nerada, I’d be prefer being exterminated any day.
At it’s core, Day of The Vashta Nerada is a classic base-under-seige story, much like Silence of The Library and Forest of The Dead were. The difference with Day though, is that there are so many more types of enemy, all being started from the same deadly source. You thought that the Vashta Nerada were bad? Just wait until you learn about the Nerada Vashta.
I love the fact that Day of The Vashta Nerada is intrinsically linked to Night of The Vastha Nerada, as it highlights just how detrimental the Doctor’s actions are to the universe, and how cause will almost certainly always have an effect.
The last act of the story is brilliantly tense; it’s been fairly ramshackle up to this point, with the Doctor and Ollistra attempting to save as many lives as possible from the Vashta Nerada and the Nerada Vastha, but in the final act, they have to be much more methodical and military in their actions.
The concluding moments of Day of The Vashta Nerada is perhaps the most curious part of this story; as it will make you wonder where it fits in to the larger Eighth Doctor in the Time War narrative. I hope that Matt Fitton has managed to weave this into the larger narrative that’s coming, as it would be a shame for this release to just be an appendage to the main story.
Overall, Day of The Vashta Nerada is a fun, action packed adventure; the dynamic between the Eighth Doctor and Ollistra is being built on, and I think that this story sets up the Time War box set, as well as honouring Night of The Vashta Nerada from the beginning of Classic Doctors, New Monsters Vol. 2.
Should you want to purchase Classic Doctors, New Monsters: Volume Two, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.