The Eighth Doctor is back amongst the hell that is the Time War. This week, the second of four box sets was released, and today I’ll be reviewing the first story in the set, The Lords of Terror by Jonathan Morris.
When the Doctor takes Bliss to her home colony, they discover that the Time War has got there first. Bliss finds her world altered beyond recognition, and the population working to serve new masters.
No dissent is allowed. The Daleks are coming. The planet must be ready to fight them.
Bliss is going home, and the Doctor is unsure as to how she’ll be able to convince her mum and grandfather that she managed to survive the atrocities that happened during The Starship of Theseus. It’s not long before Bliss and the Doctor realise that something is quite wrong with her home colony of Deralobia. Within the month that she’s been gone, a lot has changed to the planet. Her people are now ready to slaughter the Daleks.
The Doctor quickly realises that something is wrong with time on Deralobia, and Bliss’ parents may not have ever been born. The fact that Jonathan Morris throws another way that time can be bent and twisted during the Time War into the ring so early on is great, as it goes to show just how inventive and tortuous the war can make both the Time Lords and the Daleks.
It’s not long before the Doctor and Bliss find two Deralobians on the run, and they quickly learn about a band of freedom fighters who are rumoured to live in District 17. Of course, this plan is somewhat short-lived before the Doctor gets separated from Bliss, and the Time Lord gets acquainted with an old friend, whilst Bliss learns the horrible truth of the changes of her home world.
There’s a “twist” in the plot around halfway, which I must admit, I did see coming from a mile off, however it quickly becomes a nice tale of morality, with Bliss and the Doctor, even though they’re separated, both attempting to take the moral high ground, with varying rates of success.
I must admit, I really enjoy the spin that Morris has managed to put on the Time War, and how, depending on your point of view, you can see events in very different ways. We’re used to seeing the Time Lords being the good force in the universe, and the Daleks being the villains, however, it doesn’t take much for the roles to be reversed, with the Daleks being the force of good, and the Time Lords being the race that wants total control of the universe.
There’s some really nice mentions back to Genesis of The Daleks too, with the Time Lords blaming the Doctor for the Time War being started.
The latter half of the episode is filled with the Time Lords beginning to revolt against the Doctor in a big way, casting him out even more so than before. It’s great to hear the Doctor slowly becoming more and more warrior like, even if it is just a front for the most part.
Also, how good is it to hear a Dalek again? I think during the last Time War box set, they were properly utilised for the first time in a long while; with the pepper pots from Skaro being at their most cunning and devastating. They’re not in The Lords of Terror for too long, but boy do they know how to make a brutal entrance. I can’t wait to hear them wreak havoc again in the rest of this set.
During the final moments of this release, Bliss gets the best moment that she’s ever had as a companion, and Rakhee Thakrar gets a tiny scene of beautiful raw and emotional acting. I just with that the ending was ever so slightly longer to allow her to really show us what she can do.
Overall, The Lords of Terror is a good start to this second Time War boxset, it reintroduces us to the main characters and themes well, and it’s fairly well paced throughout. There’s no shortage of slaughter or extermination, which is what I want from a Time War story, and I can only hope that the implications that this story has on Bliss will permeate through the rest of the set.
Should you want to purchase The Eighth Doctor: The Time War 2, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.