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Reviews for The War Doctor: Agents of Chaos

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Better and better

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 6 January 2017
Rating:   10

Well, I am glad to say I am a mega fan of John Hurt now as the War Doctor. He is such a ridiculously good actor, is John. One of Britain's finest in my opinion. And his voice is just so suited to audio work. And when its Doctor Who work, then its bound to be memorable! I love his take on the Doctor. He definitely puts his own mark upon the role. And he conveys this Doctor's weariness at the Time War perfectly well throughout all three War Doctor sets so far! He is sublime in his inflection and is never less than seriously impressive as the War Doctor! I am so very glad indeed that Big Finish had the sense to do these War Doctor sets! They have made this fan very very happy indeed.

The Shadow Vortex starts off the third box set superbly well. It has all you could want from a cold war style tale. Russians. Spies. Alien spies and daleks. And of particular note here is Neve McIntosh as the Dalek agent! She's not my favourite character in her portrayal of Madame Vastra, but here she is excellent as the devious and nasty little spy for the Daleks. She is brilliant! And the voice of the Dalek Time Strategist I found really unnerving and weird. Makes this Dalek one of the creepiest sounding ones ever. Nick Briggs really is such a talented guy.

The Eternity Cage gets even grander and bigger in scale. And here, with immense relief, we have a non dipsticky sontaran is who well and truly in the vein of classic series Sontarans! In that he is nasty rutish and short. And its good to show a sontaran who for once isn't a totally out of depth buffoon! Makes a brilliant change as Strax is just a divvy insult to Sontar if you were to ask me. Its great to see them being full on villains again here, and great to hear them whacking the daleks, albeit even if it is only for a very short while. Its good to hear those psycho alien pepperpots get treated like rubbish every now and then! And its also great to hear the conversation between Ollistra (who is once again voiced superbly and easily by Jackie Pearce!) and the Dalek Time Strategist! That makes for a great scene. And the cliffhanger to this episode was genuinely a surprise!

Eye Of Harmony just so happens to be the most epic section of all the box sets so far. Here the daleks are at their boldest ever. Evil refined as engineering. Totally soulless and evil and ever more degenerate! And here they actually finally make me think maybe they are just that bit more sick in the head than the Time Lords. They just go from evil to eviller every time! And the acting from all involved here is very strong indeed. I really like the new character of Kalan, and its genuinely sad as heck when....well, You will have to listen to the story to hear what happens, but its gripping and gut wrenching all the same. John Hurt is at the forefront of these stories, like I said. And boy has the War Doctor saga just gone from strength to strength. Only The Monstrous was a stunning audio cinematic epic, then Infernal Devices raised the game even higher, and now Agents of Chaos is the best of the run so far. Palpable and strong writing combined with superb first class acting. Paired with yet again truly cinematic sound, this all leaves me beaming from ear to ear.

Agents of Chaos is a sublime set. One cant wait for Casualties Of War. I have a feeling this can only be better still....

Old War Stories

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 20 March 2017
Rating:   7

It is easy to get overtaken by the cast for this. Great actors turn in some great performances. Of that, there is no doubt. Honeysuckle Weeks is especially good, wresting nuance out of a less-than-nuanced part. The set itself follows along the lines of the previous two, with a general theme binding all the stories, while the first story seems almost standalone compared to the other two, which are more tightly bound by plot. The theme this time is traitors, and the reference point for the drama is Alistair MacLean. The Doctor is now fully, if very reluctantly, an agent for the Gallifreyan War Council, with Ollistra as his handler. Try as he might, he just can't wriggle out of it. Part one, The Shadow Vortex, has the Doctor chasing down a humanoid agent working for the Daleks, who, for some reason, has gone to 1961 Berlin. The Cold War setting plays counterpoint to the distant hot war going on light years away. The story sets the general style for the series and acts as prologue for the next two. The Eternity Cage finds the Doctor leading a band of soldiers under cover to rescue Ollistra, now captured and held by the Sontarans, who want in on the Time War, the side mattering nothing. The Sontarans have somehow gotten hold of Time Technology. But, there's a traitor in the band of daring Gallifreyans, revealed at the end, and leading to... Eye of Harmony, which attempts a kind of submarine at war story inside a battle TARDIS.

It seems to me that, as I said in my review of War Doctor 2, the Time War backdrop is going to be a limitation on the kinds of stories the War Doctor series can do. This set, as I see it, proves me right. The Daleks seek an ultimate weapon, supplied with a dubiously pompous name and an unconvincing description of what it does. In The Eternity Cage, the Sontarans apparently have another of the same. The Doctor gets to make some speeches about the futility and horror of war. The stories follow predictable war story patterns. All in all, it's a very mixed level. The acting is first rate, the writing not so much.

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