Multi-Master Trilogy Review: And You Will Obey Me
Gustaff Behr gives his verdict on the first multi-Master audio from Big Finish.
After half a century of traveling in space and time, Doctor Who finally gives fans what we’ve all sought after for so long. or more specifically, Big Finish does. 2016 marks the return of not just one, but TWO Masters – AT THE SAME TIME!
And because this is Big Finish and these guys love their fanservice, we don’t just get two Masters in one story event. Nope! We get a trilogy of tales. If Big Finish can give us three interlinking stories culminating in a Multi-Master face-off then my mind cannot work out why the television series couldn’t have managed it first. There are certainly more than enough Masters to go around and the television series is the parent program for all intents and purposes. But putting that aside, And You Will Obey Me kick-starts the trilogy by pitting the Old Master (played by Geoffrey Beevers) against Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor.
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.
Before we begin…really Big Finish? I understand flipping photos to make the covers look different, but Peter’s celery is on the WRONG side! That’s a big eyesore!
Now that we have that out of the way, this story doesn’t pull any punches and features one of the eeriest opening episodes in recent memory. I attribute this to the glorious soundtrack. It really helps craft a dreary, almost deathly atmosphere which comes and goes depending on the scene, but is instantly able to darken the mood whenever it needs to.
The Master is dead and the whole universe is gunning for his TARDIS. Alan Barnes’ script is chalk full of interesting characters and the scenes, coupled with a soundtrack which paints a very macabre tale of death and desperation. This is a really intricate tale with lots of balls in the air and lots of layers that are gradually peeled away, just not in the right temporal order which gives it a very timey-wimey feel. There is also actual timey-wimey involved (little bit) for the time travel enthusiasts but unlike most stories, it can be a little hard to grasp at first. Though once you do you feel like kicking yourself for taking so long to do so.
I didn’t care much for the bounty hunters, specifically the first ones that showed up in episode one. It felt like another generic bug-alien monster which made so little impact that even the story itself quickly locked them out of the plot, only letting them back in when it was convenient. This I can forgive though because as I mentioned, they are not that prominent and the overall strength of the rest of the story more than makes up for it.
One of this story’s strongest aspects is the characters. A lot of focus is given to who these guest characters are and in a lot of ways; they feel just as important as the Doctor without stealing his spotlight. I must admit that I started out with my default “meh” when it comes to guest characters (I really just care about the Doctor and his companions), but as the story progressed, I discovered as I do sometimes that I really truly like and care about these characters and the struggle the Master puts them through. As I mentioned, their relationship with him feels just as important, if not more so than the Doctor’s.
The threat of the Master is always present in this story, right from the get go, even if he isn’t in the scene, but when Geoffrey Beevers does appear, he steals the spotlight from right under Peter Davison’s nose. His incarnation was made for this story. No other Master could’ve pulled this off like Beevers’ delightfully devious interpretation. This is fact! While other actors/actresses usually have to prove their evil with some psychotic/evil deed, all Beevers has to do is open his mouth and let the evil breathe. He is absolutely terrifying in this story. I can’t wait for him to meet his future incarnation.
Even after listening to And You Will Obey Me, I still can’t work out what the overarching plot for Multi-Master trilogy is going to be. Every Multi-Doctor arc so far has done a fairly amicable job letting viewers know what to expect from future installments, but with this one, I can’t see past the perception filter Alan Barnes has placed on it.
Time placement for this story: For the Doctor, it takes place after The Awakening, specifically when he leaves Little Hodcombe. For the Master, if you’re counting appearances in order of release, then it takes place after Death Match, but sometime before The Keeper of Traken.
Next month sees Colin Baker’s Doctor face off with Alex MacQueen’s Master in Vampire of the Mind, the second entry in this multi-Master trilogy. As for And You Will Obey Me, I can sum up my final thoughts in one simple sentence: “I am the reviewer and you…will buy this story.”
Rating this story: 9.5/10