RETRO REVIEW: “Arrangements for War”

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Following on from the shocking ending of “Project: Lazarus”, “Arrangements for War” is the next story I’ll be reviewing as part of my Big Finish Retro Reviews series. Be warned, this review WILL contain spoilers!

Written by Paul Sutton, this release deals with the immediate aftermath of Evelyn and the Doctor’s argument at the end of the previous story. Needing a break from the excitement and adventure of travelling through time, Evelyn is taken to the planet Villàg, where she and the Doctor become involved in political proceedings.

The world of Villàg is incredibly well set up by Sutton; we are exposed to much of it through the characters of Rossiter (Gabriel Woolfe) and Krisztina (Katarina Olsen), both of whom are immediately likable. The latter’s Romeo and Juliet-esque arc with Lewis Rae‘s Reid is one of the best parts of the episode: a real relationship between real people and with an utterly, utterly tragic ending.

Evelyn takes the spotlight for much of the episode, entering into a relationship of sorts with Woolfe’s Rossiter. Her interactions with him throughout the story, particularly during the conversation about her heart condition, are incredibly well written, and bring this already-wonderful character to life even more.

Colin Baker continues to cement himself as one of my favourite Doctors, with his character getting a fair bit of development here. It was lovely to hear him setting the two young lovers up, and then acting as Krisztina’s political advisor, though the standout moment is undoubtedly his heartbreaking breakdown at the story’s conclusion.

Steve Foxon‘s music and sound design are one of the highlights of the story. From the beautiful piano that underscores much of the story to the impressive sound design throughout (I can’t single out just one moment; the story is packed with them!), he does a marvellous job of bringing Villàg to life.

Final Thoughts

A wonderful character piece for the Doctor and Evelyn made better by incredible world building and well-written guest characters. Thoroughly, thoroughly recommended.

10/10

Arrangements for War can be purchased on CD or download from http://www.bigfinish.com

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