RETRO REVIEW: “The Angel of Scutari”

Following the stellar “The Magic Mousetrap” and “Enemy of the Daleks” is the final story in this Seventh Doctor trilogy. Will “The Angel of Scutari” deliver a hat trick? Or will it let the trilogy down? Read on to find out, and beware spoilers!

This story follows directly on from Enemy of the Daleks, with Hex seeking comfort after witnessing the atrocities committed on Bliss. The Doctor takes him to Crimea, where he can put his nursing skills to good use; there, he teams up Florence Nightingale (Jeanie Spark) to heal the war’s wounded, while the Doctor and Ace set off to Sevastopol to get to the bottom of a most intriguing mystery.

The Angel of Scutari is mostly a pure-historical story, though there are some shenanigans with the TARDIS in part four that elevate it above that. The Crimean War is a part of history I knew very little about, so it was great that Paul Sutton gave us such a wide look at it with this script, which travels all throughout the conflict’s timeline.

Hex (Philip Olivier)is the best-served character by this story, and rightly so. He went through a lot in the last episode, and this script deals with the aftermath of that. The character’s rapport with Florence is one of the highlights of the piece, and where we leave him at the story’s close is intriguing to say the least… It looks like this story arc is really kicking it up a gear.

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) get a lot to do as well, the former meeting with Tzar Nicholas I (Hugh Bonneville) in an effort to clear his name of a treason he supposedly didn’t commit, and the latter encountering Lev Tolstoy, played compellingly by Jon Albasiny.

The sound design on this one is wonderful. Toby Hrycek-Robinson brings the Crimean War to life with flair and Ken Bentley directs wonderfully as usual.


Final Thoughts

The Angel of Scutari ends this trilogy in an immensely satisfying manner, tying up the loose ends of the last story and setting up the next one while immersing the reader in a historical adventure full of charm, emotion and adventure. Thoroughly recommended.

9/10


The Angel of Scutari can be purchased on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com

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