REVIEW | Gallifrey: Time War 4

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The Gallifrey: Time War saga comes to an end in this four-part boxset. Read on for my thoughts, and beware: there are some mild spoilers!


The set opens with Deception by Lisa McMullin, which sees Narvin (Seán Carlsen), Leela (Louise Jameson) and Rayo (Omar Austin) arrive at the headquarters of group resisting the Time War. They soon split up, with Leela joining young Eris (Samuel Gosrani) as they find themselves caught up in a terrifying Deception Field. What follows is a tense, aurally- rich (thanks to sound design from Russell McGee) story that tests the two characters to their limits as they fight to escape.

Meanwhile, on Gallifrey, we are introduced to the new incarnation of Rassilon, who is brought to life with an exceptional performance from Richard Armitage. He doesn’t appear much in this story, but this electrifying debut for the character sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the boxset. Overall, this is a strong opener. 4/5

In the next story, Dissolution, we find out what Narvin and Rayo were up to during the last adventure. Written by Lou Morgan, the story follows the two as they seek solace with an old friend. This friend comes in the form of the Apothecary (Anna Carteret), a delightfully enigmatic character with ties to Narvin’s past. It’s great that, even though the Gallifrey series has been running for almost twenty years (wow!), there are still aspects of its characters out there to be explored. 3/5

Romana (Lalla Ward) re-enters the fray in Beyond by David Llewellyn, which picks up from the shocking cliffhanger to the last set. Joined by Brax (Miles Richardson), she journeys through the mysterious Beyond in the hopes of finding the Parallax: a mythical object that might help end the war. The two soon find themselves under attack from the voracious Ravenous (George Asprey and Suzie Emmett), who make their return after previously featuring in the eponymous Eighth Doctor series.

It’s a thrilling story with some great twists, particularly with regards to Brax. Given both that this is his only appearance in the set, and that this collection is the final instalment in the Gallifrey: Time War series, it’s no spoiler to say that this is the end of the road for the character; while I’ll stay light on details, rest assured he gets an apposite sendoff. Meanwhile, Romana prepares for the final showdown against Rassilon… 4/5

The set comes to a close with Homecoming by Matt Fitton, which is everything you’d want from a series finale. Epic and intimate, exciting and emotional, this story truly has everything. The main plot is rather simple, but is executed well, and each of the major players in the series, from Romana, Leela and Narvin, to Livia, Mantus and Rassilon, gets their own time to shine.

Nicholas Briggs returns as the Dalek Emperor, while Richard Armitage makes his second appearance as Rassilon, and their confrontation scenes absolutely sizzle with tension. Meanwhile, the other actors give it their all for this final Gallifrey adventure, absolutely doing justice to their characters one last time. While the ending isn’t quite as tied-up as you might expect, the storylines for each of the main characters has a very clear conclusion, and all are very satisfying indeed. Fantastic stuff! 4.5/5


Overall

After three years and four boxsets, the Gallifrey: Time War series comes to a close… and what an ending! This set contains four very different stories, but each is strong and pushes the overarching narrative onwards in a meaningful way. Each and every one of the actors involved gives it their all, Ioan Morris‘ music is fantastic and director Scott Handcock brings everything together with flair. Overall, the series ends on an absolute high. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gallifrey: Time War 4 is available now on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com

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