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6. Exile


What if...
the Doctor had escaped the justice of the Time Lords?


"They want to punish me for being me!"

All the Doctor has to do to avoid being caught by the Time Lords is work in a supermarket and go to the pub. It's a cunning plan - certainly far less dangerous than fighting the dreaded Quarks and all those other alien fiends.

... (more)

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Review By adamelijah 4/16/15 8:43 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
4
Reviewer Says:
No previous stories required.
It's a challenge for these, "What if?" scenarios. This Doctor Who Unbound examines the question, "What if a writer came up with a scenario that's so implausible it strains all credulity or suspension of disbelief?"

Actually, it examines what would happened if at the end of "Trial of the Time Lord," the Doctor ran back to save the Valeyard, who was an evil side of his later incarnations, and the Valeyard instead killed the Doctor and seized his lives, and the Time Lords decided to act like fools and let the Valeyard do whatever he wants.

The answer is that the Valeyard would do evil things. Make that very evil and idiotic things that would in fact ruin his own timeline. And the one person who can stand up and oppose him is Mel Bush, who sets out to show the Doctor the better angel of his nature or kill him if he can't be brought back to sanity.

Once you get the implausibility of the Time Lords letting the Valeyard serve as a free range menace, there is some good to be found in the story. In some way, it's an examination of what a life free of any restraints or discipline leads to. The Doctor's personality doesn't just provide a sense of altruism, but of judgment and a healthy respect for the laws of time and nature that restrain him. The Valeyard tries to obliterate them and this story is the result.

You also have the idea that when you peal away the layers, the Valeyard lacks the courage of the Doctor, and there's something to that, as the Valeyard's plan in, Trial of the Time Lord is an underhanded cheat rather than a direct confrontation. Michael Jayston performs well in this, though only in the last scene do we get any nuance with the Valeyard.

Bonnie Langford also turns in a solid performance as Mel at a couple stages of life. The post-trial Mel and the later, harder edged Mel who is grimmer and grittier. Yes, this story feature a gritty Mel Bush. Bonnie Langford handles the performance well though the script lets her down. The scene at the beginning where Mel kills someone serves to provide ear-catching shock value. It serves no other purpose and was gratuitous plus it undermined the idea that she was still trying to reach out to the Doctor all these years later.

The story is also crammmed with so much continuity (Not only from the TV show, but also from books) that its easy to get lost in it. In the end, it's an odd story. it's a What if Question to which the answer isn't all that interesting or surprising.
Review By komodo 4/8/15 7:31 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
9
Reviewer Says:
No previous stories required.
This is a really good "what if" We get a geat feel for what state the earth would be in had the Doctor not been around for the 70s and 80s, especially to the brigadier's career. More importantly though, this is a good well acted story.

David Warner makes a great Doctor while David Tennant plays the UNIT colonel really well. Mark Gatis also has moments of brilliance.

The story builds slowly and as the pieces come together the perspective changes as mystery becomes curiosity becomes threat and then unfolds into the Master's latest plan, but so much gets revealed along the way that we can't help but see the big picture.

Backing up the solid plot and the great acting are some brilliant moments of comedy with some well written, well timed lines that scream to be repeated.

All up, this was a great piece; non-canon fitting nowhere in any continuity, but a great story anyway.
Review By adamelijah 3/23/15 6:18 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
10
Reviewer Says:
No previous stories required.
One of only two sequels to the alternate Earth scenarios posed by the Doctor Who Unbound series, Masters of War finds the alternate Third Doctor (David Warner) and his companion retired Brigadier Lethrbridge Stewart landing on Skaro, the homeworld of the Daleks and the Thals to once again find the Daleks are ruling the planet, but these Daleks are acting very differently. The Doctor seeks to once again free the Thals, but soon both Daleks and Thals will have to cope with a far greater threat.

The one complaint critics have raised is that this is a very long production, essentially being two one-hour episodes. For my money, it merits every minute of it. This story explores a lot of themes and presents an alternate take on the Genesis of the Daleks. At the end of Genesis of the Daleks, Davros is destroyed by the Daleks because he didn't program them with pity. But in this world, Davros gave some Daleks pity and these remained with him and while the Daleks were still fascists, they were benevolent fascists who came back to protect the Thals by taking over Skaro and forcing the Thals to aid in their own defense. In essence, the main universe Daleks are more like Nazis, these are like a well-intentioned colonial power subjugating native peoples "for their own good".

This take on the Daleks is fascinating and it allows you to see the Daleks and Thals in a new light. These Daleks seem more courageous and less like xenophobic. We also see the Thals great weakness and that is their lack of courage. The Thals seems less like well-meaning peaceniks we met in the very first Dalek serial and more like people who simply lack the nerve to protect their own freedom which led them to conscript the Kaleds to fight their alien enemies, which led to Davros' crippling which led to the creatuibDaleks.

David Warner is great as the Doctor, although kept out of action, a fact the Doctor himself acknowledged in the second episode and of course Nicholas Courtney stepped into being Alistair Lethbridge Stewart with ease. The Daleks really make this story shine, and it's a fascinating world that Eddie Robson's crafted. Overall, the Masters of War is a materful story and a must-hear program.
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