2 out of 3 found this review helpful.
After a huge amount of build up in The Dalek Contract, the onus was definitely on The Final Phase to tie all of that up satisfactorily. And while I was satisfied with the story that we got, I was, frankly, hoping for a little more. Perhaps that's just expectations talking, but I had hoped that we would get a grand finale that would leave us desperately wanting more. However, it all just seemed very low-key, despite the fact that The Dalek Contract had seemed rather low-key. I had hoped that this part would have gone in all guns blazing, but it ended up not doing any of that. It was a shame, because some of what we did get was fantastic. The mysterious hints about Cuthbert's 'purpose' were really well shadowed, not forced like when the New Series decides to focus upon a character for it's arcs. It didn't feel like it was building him up too much, but the mystery was very interesting. I did think that the Daleks' plan was however hugely predictable, and that was a real shame, because it could have been something very different. However, it just felt hugely anti-climactic, because it all boiled down to the Daleks wanting to conquer everything. Even the Doctor wonders why the Daleks are doing this, which may be seen to be making a point about the Daleks, but it just comes across as feeling like Briggs was completely aware of this problem and just decided to plow on anyway. It just comes across as looking a little cheap. The characterisation seemed a little better here, however. While Cuthbert didn't seem as uber cool as in the previous two parter, I did feel like here, he wasn't just used for comedy, and was rather used for a different purpose. Mr Dorrick also, for the first time, managed to step out of Cuthbert's shadow, and both David Warner and Toby Hadoke gave very confident performances. I am really looking forward to their return at the end of the next season of Fourth Doctor Adventures now after this. The Proximan rebels also started to feel a little fleshed out here, despite the fact they didn't seem as important to the story as they did in Dalek Contract. The parts were well acted, and I feel the subtlety that was in the performance really helped to reflect that. Both Tom Baker and John Leeson were also fantastic, and Nicholas Briggs was once more superb as the Daleks. But this story really belongs to the late Mary Tamm. Her final performance as Romana is really understated, and I love how Briggs gives Romana plenty to do. The final scene between Tom, Mary and John is lovely, and everything you would expect. And she makes that cliffhanger. It isn't just a 'oh, how will he get out of that one?' but a 'my god, he's really dead?' one. And it's all thanks to Mary's brilliant performance. Alistair Lock's music and sound design once more feels evocative of the era, and Briggs' direction is taught and strong. All in all, The Final Phase may have a few issues (glaring ones in some cases), but overall, it's a fun story with some great foreshadowing and an amazing final performance from one of Who's best companion actors. Get it, if only for that.