Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 2/21/19 7:12 pm
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In teaching Ben, Polly, and Jamie how to fly the TARDIS, the Second Doctor accidentally brings his team to Russia 1942 in the middle of WWII. When they rescue a young female pilot from the snowy landscape after a small skirmish, they are soon captured by a group of aviators known ominously as the Night Witches. But a strange connection is brought to light when one of the pilots is found to bear an exact resemblance to Polly herself and thus by superstition one of the two is expected to die.....
'Night Witches' is a good historical for the Second Doctor team that plays with the exact double idea at the same time to varying degrees of success. The soundscape is incredibly good with lots of chilly vibes, loud explosions, and aerial / land-based machines in various forms of combat. The premise by Roland Moore centers on a part of the war that I don't think too many people will have heard of and it's a fantastic idea that brings a strongly diverse cast with it. Each member of the Witches themselves is very interesting and played by some of the strongest cast members I've heard in an audio format. They feel like a fully fleshed-out unit that you sincerely admire even as they are sometimes forced to work against our mains.
Speaking of our team, it's a decent story for them even if one or two feel a bit underutilized. Both Ben and the Doctor get a lot of strong moments and drama and Polly is the obvious focus of the story delivering strong emotion and raised stakes as the bigger twists begin to happen. But Jamie doesn't do much more other than follow the Doctor around and provide his distinct voice despite Frazer Hines, as usual, being fabulous in playing multiple roles. Despite a lot of the good, this story does have a few significant problems. The length on this really gets exhausting by the end and there are a lot of moments of forced tension that feel extremely unnecessary. Despite how much the bigger twist with the doppelganger character is played up, not much comes of it outside of some neat character interactions and in how it influences the rest of the cast around them. Thankfully, the smaller pieces and bigger picture still work well especially with narration provided by Wills that helps a lot in keeping the story going.
I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary listening for this team and I can think of a few other stories I would rather listen to again over this one. That's not to say that this story is in any way bad though and 'Night Witches' is still a fine release and well worth hearing if you like the setting or this team.