Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 12/5/18 5:20 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
The first of a two-part Fourth Doctor story that continues and concludes with "Death Match", "Requiem for the Rocket Men" sees a holiday for the TARDIS team interrupted by a wanted poster and mercenaries looking for an easy bounty. With the Doctor captured and brought to the home base of pirates known as the Rocket Men, it's not long before the Master makes an appearance looking to ally himself with them and their leader Shandar. What follows is a game of cat and mouse between Shandar, the TARDIS team, and the Master with surprises, standoffs, and intense confrontations aplenty.
'Requiem' starts off as a very traditional Fourth Doctor story but it takes a turn into the interesting once the Master arrives on the scene who rapidly becomes the star of the show. The majority of the audio takes place from the Master's perspective with the Doctor working in the background behind the scenes to escape confinement and it makes for some fascinating twists. It's not often we get this narrative shift in a story with both Doctor and Master present and John Dorney's script is once again very strong. I like how for once this incarnation of the Doctor gets to be the one in the shadows rather than his villains and it's a fascinating little subversion that gets more insane the farther it goes. It's a really unique idea for a standard Four story and it makes this audio entertaining as hell as a result.
Tom Baker is gleeful, madcap, and great as usual and K9 gets some very different things to do for once that are actually fun to listen to. Louise Jameson gets to do her standard thing as Leela especially as things start to become more unstable but she gets a surprising moment before the end that will be interesting to see play out in the second half of this story and her performance is really strong as a result. But Geoffrey Beevers is once again the highlight as the Master by far and it's interesting to hear that slimy hypnotic voice having to deal with brutes, mercenaries, and the frustrations that ensue. The Rocket Men themselves are fine but do feel sort of unnecessary with the Master at play who is far more interesting as a villain. This is especially once the first big surprise occurs that reveals some interesting new layers to his character underneath all of the scheming hatred. The soundscape is appropriately loud and explosive with a strong first half that plays with expectations and a second half with a very strong climax that's predictable but a lot of fun in destabilizing the Rocket Men for good.
While previous stories featuring Four, Leela, and the Master have been extremely hit or miss ('Evil One', I'm looking at you....), "Requiem for the Rocket Men" is a major win and a blast of a time that I sincerely hope continues into the second half. It manages to feel familiar and yet new at the same time with great direction, lots to do with well-established characters, and an interesting hook into "Death Match" that leaves you curious and wanting more.