Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 4/1/19 1:58 pm
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‘Havoc’ begins the set on a dire note sometime after the end of the previous set with the newly reborn Rassilon having taking full charge of Gallifrey as Lord President Eternal. Romana has been surprisingly acquitted and reinstated as head of the CIA after her actions in the previous set. Rassilon, however, is taking a full-burn approach to the galaxy in that whoever isn’t explicitly with Gallifrey in the War is against Gallifrey. But as a mysterious unauthorized TARDIS lands containing a murderous passenger with a motive and message, the events of one night are about to make things significantly darker for the planet and its people.
It’s a great start to the set with plenty of fascinating follow-ups and additional threads to grasp onto. The script is incredibly tight and focused from the final moments of Romana’s trial all the way through an investigation, a push into Rassilon’s inner circle, and a revelation that brings mistakes and regrets fully into the light. David Llewellyn’s writing is absolutely superb in word and language especially in regards to the returning Rassilon. The way certain characters describe him in fear and awe is absolutely chilling and brings more power to him in a story where you don’t see too much of him yet. This is all combined with an increasingly confined and desperate soundscape with the Panopticon falling more and more into states of disbelief and horror at where they are all being led. But yet by the end, there are seeds of hope planting some interesting ideas in place for the future but also setting the tone of where these characters are going for the rest of the series and perhaps the rest of the War.
Each member of the cast is intriguing and well-performed with series veterans Lalla Ward and Seán Carlsen in particular both excelling as always. They both continue to be the driving force of the story in terms of narrative and heart (especially with Louise Jameson, Sophie Aldred, Miles Richardson, and Derek Jacobi out of the picture) and this particular point sees them placed in more dire positions than ever before. However, the rest of the cast is also stellar with Paul Marc Davis’s General Traive being the most notable standout especially with where the story takes him and his character. While Hardiman’s Rassilon has yet to fully make an impression being a much minor role in this first part, his presence is still felt in word and deed with some of his actions not exactly promising in a way the people who brought him back were hoping for. It does feel like a very subtle political jab at many of the current real-life scenarios going on in the world but not in a way that’s at all distracting or noticeable if you aren’t looking for it.
The story does require extensive knowledge of these characters and the previous set so it’s definitely not one for anyone to jump into immediately. The plot also drags a little bit at times and some of the bigger danger moments don’t hit as hard as they could’ve. Overall though, ‘Havoc’ is a strong start with lots to love on its own and a large amount of potential in its runtime to be mined as Gallifrey heads into darker times than ever before. Time will tell if Rassilon and his return will turn out to be a Lincolnian blessing or a Trumpian curse…..