DW: Ravenous 4 – Day of the Master Review

DW Ravenous 4 P2

The Ravenous storyline comes to an epic two-part conclusion, though really the epic and enjoyable parts about this story have nothing, or very little, to do with the Ravenous themselves. We do get some long awaited continuity with the Master though! So let’s take a look at “Day of the Master” and see how it all gets tied up…

Synopsis:

The Doctor investigates a mystery in the vortex, Liv follows the trail of their enemy, and Helen searches for a god. Everywhere they go there is a Master or Mistress, but is the Doctor’s oldest enemy there to hinder them, or to help? With the TARDIS crew scattered and lost, only a miracle can save the universe. And for that to happen someone is going to have to die.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

DW Ravenous 4 P3 Cover

Not sure why Eric Roberts is hidden in this cover when he’s on the overall boxset cover, but whatever…

So the best thing about Day of the Master was, thankfully given the title, The Master. The Doctor, Liv and Helen get split up and meet the TV Movie Eric Roberts Master, the War Master and Missy, respectively. There are some fun interactions here, but at the end the three Masters end up meeting and this is where the properly fun stuff happens. Missy coming on to the Eric Roberts Master, the War Master being constantly frustrated about his future self’s … personality, to put it politely, and in the middle of it all is The Doctor, The Eleven and the Ravenous. It’s properly fun, and then the final scene happens. The three Masters arrive where the old Melty Master died in the previous story and reveal that the War Master had made a paradoxical deal with the Time Lords: a new regeneration cycle for his old self so he can exist in the present and help them as he is doing currently. Using a new technique (that I’ll get to later) Geofrey Beevers’ Master FINALLY regenerates, and although we don’t hear him, Missy says “Hello you.” at the very end, obviously signifying that the Macqueen Master is indeed the one right after Beevers and the first of their new regeneration cycle. I had assumed this due to certain dialogue in previous releases, but it was nice getting the dots connected.

The main plot revolved around Artron, the man who discovered what would become known as Artron Energy. The Master and The Eleven both wanted either his brain print or him in general so they could find out his big secret: how to regenerate without changing your body, and do it an infinite number of times. The Eleven does get his hands on it and uses the Crucible of Souls from the Doom Coalition storyline to give everyone infinite lives and therefore feed the Ravenous eternally. This leads to a rather funny (in a dark way) series of scenes where either the War Master or the Roberts Master keeps shooting Liv dead, only for her to revive straight away. Can’t praise Derek Jacobi enough, and I know this isn’t the first time I’ve said it, but his mild curiosity mixed with general disappointment when Liv comes back the first time is brilliant.

DW Ravenous 4 P4 Cover

A stellar trio of British stars right there!

As for The Eleven’s end, when he plan is unravelled (more on that below!) he tries to escape with the Masters, but gets shot by each of the three before being bundled out of their TARDIS. Left dying, his other selves start taunting him in his head, the Eleven refusing to believe he’s regenerating until he hears his own voice in his head stating “this is what it’s going to be like now!”, showing he had already began the process and that he was now just another voice in his overcrowded cranium. It was a perfect end to a really fun villain, it’s a shame The Twelve is a bit crap…

Oh and I mentioned the new technique, so it’s implied that using Artron’s brain print is what gave the Time Lords the ability to grant a new regeneration cycle to The Master, and the War Master says that they’re going to keep the technology and keep it set to the old rules of 13 lives etc. That means that the Time War Time Lords giving The Doctor a new set of lives in “The Time of the Doctor” was all thanks to the adventures of this two-part audio story. So not only is it significant in showing us how The Master finally got a new set of lives, but it also explains the yellow Artron Energy that gave The Doctor his new set of lives as well. Got to love a bit of fanwank!

Those are the main points that come to mind, but in general it was a proper two hour thrill ride, with no choice but to listen to both parts back to back because I was enjoying it so much.

The Bad:

DW Ravenous 4 Cover

The overall cover… which may as well just be a cover for this story, to be fair…

Ravenous is what these boxsets were called, but generic “evil clowns” talking about eating people was really dull, and sadly this was never improved upon. This is the big finale, and while we find out they started off life as a race of intelligent monkeys living on a planet in the Time Vortex that was destroyed by a combination of The Master and Artron, and I didn’t really care. At the end Artron, who for the record was the mysterious wish granting man from the Christmas two-parter, wishes the Ravenous back to the Monkeys they once were and then finally dies, the apes taking his body with them. Again, I didn’t really care, this was all about The Doctor and his companions interacting with different Masters, or different Masters interacting with themselves, or at most the culmination of The Eleven’s insanity, I didn’t care about the evil clowns, and that’s a shame given the series’ title.

I’ll also say that while I loved Missy with her past selves, her with Helen had some properly cringey dialogue. I think they went a bit too far with her obnoxious modern day references and phrases during their time travelling, but it then switched to being funny when she was teasing her other selves, so… *shrugs*

The Continuity:

As mentioned, this explains how both The Master got a new set of lives beginning with the Macqueen Master, as well as how they granted The Doctor a new set in “The Time of the Doctor” (not that it really needed further explanation, but whatever!) The War Master remarks to Missy that they’ll have to erase the TV Movie Master’s memory, which Missy glady volunteers for, in order to do it like River Song does (in other words, giving this Master a kiss), which combined with the fact that the Eighth Doctor doesn’t see or interact with either The War Master or Missy means there are no continuity issues there.

As the finale of Ravenous it also ties back into several older episodes of this strand, including revealing who the mysterious wish man was in “Better Watch Out / Fairytail of Salzburg”. The Eleven returns to the Crucible of Souls, where he and other assorted baddies gathered in the Doom Coalition storyline, specifically “The Crucible of Souls” from Doom Coalition 3.

Speaking of The Eleven, he regenerates into The Twleve as well, although we don’t hear her, she first turns up in the Eighth Doctor Time War story “Planet of the Ogrons”.

At the end The Doctor, Liv and Helen are headed somewhere where The Doctor says they’ll have to spend a while due to the TARDIS being damaged, which will lead into the next storyline titled “Stranded”…

Overall Thoughts:

Day of the Master was a great two-part story, full of fun action and plenty of continuity nods. It didn’t do anything to establish the Ravenous as anything other than an afterthought, but hey-ho, I can’t fault such a fun experience for the other episodes inability to make teeth-chattering clowns into a viable or interesting monster. Plenty of great Master stuff, more fun Eleven stuff, and a good Doctor / Companion team getting a good outing. Nothing but praise for this one!

5 Star Listen

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