Ken Bentley picks up the reins for this final story that builds on Time Lord lore, particularly that relating to the titular source of all knowledge and gives us an alternate take on the Matt Smith era’s Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS that is much better plotted and extrapolated from the information that we’ve been given on screen. One of the “inconsistencies” of the 1996 TV Movie is integral to the plot, while there’s some (occasionally less than subtle) foreshadowing of The Day of the Doctor in the character interaction.
Anyone reading this review has hopefully heard the previous two stories – if you haven’t, then stop reading now unless you want to be spoiled. I deliberately didn’t talk about Honeysuckle Weeks’ Heleyna in the review of The Eternity Cage, as much as anything else because I suspected that there was going to be far more to her character than was revealed in that story. That proves to be the case, and while Heleyna finally comes across as quite staggeringly naïve (or, to be charitable to her, so totally caught up in her own concerns that she really doesn’t think through who she’s working with), you can understand why she acts as she does. Josh Bolt’s Kalan becomes similarly more rounded as the episode goes on, and Bentley teases an unusual resolution for the character (unusual in this series anyway).
John Hurt, Jacqueline Pearce and Nick Briggs continue to be at the heart of this series, with the Dalek Time Strategist making an interesting mirror for Cardinal Ollistra. It may be the coincidence of seeing Parting of the Ways recently, but the way Briggs plays the role is very reminiscent of the God of All Daleks from that story, in particular some of the inflections he uses, and the way in which the Time Strategist seems to revel in explaining what he’s doing (even to those who frankly don’t care, since they’re bred to obey!) Hopefully these three will survive the next set – and return for more games of strategy.
Verdict: An excellent conclusion to another strong box set. 9/10