The Time War 3.

Audio Another winner. As I said last year, these Time War boxes are of incredibly high quality, as good a series of Doctor Who as we've seen across the decades. Unlike the boxes set earlier in his timeline, because they're threaded by an overall status quo rather than a plot shaped clothes line on which everything ultimately needs to be pegged, we're able to enjoy stand alone storylines that so far haven't become too bogged down in pointless chases for mcguffins or complex plots which are difficult to sustain across the nearly half decade release cycles they have now.  With the final box out towards the end of this year, I wonder what we'll hear next.

The box designs have changed ever so slightly on the website.  The first two boxes were called The Time War, but definitive article been removed for the cover now and then retrospectively edited for the first two and in a different font.  You can see why this has happened.  The first box had the Pertwee logo from the TV Movie emblazoned on it, the second the Whittaker logo from the Chibnall era and they wanted them to match the rest of the range too.  Plus Doctor Who merchandise wouldn't be Doctor Who merchandise if the spines matched.  It just wouldn't be right.  But I'm still keep the The in these post titles.  So nyer.

State of Bliss

By design, Bliss hasn't quite managed to gel in the same way as some of Eighth's previous travelling companions, mostly acting as a placeholder with some of the same mystery of Clara Oswald in her first eight episodes. Like Clara, State of Bliss makes her origins part of the antagonist's plot to trap the Doctor. The result is an ingeniously low key affair which mixes alternate realities and future probabilities in way which provides an expression for how the Time War is otherwise being fought.  One of those occasions when a relatively stand alone episode that's also connected to the overall theme of the series actually works.

The Famished Lands

Horrible.  Absolutely horrible.  Though I mean that in a good way.  For the most part this is pretty conventional "Doctor Who topples the morally ambiguous status quo" stuff but instead of burning down the house, he appreciates the difficult choices of the rulers and finds another way.  Who stories tend to include antagonists who're taking advantage of a situation for their own nefarious ways, to increase their political capital and power.  So it's an interesting change to find someone who is utterly awful yet you understand their point of view.  But the distinction is made with those who take such decisions for ideological reasons.

Fugitive In Time

Sometimes the ends don't justify the means.  The Doctor's in something of a bind.  He knows the Time Lords have become the despicable thugs that autocrats become in a war setting, but also that the Daleks are worse.  He can reason with his own people to some extent, whereas the pepper pots are just cunning exterminators.  Nevertheless there is a moment in here when you're not sure that he really trusts one of his fellow people or knows full well what she's about to do and lets her do it despite having spent half of the episode trying to stop them.  His open attempts to remain the benevolent alien are being stretched to the limit.

The War Valeyard

Superb.  One of the best aspects of the Time War stories is that it forces writers to ask what so and so would be doing during the conflict.  Some results have been more ingenious than others, but this is just about perfect.  On the one hand it's not really an Eighth Doctor story - he spends much it listening to exposition and only has a tangential part in the solution.  But it finally offers some idea of how the Valeyard both can and cannot exist and also how for all of his nefarious ways, the core being that is the Doctor remains the same no matter what outer shell and personality have been inflicted upon it.

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