Written by James Goss and released in December 2018, Call for the Dead is the first audio story in The War Master: The Master of Callous box set. Unlike the first season, which chronologically takes place after this box set, this box set is one big story line – akin to a BBC miniseries – and follows the exploits of a mining colony. Front runners include Cassandra and Elliot King and Cassandra’s wife Martine.
I have very mixed feelings about Call for the Dead. At times it feels like one of those gimmicky themes that are purposely put there to tease the audiences. Like Let’s Kill Hitler. Another point of contention is the fact that despite his name being on the box set cover, this cover is very Master-lite. Instead we get to do some world building with Elliot King, the general manager of sorts of the mining colony. We’re also introduced to his daughter Cassandra, who he doesn’t have a strong relationship with, sacrificing her childhood all for the sake of mining some strange mineral called Swenyo that drives people mad from too much exposure to it.
Teremon, a greedy, bordering on extortionist business woman serves as the antagonist for the series. She’s the governor of Callous and she basically takes every opportunity to take everything Elliot King has and stuffing her pockets, keeping the citizens of Callous in a perpetual state of poverty.
All of this is good and all, but I bought this box set for the Master. I applaud Big Finish for dedicating the entire episode to showing us just how much Elliot King is struggling to keep the mine open. I appreciate that Teremon is a no good greedy bitch that deserves whatever fate has in store for her, and I adore the fact that this episode features an Ood following people around with a ringing telephone begging them to pick, but it’s just not enough.
World building is fine, but the story spends like forty minutes telling us one story, then throws a fantastic twist our way only to start retelling that exact same story with another character. It feels unnecessary. Plus we’re now paying Derek Jacobi to be in his own box set as little as possible.
Full confession the scenes which do feature Derek Jacobi are the best bits of the episode. They’re short and creepy and really unsettling, but they also showcase just why Jacobi needs to be in every scene. His Master is just that good.
Touching a bit on the Ood, I like the add-ons Big Finish have given them. There is a new element to them that is really unsettling, but feels obvious given the outings we’ve had with them so far. Silas Carson who provides the voices for all the Ood is fantastic and nerve wracking at times.
What did you think of Call for the Dead? Did you enjoy it? Are you waiting for my other reviews before picking it up yourself? Comment and let me know. As always, until next time.