The Master sure does love Earth. He’s back again, and this time he’s dabbling in the occult, posing as a village vicar, while actually trying to summon the devil.
Okay, so the devil is actually a ‘Dæmon’, from the planet Dæmos or something. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, they visited Earth and helped humanity to learn to destroy themselves, and so they entered myth and legend of many cultures and became the image of the devil. The Doctor makes a point to differentiate between science and magic, but when he’s talking about creatures harnessing psionic energies from people’s emotions, he might as well be talking magic for all the difference it makes.
I would have to describe this one as hokey. It’s clichéd and silly and not very interesting. Even the Master plays a one-dimensional evil villain role, without engaging in banter with the Doctor this time. It is nice to have the Brigadier back, but he doesn’t have much input into the story. For most of it, UNIT is trapped outside an energy barrier surrounding the village, and when they get inside, they spend the rest of the time fighting the ridiculous-looking gargoyle monster, while the Doctor talks the daemon Azal into submission. To top it off, Azal is ultimately bested by “the power of love”, as Jo attempts to sacrifice herself to save the Doctor. I’m almost sorry she didn’t. With the Master captured by UNIT, the world is saved and everyone dances around a maypole. No, seriously, they do.
So, this brings season 8 to a disappointing close. I’ve enjoyed the Master’s appearances so far but the stories have been a bit of a mixed bag. Here’s hoping things improve.