1)I debated with myself whether to post this as one or two stories. I went with one, as to me it's all one big story.
2)Of course, this story is all about the return of the Master. We start out with the mystery of Professor Yana - once we know he's a disguised Time Lord, we wonder which Time Lord. Here we have another moment that divides those who are strictly fans of the new show from those of us who also watched the old show. We know pretty quickly which Time Lord it is, and are certain once we hear Anthony Ainley's chuckle, whereas fans of only the new show may not even know who the Master was.
3)As for the Master himself..well, we get two Masters, in a way*. It's a shame we couldn't see more of the Derek Jacobi Master - RTD himself has said that the reason he had Jacobi say "I am...the Master", when it might've been dramatically better to keep that reveal for the end of the episode was that if he doesn't say it, then we would never get to hear Jacobi say he was the Master. In some ways, the Jacobi Master might've made an interesting "anti-First Doctor", and one could imagine him playing against William Hartnell. As for the John Simm Master...I have to admit that I wasn't wild about him at first. Simm's a good actor - it's not that I thought he was untalented. He just didn't seem right in the part to me. He grew on me a little - particularly in his second appearance. There were some parts I especially liked - as when he did his smiley/pouty faces before gassing his cabinet, and later, when he's talking to the Doctor, and he seems downright envious that the Doctor got to destroy two civilizations: "You must have been like God." I also liked the little callback to "The Sea Devils", where we see that the Master still likes children's television. And of course, there was the bit with the ring at the end, RTD setting up the character's next appearance.
4)Oddly enough, the Doctor doesn't do too much in this story, particularly once it moves back to the Twenty-First Century. I thought the "Gollum Doctor" was a little too goofy, and I wasn't wild about the "Doctor as Tinkerbell" moment at the end. I did like the scene with the Doctor anguishing over the Master after he's been shot. "I'm brilliant." Smug bastard.
5)It's funny - although I'm not much of a Captain Jack fan, I didn't like the way the character was treated here. I didn't really buy into the notion that the Doctor would run away from him like that - although, if he hadn't there would've been no story.
6)Martha got dumped on again, enough that she finally got the message and left at the end. First she got to hear the Doctor and Jack go on about Rose: "Oh, she was blonde, what a surprise!" Then her family got arrested and she got sent to wander the Earth telling everyone what a great guy the Doctor was. I did like the bit where Martha made Chan-tho "swear". Chan-Tho was a fun character, too. Shame they killed her off.
7)Lucy Saxon was a fun character, too - dancing while the world ends. Although the fun stopped later on when you realized that the Master had been abusing her - that was creepier than any number of alien monsters, probably because that kind of abuse actually happens.
"Utopia": The Master takes off while the Futurekind break in! Resolution: The Doctor fixes Jack's time-thingie so they can escape!
"The Sound of Drums": The Master gloats as the Toclafane attack and Martha runs away! Resolution: This plan works no better than any of his other plans did!
"Last of the the Time Lords": The Titanic crashes through the side of the TARDIS! Resolution: The Doctor says "What?" alot!
9)Hey, they stole the SHIELD helicarrier!
Overall: An OK reintroduction of an old series character. "Utopia" is definitely worth a look for the bits with Jacobi, and the other two parts have their moments. Martha gets a pretty good leaving moment as she finally stands up for herself. Side note: "Last of the Time Lords" was the tentative name of a Doctor Who theatrical film that was bandied about forever back in thr day, but which was never actually made.
"End of the universe! Have fun! Bye-bye!"
*Although no man could serve them both.
[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]
Ten - "Oh, and the Master came back"
Five - "Did he still have that rubbish beard?"
Ten - "No...oh, he did have a wife"
Love that later exchange between Doctors...
And that's it for me. I've been without cable for 4 years now, so I haven't seen any new DOCTOR WHO since the end of ther 3rd season. But I think these last several stories somehow made me not miss it so much. Oh well...
I was impressed with The Daleks... at first. I was terrified and sickened by The Cybermen... and would probably be happy if we never saw them, ever again. But I did NOT care for what they did with The Master... at all. And I don't buy his never-before revealed "origin", either. Maybe because that interview I read with Barry Letts so many years ago told me all I ever needed to know about the guy. Which is more than the show EVER told.
Another WHO fan who hangs out at the IMDB boards recently said that, after what The Master did in "LOGOPOLIS", it was high time somebody put a STOP to that guy PERMANENTLY. Every appearance since then has made a farce of the hero for not taking care of business. I agree.
"It's a shame we couldn't see more of the Derek Jacobi Master - RTD himself has said that the reason he had Jacobi say 'I am...the Master', when it might've been dramatically better to keep that reveal for the end of the episode was that if he doesn't say it, then we would never get to hear Jacobi say he was the Master."
That the beauty of "The WarMaster" series on Big Finish audio. The Doctor and the Jacobi Master don't even have any face-time, really (I think Jacobi shoots him a significant look at one point), but "The War Master" features Jacobi and the Doctor head-to-head (even it it is a different Doctor).