Key2Time: The Judgment of Isskar (#117)

Big Finish Main Range

Perhaps it’s how I listened to this audio but it seemed terribly disjointed and I honestly don’t understand how the title refers to anything in the story. Unless it’s about the bad judgment of Isskar but I won’t give away too much there. I think if Isskar and the Ice Warriors as having a JUDGMENT, in the political, very formal sense as they are all about honor. So it’s a bit confusing how the title fits in at all.

The story moves from planet to planet and situation to situation. We’ve already been introduced to Zara in the Companion Chronicle, The Prisoner’s Dilemma. Zara begins as innocent and ends up in a completely different place, learning different mannerisms from Harmonious 14 Zink from the ones Amy learns from the Doctor. And Isskar just never learns over the years. Certainly, the devastation that occurs on Mars is destined to happen and it creates the Ice Warriors. Once again, much like how the Doctor is a part of the creation of the Cybermen (see the excellent Spare Parts audio), the Doctor is involved in the creation of the Ice Warriors as a species, though perhaps not quite so dramatically.

The location of the key in the castle was pretty obvious to me when the Doctor and Amy landed. I was a bit fooled when nothing happened despite all of Amy’s wandering around the castle but it had to happen the way it does to give us a showdown between Amy and Zara. This is definitely a setup for a confrontation later on down the road! The aliens are ultimately a second thought, just pawns for the bigger battle going on between Amy and Zara. They could’ve been bugs and it wouldn’t’ve mattered. hehehe. Is it a “battle” between the White and Black Guardians? If the keys to time are decaying, are they cooperating? Or shouldn’t they be? Why does Isskar follow the Doctor and actually believe a human? It all seems pretty pointless and definitely feels like a game of chess, basically, where people are the pieces being maneuvered into place in a game. So maybe that’s intentional but it was a bit too obvious for me, making things very disjointed and not so interesting to listen to. Thus the 3 jelloid rating.

Peter Davison and Ciara Janson

Writer: Simon Guerrier

Director: Jason Haigh-Ellery

Release: January 2009

Laura Vilensky 2019