Slowly she gestured to the pile of bodies. ‘I’ve saved a place for you’ she hissed.
I thought the whole idea was bonkers, but gradually as you get through the story you get used to it. The Doctor becomes involved because she has a ‘wand’ aka the Sonic Screwdriver and a cream with incredible healing powers. And in the year of 451AD those are the powers Attila wouldn’t mind having in his armoury. The TARDIS team are split up, which I think works best, thanks to an attack by possessed birds. Yes, Combat Magicks goes Hitchcock. The descriptions of the witches, ways of death, and the bodies on the battlefield are gory and creepy. It causes Combat Magicks to turn serious very quickly. Especially as it increasingly seems the Doctor is not going to be able to fix this mess. The subplot with Ryan and the Legion of Smoke I don’t think was effective. One character from the Legion is Licinia and she and Ryan flirt. Licinia and other Legion member Vitus have a secret hideaway and store old tech? I don’t know, I didn’t really understand those parts of the story and what they had to do with any of the events. Licinia was a strange character. Although there were references to a Blue Box in old files that the Legion had, and it being recorded as being seen in other past adventures of the Doctor. I love when there are references to old stories.
Yaz and the Doctor spent most of the story together, which I liked. Graham has in his possession the magic healing cream and tries to pass himself off as a physician. He winds up doing more harm than good. I liked when he was going into the Roman army camp, and for him it is like ‘pushing through the pages of a school history textbook’
When I think about Witch stories in Doctor Who, I think of The Shakespeare Code and The Witchfinders. Combat Magicks was immersive and I could imagine the scale of it. It is a very good new addition to Doctor Who.
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For those who are curious