Casualties of War
Roots: H. P. Lovecraft. There are references to Bob Marley, Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Oliver Cromwell, the Duke of Wellington, King Alfred, King Harold, King John, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, Sir Isaac Newton, Rutherford, Faraday, Ampere, Chaucer, Coleridge, Tennyson, Keats, Byron, Shakespeare, Newcomen, Trevithic, Sturgeon, Frankenstein, The Time Machine, Chopin, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Sherlock Holmes, Napoleon, The Terminator ("I'll be back"), Battle of the Ancre, and The Medic journal. The Doctor quotes twice from Hamlet, including the third soliloquy, which might also be a nod to Withnail and I.
Dialogue Triumphs: 'Do you make up this twaddle as you go along? Or do you have specially prepared balderdash ready for just such occasions?'
Continuity: The forces unleashed by Dr Banham are fuelled by the latent physic powers of soldiers, which are released by the horrors of war. These forces animate clay to form walking "corpses". They fire "psychic bullets" from their guns, which a strong mind can dismiss. Banham controls the forces unleashed using an ancient book written in Latin, of unknown origin. The physic forces can manipulate perceptions. It is implied that Banham has been using them to extend his life span. The Dark Forces originate from a time when humans were more in touch with their real nature and are programmed into the psyche; because this is where they originate, they are programmed to respond to psychic control. The forces controlled by Banham become so strong that they start to consume him. They eventual become powerful enough to generate "quite substantial realities". The Dark Force cannot be destroyed, but the Doctor manages to dissipate it; it is implied that the dissipated Dark Force is responsible for the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918 to 1919.
Taking advantage of mistaken identity, the Doctor poses as a man from the Ministry of Health. He prefers lemon tea. He can play the piano. He is lead to Hawkswick by a newspaper cutting. He has his TARDIS collected from Hawkswick when he leaves by Messrs. Bracket and Flockton of Grimston Removals.
The TARDIS is two point seven metres tall and a little over one point two square. Touching it, Mary Minett gets an impression of intense pain.
Links: The Doctor's note from Fitz is still in his pocket (The Burning). The Doctor vaguely mentions nitro-nine, a reference to Ace.
Location: Hawkswick, England, March and August 1918.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor seems to recall meeting Shakespeare (The Empire of Glass). He claims to have chained Emmeline Pankhurst to the railings outside Number Ten Downing Street.
The Bottom Line: 'I think you know what you awoke in me, and I will never forget it'. Casualties of War is a strong début from Emerson, successfully combining a period setting with a Lovecraftian horror story. Its real triumph however, is in its depiction of the doomed love story between the amnesiac Doctor and Mary Minett, making for a touching, and ultimately heart-breaking, relationship between them.