(WARNING: Significant spoilers follow!)
So here we have one of those rare Companion Chronicle stories with more than two actors, and while, as is frequently the case, only one of the actors has actually been on the TV series, in this case that actor is Sylvester McCoy, playing the Seventh Doctor. Yes, for only the third time in seven seasons, we have one of the Doctors actually acting alongside the companions. It’s a good thing.
Now this story ties in extensively with the recent “And Trilogy” monthly releases (“Protect and Survive”, “Black and White”, “Gods and Monsters). It features Sally Morgan (Amy Pemberton) and Lysandra Aristedes (Maggie O’Neill), narrating a story about their time with the Doctor, before they met up with Ace and Hex.
In said story, they attempt to infiltrate a train under the control of the Forge; a train which is apparently carrying one of the Elder Gods that the Doctor has been fighting against lately. Along the way, Sally gets captured by a past version of Lysandra. Things get interesting from there.
This is, yet again, kind of a hard story to review. If you came into it without knowing who Lysandra and Sally are, you’d be totally lost. This is one of those rare stories that really requires that you listen to several other audios to understand what’s going on. If you haven’t done that, the odds of you enjoying this tale are virtually nil.
But if you have, oh, if you have, you’re in for a treat. Lysandra and Sally are both interesting characters, and O’Neill and Pemberton do a great job of bringing them to life. It helps that McCoy is along to play the Doctor. It must be said, I’m not entirely sure why he’s here, when almost every single other Companion Chronicle story doesn’t feature an actor who played the Doctor, but that’s ok. I can accept it, because I like it.
The story is quite good. I had no idea what exactly was in the train, and I liked the explanation for why Lysandra doesn’t remember any of the events in here happening. I also just flat-out enjoyed having a bit more character development for her and Sally.
But all that said, this really is an optional story. If you have been listening to the monthly sagas that feature these characters, you can hear this story and enjoy it, but you don’t have to. If you skip it, you aren’t really missing out on very much. That’s not a slam against the quality, it’s just that if you have a limited budget, and have to be careful what you buy, you can skip this one without missing a great deal of the larger story.
But if you have the money, and you want a good extension to the stories of Lysandra and Sally, I do highly recommend picking up this story. You won’t be disappointed.
Next month, “The Last Post”, the final story to feature Caroline John as Liz Shaw.
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