Some of the ranges that Big Finish have done over the years have been limited in their scope by the restrictions of their set up – you can’t kill off companions from Doctor Who, or characters on Blake’s 7 who aren’t canonically deceased. While this has meant that some great writing has ensued to ratchet up the tension (and new characters created who are expendable), it’s good to have a series where you really cannot tell who’s going to live and who’s going to die. Even Vienna herself lives by the sword, so down the line could easily die by it…
Mark Wright’s script kicks off the box set with some suitably convoluted plotting, using the Memory Box as a tool in a rather different way than previously. Vienna tailors her style to the target she’s hired to assassinate and I grinned when the method was revealed here. The grin was replaced with a wry smile as the story progressed, and Vienna was forced into some interesting alliances. There are moments that evoke movies like Aliens and there’s a nice Manchurian Candidate vibe to the whole thing, and Ken Bentley’s direction makes sure there’s a suitably rising tide of panic as the situation unfolds.
Chase Masterson is given rather more to do here in terms of emotional range than in the earlier couple of stories, and I hope that’s something that is followed through in the tales to come – it’s good to see that there’s more beneath Vienna’s sometimes brash exterior.
Verdict: A great start with some intriguing hints about Vienna’s past and future. 8/10