After a number of stories set later in the show’s chronology, we jump back to Series A for Steve Lyons’ tale – and indeed back to a period which hasn’t been mined particularly by Big Finish to date, the time before the opening episode of the show. Unlike Doctor Who, where pre-An Unearthly Child tales were frowned upon for many years, there have been occasional forays into those days pre-The Way Back (Paul Darrow’s Avon: A Terrible Aspect, for example), but nowhere near as many as one might expect, at least regarding the TV series continuity.
Lyons’ tale plays on Roj Blake’s capacity for self-deception – an aspect of his personality that he’s confronted about by Stephen Greif’s Travis in this story. Gareth Thomas and Greif recapture the enmity between the two men, but also reveal the ways in which perhaps they’re more similar than they care to admit.
As with some of the best Blake’s 7 stories, there’s a degree of ambiguity about the whole set-up, and despite the coda, you’re still not sure exactly what happened. It’s the sort of story that this Chronicle format is perfect for: we need to be inside Blake’s head for this to work best – when you get to the end, try to imagine how it could have played out as a full-cast drama.
Verdict: An intriguing tale that fills in some gaps in Blake’s backstory – possibly… 8/10