Apparently Jacqueline Pearce has described this as one of the best Blake’s 7 scripts she has ever read, and who are we to argue with the Supreme Commander? Particularly when she’s spot on – at least as far as the handling of her character is concerned, this is Servalan at her best (or worst, depending on your perspective).
James Goss’ script uses the “three” motif throughout, both in places that are immediately obvious, and in others which you may only catch on a second listen through – which is something you’re going to want to do virtually straightaway, once you’ve heard the final scenes.
How much of what Servalan reveals about her past life is true is inevitably open to question – she’s pretty much the definition of an unreliable narrator, after all, particularly when talking about herself – but what emerges (if true) is the genesis of a sociopath told in a manner that the creators of Bates Motel and Hannibal should envy (and emulate). Cullen has an obsession with the truth, but the latter part of the play brings to mind Sir Francis Bacon’s line, “‘What is truth?’ said jesting Pilate but would not stay for an answer” (as well, of course, as Jack Nicholson’s comment on the subject in A Few Good Men).
Everything that happens is carefully set up and layered into the dialogue, which Pearce and guest star Joseph Kloska relish as if it’s a stage play – which, frankly, this could easily be. Director Lisa Bowerman ensures that the soundscape never becomes static, with (inevitably) three different locations, as well as plenty of associated sounds for the flashback sequences.
Verdict: Full marks are rare on this site: the piece in question has to be pretty much unassailable. This is Big Finish’s third (and as it happens, Goss’s second) for one of the best contributions to the Blake’s 7 saga. 10/10