There’s a return to form with this third instalment of the Hunt for Dayna, as Vila finds a vital clue – and then is sidetracked during his research. Jac Rayner’s debut on the Blake’s 7 range has all her hallmarks – smart pacing, insight into characters, and an ability to catch their “voices” so that the dialogue between them feels like a conversation rather than a set of lines. There’s a definite feel of Blake’s 7’s more fantastical tales to this, and the concept is one that would fit in well to the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who.
The focus this time around is on Cally, and Jan Chappell’s performance balances Cally’s longing for someone else of her own race with the character’s natural caution, and ability to sense when something is out of kilter. There are connections to the B7 Media reboot version of the character which is something I’ve noticed slipping in to the stories. I don’t think it particularly works: it sometimes feels like the Christian Bale incarnation of Batman referencing something that happened to the Adam West one – both equally valid but not based in the same continuity.
There’s also some very good moments for Avon and Orac (particularly towards the end of the adventure when the computer is explaining events to the others), and Paul Darrow is thrown a few curveballs that don’t usually come his way in these scripts.
Geoffrey Breton guest stars as Reno, the best description of whom is given by Lisa Bowerman in the CD extras (no spoilers!), whose character reaches both the height of hope and the depths of despair during the story. There’s certainly potential for the character’s return, and I hope this will be sooner rather than later – although I can see him fitting into a Series D story very well too!
The sound design is very important to the story, and it’s good to hear Martin Montague’s take on its creation in the extras – one of the best set of extras we’ve had in recent times – particularly in his explanation as to why sometimes the reality of sound has to be altered for dramatic purposes.
Verdict: Strong writing, performances and direction make this an excellent sidestep in the ongoing storyline. 9/10