Any time that a story focuses on Vila and Avon, you know you’re likely to be in for a treat – as Paul Darrow pointed out in our recent interview, he and Michael Keating know the way in which the other reacts, and they fall back into the rhythms that characterise the relationship between the two easily, even for a story set this early in their “friendship”. There’s a degree of foreshadowing of later less pleasant stories for the pair in this, although writer Andrew Smith meticulously ensures that there is a Series A story in their interaction. Although the concept of Avon volunteering always seems a bit off to me, Smith’s story gives us some further insights into the two Liberator crewmen’s view of the other.
There are plenty of nice touches throughout the story – from Vila’s recognition of Morse code (and the reasons for it) to the final showdown between Vila, Avon and the bad guys – as well as some excellent sound design, a hallmark of this set to date (the use of the voices in Blake’s head in the previous story was also spot-on). John Banks’ Ragnus Lang is someone who would be good to hear from again – some further flashbacks to Vila’s pre-Liberator days are always welcome – and Keating provides a suitably “more in sorrow than in anger” villain.
Verdict: Some surprising plot twists and great performances from Keating, Darrow and Banks combine for a story that feels as if we should have seen it on screen. 8/10