Sunday, February 24, 2008

Double the Benny...

...double the fun.

Today we decided to just do the final two parts of the Time Ring Trilogy, Birthright and Just War. We start the day off with homemade chicken soup, because nothing goes better on an 80 degree day than homemade chicken soup. On the beer front I've brought Shiner Bohemian Black Lager. Much sadness as I found the local Russian cafe has closed down. I was looking forward to clogging my arteries with sour cream. But we make up for it by having homemade rice krispie treats so I can clog my arteries with marshmallows.

As the treats are liberated from the pan and made ready to eat we slip Birthright into the player. Very quickly we decide the running joke is gonna be laughing like the hooker we hear in the beginning.

Tim: It's the Rani's gas!

After the hooker gets killed we pause so I can refresh Tim and Angelie on what happened in Walking to Babylon.

Angelie: I remember the rings.

Tim figures out that it's 1909 via his book on Jack the Ripper. Which means he's not a demon.

Benny kicks some ass with some Gymkata music in the background. Then she meets up with Colin Baker in the form of Popov. Popov talks about his dead daughter and how he'll avenge her death.

Tim: Probably by sitting on him.

Jason hangs out with the Insect Queen and we learn that apparently they have better psi powers than Uri Geller.

Angelie: She sounds like the Empress of the Racnoss.

Me: Does anyone know who this dead hooker is?

Benny threatens to castrate a local and we all agree that that's pretty cool. All of a sudden Benny busts out a local dialect to keep the locals off her back and Popov busts out the psychic paper.

Me: God has the music come a long way since these audios.

We seem to loop back around to the beginning of Walking to Babylon when once again Jason offers up the use of the time rings to some aliens to keep them from eating him. Meanwhile Benny's trying to make a booty call to John Lafayette.

Tim: Isn't he dead?

Me: No. We just wished he was dead.

Benny reads Lafayette's letter and it's just as schmaltzy as he was in Babylon.

Me: Again, I really wish he'd died.

Next up is more exposition via Jason and the Queen Insect. It's a shame that at least up to this point in the audio it seems the only reason to have Jason is to allow us these exposition moments. All of the action is given to Benny. At this point Jason's not doing anything that couldn't in theory be given to another character. I wish greater care had been taken when adapting this novel for both characters and no Doctor.

Me: Any chance we'll see the Peking Homunculus at the shop? Because this audio needs it.

Tim: I'm enjoying it. Then again I like this period.

The first disc ends and we declare it's potty time.

Me: That was a pretty lame cliffhanger.

Angelie: It's like the beginning was good and then, I don't know.

Me: I wish they had used the point where Jason finds out what's in the larder as the cliffhanger. We the audience can kind of figure out what's coming, but from a story perspective it's a little more engaging as opposed to the exposition cliffhanger we get.

During the break we discuss the physics of Angelie's rice krispie treats, that I contend are full of crack because they're just that tasty. We figure it might have to do with the use of the Jet puff jar of marshmallow mix as opposed to melting marshmallows. The krispie's are so soft that you need to hold them gently with your pinky out to consume them. We also discover that a semi-dry moscato wine goes very well with these treats. It brings out the marshmallow.

Tim: I must be the only one enjoying this audio. I love the period and historically they're on the verge of change that even by and large the educated populace has no idea is coming. You have these progressive things happening, but everyone is still locked into this unenlightened mindset. But I think it's one of the reasons why the Doctor Who universe returns to this period in time. You could spend a whole day watching episodes set in this period but there are very few set in the Renaissance period, for example.

We engage in another discussion of Jason Kane versus Captain Jack.

Tim: Jack started out as a cad and con man but quickly adapted from his time with the Doctor and became heroic.

Me: Because he was designed with that end in mind. He's meant to be this hero. It's never The Adventures of Jason Kane. It's always the Adventures of Bernice Summerfield. Jason is basically the companion to Bernice's Doctor and rarely gets the opportunity to be heroic. He gets it in The Lost Museum and we do encounter other instances later on, but for the most part he was used in the audios as a means to create the problem that Benny's got to solve.

We start the second disc with the riveting Benny getting nearly stripped search scene. Then we get another Jason exposition interlude as he has a private moment where he wishes Benny was there.

Angelie: Get some lube, Jason, because you're screwed.

Popov gets Benny out of jail.

Me: (As Popov) I'd have been here sooner, but I was at the all you can eat buffet.

We decide that we need to drink each time Benny utters "Goddess" and Khan's name is mentioned. Between "Goddess" and "cruk" we have the beginning of an excellent drinking game.

It's back to exposition central as the Queen Insect's Daughter talks with Jason. We figure out that Benny probably just got infected by a Charrl. Seriously, why do they even have Jason in this? He's doing nothing to propel the action.

Benny takes her turn in exposition central as we recap what's going on for those that maybe skipped the first disc. We go through a sequence of Charrl vs Charo vs Churros.

Me : Hoochie koochie! Dear lord, this could've been cut down to one audio if we didn't have all these extraneous exposition sequences.

We get a reunion between Benny and Jason which is utterly devoid of all emotion. He slips his hands inside her bra and steals the key to the lockbox.

Tim: I thought it had to be Benny's voice that opened up the box.

Wow! They let Stephen Fewell have a bit of a chance to act in this finally as Jason worries about whether he should hand over the time rings or not. And then a bit more as he gets to interact with characters that aren't insects and has a tender moment with a sleeping Benny.

Me: Dare I think that Jason will get to save the day?

Angelie: Isn't he due by now to save her? Hasn't she saved him twice by now? (In reference to the Great Divide opening) Oh my god! How theatrical!

The final track nearly kills us as Khan's name is uttered practically every line.

Me: It seemed like a sensible thing to do at the time, calling for the cops.

Tim: It's what the Brigadier would've done. (when Benny and Jason touch their Time Rings) Wonder twin powers activate! Form a roach motel!

We finish Birthright.

Angelie: Is that it?

Tim: It's the end of part two of three.

Angelie: That sucked.

We immediately start up Just War. This time they knock the previously on Bernice Summerfield out of the way as Jason gets drunk with some Nazis. And a nice bit of tying back to Death and Diplomacy as Jason bemoans the war's effect on his family history. Fewell plays an effective drunk.

Benny's diary entry returns for the first time since the Beyond the Sun audio. I do miss the background noise of the pencil scribbling though.

This might be the best incorporation of Jason into a Time Ring trilogy audio as he actually gets something to do. If Angelie can get a t-shirt that says "The Hive Must Live" can I get one that says "Captain Kane, Not a Marvel Superhero"?

Benny races away from the Nazis and in this one scene we get more action that in the entire Birthright audio. Then she pops a cap in Gerhardt's ass.

Angelie: Did Benny kill someone?

Tim: Yep.

Mark Gatiss is exceptionally creepy and evil as Wolff. We get to the sequence where he's torturing Benny and it's incredibly chilling. Lisa Bowerman gets to flex her acting chops against Mark Gatiss as Benny goes through her ordeal. We get a much more satisfying cliffhanger as the disc ends with Benny screaming at Nurse Kitzel not to leave her.

Tim: He was definately better in this than as the U-Boat captain in Sirens of Time and also more creepy than as Dr. Lazarus.

The second disc starts up and Steinmann shows up to interrupt Wolff.

Me: Daddy's come home! And upon looking at Benny's back Daddy's pissed.

Angelie: Kick his ass!

Nice bit with Benny repeating Jason's name over and over as Steinmann rescues her from Wolff. Benny dances around her date of birth and I note that 's probably a bit timey wimey, wibbly wobbly. The interrogation continues and the music suite starts up. It also might be the best of the trilogy. It's a shame it took until the third one for them to really get their groove going on all fronts.

Tim: I honestly think this one might be the best one since Oh No, It Isn't!

Angelie: I don't like this one. They're torturing Benny. She shouldn't be subjected to this. I don't like the subject matter. It's right up there with the first Benny audio.

Again, a nice tie back and emotional moment as Benny is at the height of being tortured and she continues to call out for Jason. Benny takes Kitzel hostage and heads off to the morgue to see if Jason's dead. Benny gets her own as she locks Kitzel in a drawer in the morgue.

Benny and Jason finally get reunited at the German airbase.

Angelie: Tender moment. I normally don't like Jason, but right now...

Tim: The love theme from Just War.

The greatest horror for an Englishman is experienced by Jason as he realizes he gave the Nazis the tools they need to win the war in theory. Sound editing makes it feel like Jason is walking throughout the hangar as he states he will not be the reason the Nazis win.

Benny and Jason steal the plane and we get a bit where they catch up on what's been going on with one another. Benny fills in the backstory as to how she ended up with Ma Doras. I point out that Jason's dad really was a rat bastard.

Jason figures out how to keep the plane from exploding.

Tim: That wasn't entirely bollocks.

We get the inevitable confrontation between Wolff and Benny. Jason shuts up Wolff in mid soliloquy.

Angelie: Shoot him!

Jason reads her mind and pops a cap in Wolff's ass as he starts to gloat about making Benny cry.

Let's recap what we've learned so far in the trilogy:
1) Don't have sex with Benny. Bad things are bound to happen to you.
2) Don't touch John Lafayette. Bad things are bound to happen to you.
3) Much like no one puts Baby in the corner , no one makes Benny cry. Bad things are bound to happen to you as Jason will willingly pop a cap in your ass. Maybe this should be his Ursu code.

Another great moment for Fewell and Bowerman as Jason tries to get back with her after they've returned to the 26th century. I really wish they had gotten more of these moments during the trilogy. I think a big disservice was done by having them split up for some much of the trilogy. As later audios have shown us along with the brief moments we get in this first season they've got great chemistry.

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