‘THE LAST STOP’ (DS)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Aboard a Night Train from Boston to Collinsport with Tony and Lou
This ‘Dark Shadows’ audio by Big Finish doesn’t feature Cassandra Collins in it much!
‘The Last Stop’ is the third story in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ of ‘Dark Shadows’ audios. It’s an unusual entry, as it features Jerry Lacy as Tony Peterson and Lara Parker as Cassandra Collins together in only both the opening and closing scenes of the story. That was quite unusual to listen to.
I would have put in a middle scene featuring Tony and Cassandra together when they’re locked up in a prison cell, as Tony recounts his story of being on a night train from Boston to Collinsport to Cassandra. It would have reminded us now and again that Tony was recounting his story to Cassandra. 😐
It’s not even explained how and why Tony and Cassandra were locked up to begin with. Maybe there was a crime case they were solving. Perhaps this is connected to ‘The Tony & Cassandra Mysteries’ series of audios made lately by Big Finish. I can’t be sure without listening to those particular audios.
It was nice to hear something different in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ compared to what I heard in ‘The Death Mask’ and ‘The Voodoo Amulet’. I wish the story had more of a connection to how Tony felt about Cassandra by this point in their journey together. I’ll get into that more later on.
It was funny when Tony said to Cassandra, “Here’s another fine mess you got me into.” As I’m a Laurel & Hardy fan, it was so amusing to hear Tony say that to Cassandra. I think Tony and Cassandra did come from that time where they used to watch a lot of ‘Laurel & Hardy’ films then. 😀
Instead of Mark Thomas Passmore writing for Tony and Cassandra in this audio story, ‘The Last Stop’ is penned by David Llewellyn. I’ve come across David Llewellyn’s writing before, since he’s written a number of ‘Doctor Who’ audios like ‘Serpent In The Silver Mask’ and ‘Tartarus’ with Peter Davison. 🙂
It was intriguing to find David Llewellyn writing a ‘Dark Shadows’ audio as opposed to a ‘Doctor Who’ audio for a change. It was fascinating to check out what the writing process behind ‘The Last Stop’ was from reading a ‘Vortex’ magazine interview with David Llewellyn on the Big Finish website.
I think David does cater well for both life-long ‘Dark Shadows’ fans as well as newcomers like me. I was able to appreciate the story as it was when hearing it as a download on my android tablet. I wouldn’t say I became very excited by ‘The Last Stop’, but then again, I’m not that into ‘Dark Shadows’ as a series.
Apparently, this story had a working title before it became ‘The Last Stop’, as it was originally called ‘This Train Terminates’. I don’t know though. Perhaps ‘All Aboard to Collinsport’ and ‘Journey into Hell’ would have been better titles for this ‘Dark Shadows’ audio story compared to ‘The Last Stop’. 😐
Like I said, the story has Tony Peterson on a night train from Boston to Collinsport. He happens to have had a good day, as he’s renewed an old friendship with a colleague of his and was offered a job he couldn’t refuse. Incidentally, we don’t get to hear the scenes where Tony reunites with his friend.
But when aboard the train, Tony finds himself in the company of an old man who seems to know a lot about him and is presenting him with another offer that he can’t refuse. Tony struggles to resist the temptations given to him by the old chap, but it could mean living forever in a dark endless void.
It was disturbing to hear Tony being trapped aboard this train that seemed to go on forever between the next-to-last stop before the actual ‘last stop’ which is Collinsport. It’s like Tony ended up in hell with the old man who happens to be a ‘dark lord’ in disguise when he tried to make an offer to him.
The old man happens to be played by the late William Morgan Sheppard. I’ve seen Mr. Sheppard before, as he played a Klingon officer in ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’, a ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ episode called ‘The Schizoid Man’ and a ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ episode called ‘Bliss’.
I’ve also seen him in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Impossible Astronaut’/’The Big Bang’ where he played an older version of Canton Everett Delaware III (the younger version was played by his son, Mark Sheppard). It’s very fascinating that W. Morgan Sheppard appeared in this ‘Dark Shadows’ audio.
Apparently, the character W. Morgan Sheppard plays is called Lou, according to the Big Finish website. In the story, he doesn’t say he’s called Lou. I find it unusual that Lou didn’t refer himself as ‘Lou’ when meeting Tony aboard the train. Tony first tries to avoid talking to Lou on board the train.
It’s quite disturbing that Lou happens to be called Legion and he happens to be a representation of the Dark Lord, who I believe is also called Diabolos in the TV series. I think this is meant to be a satanic character featured in ‘Dark Shadows’, but I can’t say for definite without seeing the TV series.
I enjoyed the interaction between Jerry Lacy’s Tony and W. Morgan Sheppard’s ‘Lou’ in the story. It’s an intriguing two hander between Jerry Lacy and W. Morgan Sheppard, as opposed the two handers I had been getting used to with Jerry Lacy and Lara Parker in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’. 😀
Mind you, I wish Cassandra’s name was mentioned more between Tony and ‘Lou’ as they interacted with each other aboard the train. At least it would have made the link stronger for when Tony and Cassandra encountered the Dark Lord again in ‘The Devil Cat’, but that’s a story for another occasion.
I liked it when Cassandra remarked on how Tony met the Dark Lord aboard the night train from Boston to Collinsport when it came to the story’s end. Casandra seems to know a lot about this Dark Lord, but then again she seems to have lived for over 3,000 years, both as Angelique and Cassandra.
Remember when I said the first two ‘Dark Shadows’ audios in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ began with opening narration by Lara Parker? Well here, the opening narration is read by W. Morgan Sheppard. I guess it makes sense, considering he’s Jerry Lacy’s co-star for most of this audio.
‘The Last Stop’ is directed by Darren Gross and was presumably recorded in L.A. in the US and not in London in the UK. As well as Jerry Lacy, Lara Parker and W. Morgan Sheppard, the story also features Andrew Collins as a train conductor. There are also Brigid Lohrey and James Unsworth as passengers.
There’s also Nigel Fairs, who provides the audio’s music and sound design, guest starring as a ghost, who turns out to be the Dark Lord in the story. It was intriguing to hear the shift in the old man’s character once he changed from W. Morgan Sheppard as ‘Lou’ into Nigel Fairs as the Dark Lord here.
I would have kept W. Morgan Sheppard as the Dark Lord instead of Nigel Fairs in order to find out how deep and distorted his voice would have been. I’m also not sure what happened when Tony managed to escape the darkness and he returned aboard the train where he could see Collinsport. 😐
As Tony phones his friend called Patrick to turn down his kind offer of a job, he sees the man ‘Lou’ still aboard the train and smiling directly at him. The telephone rings and Tony answers it to hear the man say to him he’ll see him again. Hmm! Whether this is a foreshadowing of a future tale, I don’t know. 😀
Once Tony finishes telling his story to Cassandra, she becomes more hopeful and expects to be out of their prison cell within the hour. Apparently, Tony’s story gave her time to come up with a plan of escape. Whether this ties-in directly into the next story ‘The Phantom Bride’, I’m not entirely sure. 😐
‘The Last Stop’ has been an intriguing and enjoyable instalment in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ of ‘Dark Shadows’ audios. I wouldn’t say it’s great, but it’s fascinating Tony recounts a story to Cassandra when she wasn’t around and up against an old man, revealed to be the Dark Lord.
I don’t know if listening to ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ of ‘Dark Shadows’ audios is going to persuade me to hear more of their audio stories by Big Finish. At present, I’m curious about how these tales so far build up in terms of the two final stories ‘The Phantom Bride’ and ‘The Devil Cat’. 🙂
After ‘The Last Stop’ in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’, there’s a trailer for the ‘Dark Shadows’ audio called ‘The Carrion Queen’ with Lara Parker and Jerry Lacy.
‘The Last Stop’ (DS) rating – 7/10
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