‘The Last Mission’ (Audio)

‘THE LAST MISSION’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Soloman and Mirus Alexa with Egan and Saul

Can Soloman cope with remembering his past?

This is an interesting side-step in ‘The Stranger’ series. ‘The Last Mission’ is an audio adventure of ‘The Stranger’ series set between ‘The Terror Game’ and ‘Breach of the Peace’. It was made on cassette tape during the making of ‘The Stranger’ series in 1994/1995 before it got a CD re-release in 1999.

I would’ve ignored listening to this CD adventure altogether had it not been for the fact that the last four episodes of ‘The Stranger’ on DVD contain a guide on the series itself in their DVD sleeve notes. As well as summaries of the six episodes on video, ‘The Last Mission’ audio gets summarised as well.

‘The Last Mission’ is meant to be the first of what is considered ‘The Stranger Chronicles’ according to the CD. I imagine these were audio dramas meant to be narrated by Colin Baker as the Stranger/Soloman himself in order to allow us his insight on how he saw his life and his adventures.

Ironic considering that only two of these ‘Stranger Chronicles’ were made by BBV. Unless you count the other two bonus stories ‘Coming of Shadows’ and ‘Force of Nature’ as well, but they don’t seem to feature the Stranger. ‘Eye of the Storm’ was also made an as audio before being made into video.

But that’s something I’ll get into more when we come to the end of ‘The Stranger’ series itself. But yeah, ‘The Last Mission’ seems to be the only original audio adventure to be made in ‘The Stranger’ series. A shame that not more ‘Stranger Chronicles’ were made as they would’ve been so intriguing.

This happens to be the second audio drama that I’ve listened to from BBV under the title of ‘Audio Adventures In Time & Space’. The first was of course ‘Wirrn: Race Memory’ with Sarah Sutton. I don’t consider the BBV audios to be as good as the Big Finish audios, but I will have to listen to more.

This audio adventure is by Nicholas Briggs, who is a regular contributor to ‘The Stranger’ series as a writer. The episode is also produced by Bill Baggs and directed by Nicholas Briggs. Interesting how Bill Baggs did not produce and direct this ‘Stranger’ audio episode as he’d done it for the video ones.

‘The Last Mission’ is an interesting insight into Soloman’s character. It starts with him narrating after the event of ‘The Terror Game’ where he escaped from the Protectorate. He seems to have found a new life on Earth which is something I’ll get into more when we come to ‘Breach of the Peace’ next.

Anyway as Soloman narrates, we flashback to when he was the leader of his terrorist cell group in the Preceptor side of the Dimensional Web between his people and the Protectorate. Soloman is a hardened character compared to when he would soften later on and have morals in the series itself.

There are also scenes featuring Soloman when he meets Rose, a girl who offers him accommodation and work in his new Earth life. It was interesting to compare and contrast the life Soloman had before when he was a terrorist and the life he currently he has with Rose when he narrates and reflects here.

In ‘The Last Mission’, Soloman is trying to recall events of his ‘last mission’ (hence the title) in order to re-evaluate his life. This involved killing someone. I think this has something to do with that woman he killed in one of the flashbacks during ‘The Terror Game’. The woman that wasn’t given a name!

I say ‘I think’ because during the mission that Soloman, Egan and Saul go on, they have to traverse through swampy areas. Um, I don’t recall there being swamps in what seemed like a hotel corridor where Colin Baker was dressed up in a tuxedo. I could be wrong here. Please feel free to correct me.

This episode also gives us insight on what happened to Soloman when he got captured by the Protectorate and became used in their Estrangement Programme. It was interesting to discover Soloman willingly agreed to go do the programme to secure the success of his group’s next mission.

Colin Baker is very good as Soloman in this audio adventure. It’s pretty eerie to hear Colin as Soloman compared to when I watched him in ‘The Stranger’ series itself. This would have been before Colin reprised the role of the Sixth Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’ via the Big Finish audios shortly afterwards.

I like how Colin balances his narration with regret over the crimes he committed after going through the Estrangement Programme. This is when he reflects back on the person he used to be. Soloman seems to have been a cruel man, especially when he mistreated Saul upon their very first meeting.

Soloman seems to have been a pretty well-thought out and calculating person when working on the missions he’s on with his fellow terrorists, especially in this audio. It’s interesting how he reacts to Mirus Alexa and he responds to the bargain she offers him when his principles are being challenged.

Elisabeth Sladen guest stars as Mirus Alexa in the episode. Lis of course was well-known for playing Sarah Jane Smith in ‘Doctor Who’ with Tom Baker. I was pleased to hear Lis in this audio adventure and it’s intriguing that she also worked for BBV as well as Big Finish in her ‘Doctor Who’ connections.

Mirus Alexa happens to be a Protectorate agent who gets on the job once Soloman, Egan and Saul are on a terrorist mission on an unnamed planet. Mirus is confident and when she captures and interrogates Soloman, she gradually knows who he is and what he is thinking when revealing herself.

It was Mirus who offered the Estrangement Programme to Soloman once he’d been captured and been allowed to go free to rejoin his fellow terrorists to complete the mission. I did wonder if Mirus Alexa was going to get killed in this audio episode and whether Soloman would feel regret over that.

David Troughton returns as Egan in the audio adventure. It was interesting to hear how Egan and Soloman interacted with each other when they did terrorist missions together. Egan seems to have a lot of faith in Soloman early on, which soon gets into question once he and Saul rescue him later on.

Egan does seem to like using the s**t word a lot in the episode and probably for the majority of appearances he makes in ‘The Stranger’ series. This isn’t helped by the fact that Egan ends up in a sewer at one point. I’m not very keen on Egan using the s**t word a lot every time he’s in the series.

It was interesting to hear how Egan recruited Saul into their terrorist group and how they interacted with each other. Once again, Egan and Saul come across as unsavoury. I’m not how the audience is supposed to be rooting for them, especially since they appear in the last two episodes of the series.

John Wadmore returns as Saul in the episode. At this point, Saul seems inexperienced being among the group of Soloman and Egan compared to how he is later on in the video episodes. Saul comes across as smarter than he appears, especially when he questions Egan’s faith and loyalty in Soloman.

Holly King guest stars as Rose O’Neil in the audio episode. This is technically Rose’s first chronological appearance before she makes her appearance in ‘Breach of the Peace’. It’s interesting how Rose and Soloman meet each other. Rose gets pretty concerned when Soloman has nightmares.

Nicholas Barclay guest stars as the Drain Man who meets up with Egan once he comes out of the sewers. Egan and Saul soon threaten the Drain Man at gunpoint to give them information. The Drain Man eventually complies and is soon thrown back into the sewers. That was very cruel of Egan to do.

‘The Last Mission’ is an enjoyable side-step in ‘The Stranger’ series. It was meant to be the first of ‘The Stranger Chronicles’ on audio, but I don’t think that’s the case once we get to last episode of the series. Colin Baker is excellent as Soloman in the episode and it was lovely to hear Elisabeth Sladen too.

‘The Last Mission’ rating – 8/10


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