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Ties of Blood
This is the beginning of the end in ‘Soldiers of Love’!
‘Revelations’ is the thirteenth episode of the ‘Soldiers of Love’ CD series from MTJV Productions. It’s also the penultimate episode of the series and the most complex, as it deals with all that’s happened before in the series and ties up everything that’s been going on with our heroes since the beginning.
I’m amazed with how many complexities there were to this series by the time I came to this episode. So much had been going on and there were plot points in the series that I’d even forgot about. I’ll probably need to re-listen to this CD series again, so that I can clarify some the points I have missed.
It’s incredible that the release of these ‘SOL’ CDs have been so spread out between 1999 to 2005 and that Mark J. Thompson managed to keep up the consistency (more or less) of each episode when he wrote, produced and directed them. I’m not sure I get the logic behind these release dates.
And the fact that Mark J. Thompson managed to have a lot of story told in each of the episodes in such lengthy durations is something that I wonder about his crafting of the series overall. Don’t get me wrong, the series has been decently-crafted especially in fourteen episodes and it’s extraordinary.
But like I said beforehand, I do wonder why Mark J. Thompson didn’t construct ‘Soldiers of Love’ as a season by season series, since it’s all been done in one season and not in a regular pattern of release dates. ‘Revelations’ was the third final episode of the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series to be released in 2003.
Just to mention, there’s a preview for the last ‘SOL’ episode on the back of the sleeve notes for ‘Revelations’. It says that ‘Blood Ties’ will be ‘out’ for Winter 2004. It contradicts the actual release which was in 2005. I will get into this more when it comes to doing my review for ‘Blood Ties’ next time.
The main cast has increased again with our heroes being Turnidus, Gamak, Hywel, Frag, Cilla, Yztabub, Synder and Cindy, now joined by Zalia, Jake, Madame Deephole, Major Grondlepuss, Violet Goodgrip and Crispin Caelys. I don’t think Mark J. Thompson had a clear main cast list from the start.
The episode stars Nicholas Courtney, Anna Karen, Jacqueline Pearce and Gareth Thomas. These four are like the last main celebrity actors of the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series. Most of the characters have been performed by Mark J. Thompson, Mark Preston, Alison Taffs, Peter Ager, Niall Stuchfield, etc.
Like ‘S.O.S.’ before it, ‘Revelations’ begins with narration by Alistair Lock, who provides the listener with a recap of the previous episode and reintroducing the main characters of the series. Surprisingly, there’s no main titles music for the episode as you’d expect. What?! I was waiting for it!
This is like how the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘Sleep No More’ began. I did wonder if this was a mistake on Mark J. Thompson’s part and he forgot to include the opening titles music when editing it together. Anyway, at least that end credits music is given for the episode as it finished. I was relieved to hear it.
The episode continues where it left off in ‘S.O.S.’ It turns out that the Xoolian people on Xoolian Major have been fed through this machine to provide raw meat for beings throughout the universe. This is disgustingly shocking as Turnidus, Gamak, Zalia and Jake (who was found last time) witness it.
Meanwhile, Cilla, Madame Deephole, Synder, Yztabub, Cindy and Caelys face trouble when they venture deeper into Arran’s castle and discover a shocking truth revealed. Violet and the Major get into trouble when facing Dr. Proctor on The Nick of Time whilst Hywel and Frag tackle the evil Arran.
For a change, there aren’t any detailed character descriptions for our heroes in the episode. There are images of the actors playing the characters in the series of course and they give little teasers for what they do in the episode. The front and back CD covers for ‘SOL’ have been inconsistent indeed.
Nicholas Courtney returns as King Turnidus in the episode. I like how Turnidus reacts to the horror of what Arran’s done to the people of Xoolian Major by putting them through this evil factory. I liked the moment when Turnidus defies Arran when he, Gamak, Jake and Zalia finally confront him in the tale.
Unfortunately, Turnidus, Gamak, Jake and Zalia get locked up by former Space Patrol officer, Crannid, who’s now been controlled by Arran. I found it intriguing that Turnidus attempted to dehypnotise Crannid from watching a human do it long ago. Eventually it seems to work on Crannid.
But unfortunately Crannid commits suicide after discovering what horrid things he’s done before Turnidus, Gamak, Jake and Zalia are given a chance to escape their prison cells. They eventually call out and are soon rescued by Snyder. I liked it when Turnidus sees how Yztabub gets distressed here.
Anna Karen returns as Cilla Hammond in the episode. To be fair, I’ve enjoyed Anna Karen’s performances in these ‘SOL’ episodes. I admit I wasn’t keen on her character Cilla, since she was very grumpy and crude for the most part. But there were times when she was so funny and kind-hearted.
In this episode, Cilla does take an authoritative stance when she and her friends venture deeper into Arran’s castle. Cilla does accuse Madame Deephole for being a villain at some point, but she admits her mistake when Madame D reveals the truth. I did like the scene Cilla and Madame D share in this.
It was surreal hearing Anna Karen and Jacqueline Pearce’s characters talking to each other in the same scene. Cilla does get a chance to confront her brother Arran and defy him when his evilness gets the better of him. There’s also a moment when Cilla’s sentimental after Arran’s apparent death.
Jacqueline Pearce returns as Madame Deephole in this episode. I did think for one moment that Madame D was going to be revealed as a villain in the episode as that would have been an amazing plot twist. But this doesn’t turn out to be the case, as Madame D used to be a former lover of Arran’s.
It was interesting how the history of Madame D gets explored in this episode, especially where it concerns Arran. It seems that Arran was disguised as someone called Nathan when Madame D had a love affair with him. It also turns out that Madame D had a child from her love affair with evil Arran.
It gets revealed by the end of the episode that Yztabub happens to be Madame D’s son, who she’s been looking for. It also turns out that Arran is Yztabub’s father. This was quite a shock when I heard it in the episode. Madame D keeps up her wits and humour despite the shocking twists in the story.
Gareth Thomas returns as both Hywel Hammond and Arran in the episode. I imagine that Hywel has a beard in the story whereas Arran is clean-shaven. I’m just assuming this from seeing the behind-the-scenes photos of Gareth Thomas during the making of the ‘Soldiers of Love’ audio CD series.
Hywel is with Frag when they deal with Arran at the beginning of the episode. Hywel didn’t trust Arran’s ‘change of heart’ and he was right to do so as he and Frag get framed by him. They also get knocked out unconscious before they wake up as Cindy and Caelys take them back to The Nick of Time.
Arran is gleefully evil and cunning in this episode as he reveals his master plans to our heroes as well as sharing some shocking truths about Yztabub’s true identity. There is a moment when I thought Arran was killed in the episode. But then he comes back at the climax and gets even crueler than ever.
Mark Preston returns as Yztabub and Frag in the episode. I like how Yztabub’s true identity gets revealed in this episode, as he turns out to be the son of Madame Deephole and Arran. He’s understandably shocked by this, as he can’t comprehend why Arran would do a terrible thing to him.
Frag realises Arran’s evilness and decides he doesn’t love him anymore, thank goodness! Frag and Hywel work together to free the Xoolians before Arran catches them out. I did find it funny when Frag and Hywel wake up the moment Cindy and Caelys take him back to The Nick of Time spaceship.
Mark J. Thompson returns as Galileo Gamak, Cindy and Major Grondlepuss in the episode. Gamak is imprisoned with Turnidus, Zalia and Jake after seeing the horrors of Arran’s factory. He’s relieved to hear from Synder that Caelys is still alive. I wonder if Gamak will learn the truth about Crispin Caelys.
Cindy shares an interesting relationship with Caelys, as they fall in love with each other and ‘do it’…oh my goodness! Where did this come from?! It came out of nowhere! However, I do like that Cindy and Caelys have this romantic relationship. Cindy still doesn’t know how long she has has to live.
Major Grondlepuss is with Violet aboard The Nick of Time spaceship when they confront the villainous Dr. Proctor. They get tied up by Dr. Proctor, which annoys the Major and Violet. I do find the Major’s high-pitched voice amusing to listen to. It is a joy you do not have to take him seriously.
Nick Kirby returns as Helmut Snyder in the episode. I did wonder if there was going to be any more confrontation scenes between Synder and Gamak in this episode, but perhaps that’s saved for the next one. There’s a moment when Snyder gets shot by Arran. I wonder if he’ll turn into a wasp again.
Alison Taffs returns as Violet Goodgrip, Zalia and Retsab/Maureen. Violet shares being tied up with Major Grondlepuss aboard the Nick of Time after confronting Dr. Proctor. I don’t think there are standout moments for Violet in the episode. I wonder if there will be for her in the final instalment.
Zalia gets to share her imprisonment with Turnidus, Gamak and Jake. She’s also disgusted with what Arran’s doing to the Xoolian Major people in his horrid factory. I don’t think there are many standout moments for Zalia either, although she does encourage Turnidus in dehypnotising Crannid.
The Retsab/Maureen continues to be on a monstrous and murderous rampage, with Mark J. Thompson as Teddy and Mrs. Pubas inside of her. It was pretty grotesque when she eats up the corpse of Kreega in the story. Retsab/Maureen soon finds Arran and teams up with him at the end.
Peter Ager returns as Jake, Hywel’s lover in the episode. Jake made a surprise return in the previous episode ‘S.O.S.’ where he reunited with Turnidus and Gamak. I wonder if Jake will reunite with Hywel in the final instalment. Jake is also horrified with seeing the Xoolian people in Arran’s factory.
Niall Stuchfield returns as Crispin Caelys and Dr. Proctor in the episode. I did like that moment when Caelys heard that Colonel Franklyn was killed in ‘Breaking Loose’. He’s clearly upset by the news. I did like it when Caelys; Cindy; Hywel and Frag were shocked to see Dr. Proctor on board the Nick of Time.
Dr. Proctor is back in his half octopus-half lesbian glory, as she seeks to get vengeance on Turnidus for some reason. Not sure why Dr. Proctor would want vengeance on Turnidus, but then again she is bonkers. Just to say, I do like Niall Stuchfield’s look as Dr. Proctor on the back of the ‘Revelations’ CD.
Tiran Arkel also returns as Crannid, the former Space Patrol officer. I thought we’d seen the last of Crannid as he only appeared in ‘Deathtraps’ and ‘Metamorphs’ in the series. Crannid is under Arran’s control at the beginning before Turnidus dehypnotises him. It’s a shame when he committed suicide.
There is no song provided for the ‘Revelations’ CD, nor is there one provided for ‘Blood Ties’. I wonder why Mark J. Thompson decided not to include songs for the last two CDs of the series since he provided them for most of the episodes. Like the CD covers, these songs are inconsistent in ‘SOL’.
The episode ends with Yztabub seemingly pushing Arran into the grinder and he gets distraught about killing his own father. But when Retsab/Maureen and the real Arran turn up, it turns out the body that Yztabub pushed into the grinder happened to be his own. Yztabub’s lost his body! Oh no!
‘Revelations’ is a good penultimate instalment in the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series. It is pretty complex in places and there are plot points I need to re-listen to. But on the whole, this episode provides some shocking twists for our characters as well as resolving some story points hanging about in the series.
I’ve nearly finished ‘Soldiers of Love’ and I wonder how it’s all going to end in the series finale. It has been a mixed bag for me to listen to this CD series, but hopefully I’ll gain some enjoyment in finding out how our heroes will defeat Arran and how these story points get resolved. Will our heroes win?
‘Revelations’ (SOL) rating – 7/10
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