“Should we be worried?”
“About Tarrant, perhaps. About Vila, I highly doubt it. About Grant, very likely. He’s becoming quite the born-again revolutionary…and we both know how dangerous they can be.”
The Liberator traces Dayna to a crowded way station terminal. Unfortunately, Federation troops are swarming the area, in search of loyalists…
Federation Presidential assistant Pelora (Simone Lahbib), on the run after Servalan’s coup, makes contact with fellow ex-Fed Del Tarrant. And with her…none other than the deposed President, who offers a devil’s bargain: assist their bid to regain power, in return being given a voice for change in Federation government…something Grant in particular finds a particularly abhorrent concept…and a chance for vengeance.
Will Tarrant, Avon and Cally choose to play a game of power on a grand scale? Or will Grant and the easily swayed Vila opt to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to eliminate an old enemy?
As ever, Paul Darrow, Michael Keating and Tom Chadbon offer standout performances among a veteran crew, and Colonel Hastings…er, Hugh Fraser drips villainy with suave self control and surprising savoir faire as the President. Stephen Pacey gets a bit more of the spotlight than usual in his conflicted relations with Simone Lahbib’s Pelora, with Jan Chappel doing her best with a comparatively slight role in the proceedings this time around.
Director Lisa Bowerman gets a few tongue in cheek digs in at the airport (or railway) experience as the voice of the many jokey annoucements that break up the haute tension when not keeping things moving along at a brisk pace while keeping a strong eye towards the characterization all successful audio dramas hinge upon.
This is not an adventure in the proper sense: very little ostensible “action” takes place, in fact. Rather, what has been crafted herein is a complicated game of tactical maneuvering, which touches on both direct political considerations and larger scale philosophical ones. It’s probably far too static and dense for the average Whovian, say, but should feel like candy to fans of the plotting and scheming of political thrillers, or more particularly, such neo-populist yet chesslike fare as Game of Thrones.
With surprising echoes of the dissolution of the radical revolutionary IRA into the far more establishment-oriented (and thereby accepted) political wing of the Sinn Fein, author Steve Lyons risks stepping on a few metaphorical landmines in the interest of telling an all too real tale of the pragmatism and compromise of the political arena.
Moreover, the obvious metaphor being elicited herein draws a greater question to mind, one series creator Terry Nation had in mind all along: are the Liberator crew truly heroes? Or self serving reactionaries?
Yes, in the short term sense, they are heroically fighting a greater entrenched evil against unbelievable odds…but when it comes down to brass tacks, they are little more than single minded revolutionaries, obsessed with overthrow of an existing regime without exactly offering a viable solution for next steps themselves. Obvious parallels with the endless coups and revolutions of Central America (among other parts of the globe) erupt into clear view hereby.