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“What did we do?  For it to come to this…the sacrifices we made so the future would be much brighter.

Good men and women gave their lives, and for what?  So their air could poison the planet?”

Old Sixie and WWII vet Constance Clarke land in a strange Arizona burial mound…one filled with what appear to be…Vikings?

“Oh, Doctor Macht, what are you a doctor of, exactly?  Histrionics?

If you’re going to have a hissy fit, do it quietly in a corner, there’s a good chap…”

When a rich entrepeneur attempting to address global warming by the use of controversial nanite technology stumbles across this mysterious anomaly, there are much bigger concerns than the Department of the Interior’s historical preservation initiatives to address…

“Strongarm tactics, the default setting of the military mind…”
“Do you take us for morons?”
“Well, morons is a little strong, but…”

As superstitious Native American workers begin to flee the site and bodies begin to pile up, the ancient warnings inside the mound begin to come true…and snow begins to fall in the balmy Arizona desert…

“You remind me of my great uncle Jasper. Lived alone, rattling around in a huge tumbledown pile in the country.  He’d spend his days talking to the dog and taking potshots at rabbits from the breakfast room window.”

The Colin Baker Doctor and Miranda Riason’s Constance Clarke appear to finally be developing something of a relationship with this installment. Suddenly, we begin to see some of those welcome hints of warmth and cordial relations that marked the Season 23 Doctor/Peri one, though hardly as pronouncedly protective as that sadly brief iteration thereof.

“Where’d you get the gun, anyway?”
“Well, isn’t this Arizona?  I thought they gave them away with breakfast cereal…”

Michael Shannon’s Dr. Hugo Macht is believably American and believably Business, all bluster and bluff with faux credentials and little to back up the aggro facade.  But unlike all too many of his type, the man actually does have good intentions and a well meaning nature beneath it all, and there’s a lot to be said for that in and of itself.

It’s a difficult tightrope to walk in terms of portrayal – how to be utterly unsympathetic on one hand, but a genuinely good man on the other? While it takes a bit for the nuance to come out (the middle of Part 2, to be precise), Shannon does in fact manage to pull it off.  Nice job.

Author Ian Edginton evokes elements of early Big Finish favorite Land of the Dead, though without the same degree of attention to atmosphere and aesthetics.  This is a military operation in the American desert, after all, not an isolated estate deep in the Alaskan tundra… Even so, the parallels are there, and appreciated.

Let’s face it, I’m a decided fan of Colin Baker.

I like him as a person, I delight in the vagaries and nuances of his stentorian, logophiliac and wry humored Doctor and appreciate his occasional roles in other Big Finish roles (in particular his excellent pair of appearances as the unfortunate Gerald Conway).  Hell, I even got a good laugh out of his winning turn on Come Dine With Me.  If he’s center stage in a given production, it’s got more than a fair shot at winning my vote of approval.

But as of the trio of Constance Clarke tales to date, this is the one where his Doctor is most comparatively front and center…can it be mere coincidence that Shield of the Jotunn is by far the best of the them?