The Similarity Engine

similarity engineWe come at last to the final part of Jago and Litefoot, season 1.  The writers and creators of the series clearly loved the characters and the actors get back in their roles like the professionals that they are.  I’d say they fit their roles “like a glove” but after listening to this story, that might be a bad thing.  Just as Dr. Talp.

What really impressed me with this entire set was that it was so evidently crafted with care.  (Ok, let’s forgive the Al Capone reference!)  The characters are amazing but I’ll credit that to the actors.  It’s more than that.  It’s the world-building around this (technically 5) CD set that is really remarkable.  It starts with The Mahogany Murderers, introducing us to wooden simulacrum (made, unsurprisingly, of mahogany) and under the control of a mysterious Dutch doctor.  In The Bloodless Soldier, the character of Dr. Talp is namelessly introduced, during which time he examines our werewolf without removing off his gloves.  So right from the start, we were given a hint that something was amiss with this guy, but it is just a simple comment and might slip by unnoticed by the fourth story in this set.  In The Bellova Devil, we are introduced to The Far-Off Travelers Club, which we learn has been helping fund Talp’s experiments.  And in The Spirit Trap, we hear of another psychic who turns out to be Talp.  Like my previous analogy, all the crime witnessed in this series seems to center around that evil criminal mastermind, sitting in the center of his supernatural web; our Moriarty, Doctor Talp.  And it’s finally time for our Holmes and Watson to meet Talp.   Richenbach has never been creepier!

To my utter delight, Talp has a bit of a Lovecraftian problem: his hands have mutated into writhing worms that he has to keep covered with his gloves.  Alas, the infestation is getting the better of him and he’s just bursting at the seams to get rid of his rivals.  The story is tense, action-packed, and yet still manages to drop some magnificent lines, like being as useless as a chocolate fireguard.  I cannot hear Jago speak without wanting to practice my alliteration skills.  (Not that mine compare, mind you!)  I also love the fact that we again have references to the infamous Li H’Sen Chang; our villain of the 1977 story The Talons of Weng-Chiang.  Sometimes, it’s just those little Easter eggs that make a story fun.  In this case, nearly everything makes it fun!

Like each episode up until now, the story has a running time of an hour, tying up the fun with a little cliffhanger of its own.  After the events that have befallen our heroes, Litefoot is approached about a grisly murder.  He doesn’t want his friend involved and says that the next adventure is one for Litefoot and Sanders!   Well… I can’t leave there.  I’m in for season 2!!  How about you?

I’ll wrap this series up by saying: (depressingly) I don’t get paid by Big Finish and, in fact, have dropped a pretty penny  over the years on their products, but when a product is worth it, I don’t mind.  Most of what they do illustrates just how much they really do love stories; they live their motto.  Jago and Litefoot is a series that is written from start to finish with care for the franchise and love for the characters.  The actors are in a class of their own, making it impossible for the audience not to love them.  “Buddy stories” are frequently fun but sometimes they are fantastic.  The arc spanned 5 short stories but you won’t want to stop there, and neither will I.  Have a little faith and give these audios a shot.  You might say they are deviously delightful delicacies deserving of dozens of devotees, desirous of deadly dangers for a dynamic duo!  Oh, yeah… I went there!  Long live Jago and Litefoot!  ML

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