As a gentle note to our readers, these reviews will have some spoilers. I try to reduce them as much as possible but the very premise of this one is based on the results of the previous. If you want to avoid that, listen to the other first. Otherwise, here goes…
Picking up from where the previous adventure left us, Jago and Litefoot are back and are heading out on a train to make sure their dear friend Ellie, who died in the previous story, stays dead. Having been killed by a vampire, there’s always the possibility they the dead are not truly dead! That’s sad because Ellie (played by the wonderful Lisa Bowerman) is a great character and her death stunned me. But the very idea behind this story told me, Bowerman didn’t take her final bow.
The first ten minutes are spent getting setup on the train, but things don’t get interesting until the friends disembark from the train. (Odd choice for the title, since less than 10 minutes are spent on the train, eh!?) Jago and Litefoot then get separated so that Jago can have a hilarious reaction with what appears to be a zombie, telling the poor undead thing that he was a boxer. Imagine if The Walking Dead took that same stance? We would have been in for a very different kind of show; one with a lot more life, I’m sure! Litefoot, on the other hand, encounters an old friend (Dr. Crow) who has been studying the works of Dr. Sanders (our villain of the previous story who died in a fire). Crow wants resurrect the dead to give Britain an army of the …recently deceased (?) to help make Britain great again. (Yes, typing this now after just hearing him on the news, I have a new thought about our President and some of his plans…)
Alas, although I enjoyed the story and I utterly love the characters, I found myself rolling my eyes. Crow insists that Sanders is not dead, which made me realize that we’ve traded in Dr. Talp of the previous series for Dr. Gabriel Sanders. He may not be behind all that is evil in the city of London, but he’s clearly getting around. So, like Moriarty’s lieutenant, Sebastian Moran, Sanders comes up as a second rate Talp. (That said, I acknowledge I may end up preferring the vampiric Sanders to the Lovecraftian Talp, but we’re still too early in season 2 for me to make that assessment for sure!) But all of this serves to make it even more unlikely that right after Ellie’s death, our heroes stumble on another of Sander’s machinations. What’s the likelihood? To win me back over, they’d have to do something amazing.
Well, as luck has it, they do. Ellie is one of those brought back, but in truly scary form. Thankfully, she recognizes her friends and just wants to get back to her old job although now she has an insatiable hunger for human blood. So even though I’m delighted to have Ellie back, I’m still a bit unsure how that’s going to play out. Imagine going back to your job after you were found dead on the grounds of said employment? “Can I have my job back,” you ask your employer. If he walks up after the heart attack, what do you say? “They forgot to check if I was breathing?” “They didn’t noticed I’d just had one too many?” “The pool of blood was actually raspberry jam and I landed on it so they thought it was something it wasn’t?” Not to mention, based on every other vampire story ever, how long can she hold out without feeding? How do Jago and Litefoot support her in getting that job back, knowing she could be eyeing every drunk as a potential food source?
Clearly a precedent has been set: season 2 has to be about restoring Ellie! And that’s a good thing because it will keep me interested in the story itself, and not just the shenanigans of the characters, which might occasionally feel like “frivolous flip-flam” but it is always entertaining. I just have to get over how the Brits say “demise”. I mean, I’ve gotten over “schedule” and “vitamins” but “demise” is a bridge too far. Dimese? Dimeeze? If I don’t schedule some time to take my vitamins, it’ll lead to my demise, tally ho!? No… I’m just going to push on to story three… ML