Jago and Litefoot! Or is it Litefoot and Jago? Whichever it is, they both deserve top billing anyway, so I’ll accept either, but they are back in their third adventure for season 2 and short of the last few minutes Moriarty-ing Sanders (yes, I made a verb out of that) the story is a stand-alone one that is very good! First of all, let’s talk about something I’ve only mentioned in the last review: the cover art. Cover art could remain the unsung hero of these audios, but this one is especially worthy of praise as it breaks the fourth wall with actors putting on a show of actors putting on a show of actors putting on a show of… well, you get it, right? It’s important because the 4th wall is about to be broken in another Big Finish experiment that is exceptionally clever.
Jonathan Morris gives us a story taking place shortly after the events of the last story when Jago and Litefoot go to the Frost Fair and encounter some performers who are able to make dreams come true. Litefoot is able to cure Ellie of her vampirism and Jago becomes the sole proprietor of another theater! Things are going swimmingly for our heroes at the start of the story… until things start to go wrong!
I confess, I fell for the events for a while before I started to understand that we were listening to an Inception style story with dreams within dreams. I actually thought the audio cuts were a mistake on my part where I had the audio tracks being randomized, until it hit me! About half way through, Jago says “It’s a dream come true” and I had that V-8 moment (the moment where you smack yourself upside the forehead realizing you needed a vegetable drink to get the brain working). Eventually the duo work it out and realize there’s a fourth wall (“It’s as if there’s an audience out there, laughing at us!”) but what I absolutely love with this is that it offers just enough ambiguity to create an exciting listening experience. The 4th wall gets completely shattered when Jago and Litefoot speak out loud that “we know we are fictional characters” written by someone else. It’s only through that realization that they can break the theatrical spell, but ironically, for us, the listeners, that’s exactly what they don’t do! In fact, I’d argue that they come to life that much more in these scenes. Maybe it’s because I am utterly engrossed in their stories, or because the characters are so real, being told, even by the characters themselves, that they are not real, makes my mind revolt. And how could we not love these characters?
There’s a moment during the episode where Jago asks Litefoot for forgiveness for doubting him and Litefoot’s heartfelt “there’s nothing to forgive” just epitomizes what makes these two so great. Jago and Litefoot may have been created in the shadow of Sherlock Holmes, but they can stand shoulder to shoulder with him as audio giants.
The story ends with a 5 minute epilogue where the Moriarty of this season returns to taunt the heroes and we’re given the hint that the story will come to an end in the final chapter. Will Ellie remain a vampire or will she be cured? Will Sanders survive to come back another day? Or will season three have a traditional ending allowing for a new series to start in Season 3? Jago does get his own theater in the end, and Litefoot may be onto something for Ellie. Is it a dream come, or is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? Tune in to find out… ML