Sunday, December 20, 2020

Season 15, Episode 8

Episode 8: Ship of Fools

2993 AD. 300 of the wealthiest people in the Earth Empire have abandoned all their worldly riches to embark on the ultimate voyage – a one-way trip beyond the Gates of the Sun, to the cosmic city of Heliopolis, where the divine Solarians will grant them the gift of immortality. Yes, they’ve been conned and will soon meet their fiery doom. Enter Lady Penelope...

Another great adventure – and a masterful performance from Sylvie, who played Penelope with a perfect mix of self-confidence, wit and humanity. So far, the Seventh Penelope has displayed a brilliant form of grace under pressure and what I can only describe as sprezzatura – an elegant and nonchalant self-assurance, which was already a strongly latent personality trait but seems to have become full-blown since her latest regeneration…

The plot was directly based on the recent Big Finish audiobook Shadow of the Sun, with some significant alterations and somewhat different NPCs. I changed the identity of the main villain and greatly emphasized the “happy cult suicide” angle, drawing inspiration from the real-life OTS tragedies, but with space opera trappings, including a crumbling (and slightly decadent) galactic empire and a lot of space VIPs in white and beige (with some slightly kitsch gold bling thrown in for good measure).

Last but not least, the presence of the newly-transformed Count of Saint-Germain at Penelope’s side added a very interesting dimension to the episode, which served as the perfect illustration of what the Time Lady has discussed with him during the prologue (their responsibilities as time travelers, the temptation to act as demiurges, etc.) – a great moment of narrative serendipity.

Next episode: our Xmas Special!

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