Sunday, April 26, 2020

Season 14, Episode 13

Episode 13: Burning Bright
After being ambushed by a Weeping Angel, Penelope finds herself stranded, alone and TARDIS-less, in 1827 London… But Time works in mysterious ways and a good Samaritan soon offers help and hospitality to the “lost traveler”. His name is William Blake – visionary artist and man of faith, madman and sage. Together, they will battle the Power of the Abyss…

We had a fabulous time!  This proved to be an extremely moving episode, with great moments of emotion and humanity – as well as some memorable classic horror, as Lady Penelope and William Blake faced some terrifying Haemovores… which they managed to defeat, thanks to Blake’s indomitable (if bizarre) faith and to Penelope’s unique connection to the Eternal Flame – a real “blast from the past”, taking us back to season 7, when Lady Penelope was battling Fenric and his minions.

The moment when Sylvie realized that Penelope’s good Samaritan was not just a weird guy called Mr. Blake but was in fact the famous visionary artist was invaluable – the perfect mix of incredulity, bafflement and wonder.

Penelope’s estrangement from her beloved TARDIS changed quite a few things, adding an extra layer of emotion and humanity to the story… but in the end, her TARDIS came to fetch her back, piloted by none other than the Doctor himself!  And now, time is running out; together with the Doctor, Penelope must find a way to prevent a disaster of metaphysical magnitude – the rebirth of Kronos himself!  Here comes the season finale…

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Season 14, Episodes 11 & 12 - and some stuff about the Angels!

Episode 11: Sanctuary
On her way to New Byzantium in the 42nd century, Penelope catches a distress call coming from a 22nd century starship… not from space but from within the vortex itself!  After rescuing the crew from certain death, the Time Lady and Alecta soon discover that the family of four is obviously hiding something. A tale of shattered pasts, guilty consciences and hard choices…

Episode 12: Race Against Time
Following her arrival on New Byzantium with Alecta and the Andersons, Penelope once again meets the enigmatic Velkis, who are waiting for her with some very important information to impart. Ancient secrets are revealed, patterns emerge, seemingly unconnected events come into perspective… and Something Terrible is about to happen somewhere in Time and Space.

Episode 11 was full of emotion and great interactions with NPCs – and unless I’m mistaken, it’s probably our first episode ever which took place entirely (well, almost) inside the TARDIS. It also acted as the perfect “scene-setter” for episode 12, which was one of those tricky pre-finale episodes where apparently unconnected events from the soon-to-be-finished season lock themselves together to reveal the Big Picture. In this case, Penelope learned two very essential facts:

1) The Weeping Angels are actually Kronos himself, whose essence had been scattered during the Time War by the Guardians of the Universe (unbeknownst to everyone else, of course); they couldn’t destroy him so they reshaped him as the weird, quantum-locked species we’ve all come to love. Incidentally, I confess I was quite proud of this bit of alternate retcon – which really does make some sense (in terms of powers as well as in terms of appearance).

2) Kronos is planning to Become One once again and the Weeping Angels were after Penelope – or her TARDIS?  She didn’t really have the time to reflect upon this, since the episode ended with our Time Lady thrown back in time by a Weeping Angel... 

When and where will she end up?  We’ll find out in episode 13 (i.e. next Saturday). See you soon!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Season 14, Episodes 9-10

Episode 9: Ends and Means
Following her deliberate regeneration, Susan has decided to leave Avalon to find a place in Gallifrey’s rising new order. A saddened Doctor asks Penelope to take his granddaughter back to the Time Lords’ home planet, where the usual amount of secrecy, scheming and skullduggery awaits the Time Lady – not to mention the Rani’s latest soulless science project.

Episode 10: Night of the Machine Men
The Time Lady returns to Avalon with a new travelling companion – Alecta who, being Rassilon’s daughter, is fed up with being used as a pawn on the grand Gallifreyan political chessboard! To celebrate this decision, Penelope takes her new protégée to 1928 Paris! But in the shadows of the Grand Guignol theatre, the Machine Men are already waiting for her…

Episode 9 proved to be more pivotal than I had anticipated, with Lady Penelope inviting Alecta to join her in her travel… ah, I realize I must explain who Alecta is. I’ll try to be as quick and clear as possible but as you’ll see, the matter is somewhat convoluted. Very early in our campaign, I introduced my own version of the Sirens of Time (based on the Big Finish entities of the same name), who first acted as recurring villains before becoming the subject of a very important, timey-wimey mystery. A few seasons ago, Penelope first discovered that the so-called Sirens of Time were actually once known as the Harpies of Rassilon and had been originally created by the progenitor of Time Lord society as temporal retaliators and harbingers of temporal justice. According to legend, there were twelve of them.

In season 10, Penelope managed to finally defeat the Sirens, theoretically erasing them from reality, before discovering the true origin of Rassilon’s Harpies: they were, in fact, splintered remnants of Rassilon’s own daughter Alecta, whom he had used as an experiment subject, managing to split her past and future incarnations into separate (but obviously) linked temporal beings (hence the number twelve). And in season 11 (our “Key to Time” season), Alecta finally came back as a single, wholly regenerated (but slightly disoriented) individual… who was eventually returned to Gallifrey – before deciding to take leave in Ends and Means.

Episode 10 was a great classic Lady Penelope episode, with the Time Lady facing the now disfigured Master (you know, the one who came from an alternate reality and got partially cyber-converted - the big hidden villain of season 13, which culminated with his attempt to invade Avalon with an army of Cybermen… It ended up with the Master being captured by Penelope and with a very rare ‘mopping up’ intervention by the Doctor (a case of force majeure), who decided to deliver the prisoner to Gallifrey – not the end of the story, obviously… This episode also gave me a wonderful opportunity to portray the real-life Paula Maxa, the Grand Guignol actress known as "the most assassinated woman in the world" (check her out...).