Fatal Consequences

Posted in Audio by - April 03, 2018
Fatal Consequences

Released March 2006

Basing an entire series around a doomsday cult with two conflicting chapters that has collectively only recently discovered that Sarah Jane is the very foundation of its beliefs is a grandiose notion that necessarily entails the need for monumental actions and events on a global scale while simultaneously maintaining the delicate balance of telling a very personal and intimate tale that unfolds through the eyes of the good-intentioned heroine. Sarah has been attacked, stalked, and shot by the acolytes of the cult, but when she tries to turn the tables in ‘Fatal Consequences’, writer David Bishop achieves that balance spectacularly as Sarah discovers that the Crimson Chapter has a weapon that could claim millions of lives and that her own actions may be the instigating cause for the horrendous actions that ensue.

‘Fatal Consequences’ is undoubtedly the story that most directly ties into the sensibilities of the first series with a returning sense of social morality and righteousness on home soil as Sarah asks Will and Josh to investigate the goings-on at a London-based corporation alleged to be tied to the Crimson Chapter and performing illicit animal experimentation. Indeed, the corporation here is the same one that Sarah investigated in ‘Comeback,’ and Patricia Leventon returning as the protester Maude lends a nice sense of cohesion to these interlinked events that take place so far apart both in terms of the franchise’s continuity and in terms of physical release dates. The series has been toying with the concept of bioterrorism throughout its run, and the prospect of a weaponised Marburg virus that can spread and cause death within hours is a shocking but wholly appropriate means of ensuring an apocalypse within the confines of this universe, and the forceful human trials give this atrocity a very human and personal image that works to great effect.

Even if the Keeper of the Crimson Chapter is something of an ill-defined character other than one who is simply following her beliefs, Jacqueline Pearce gives a commanding performance that always ensures her character never becomes an afterthought. Of course, any story that ties a conspiracy so closely to its lead runs the risk of taking shortcuts in terms of revelations and conveniences, but the truth behind Will being part of the Crimson Chapter and, even more importantly, Josh being part of the White Chapter both seem wholly natural given the explanations afforded Sarah and the listeners. In fact, Josh’s backstory of being a detached member of a family with money is suddenly put into wholly new context when Sir Donald Wakefield who has bought both seats aboard the maiden voyage for everyday people into space is revealed to be Josh’s father, and the many times within the previous seven releases alone that Josh has saved Sarah’s life suddenly become much less convenient and much more a part of a long-standing plan of necessity that is about to reach its ultimate fruition.

‘Fatal Consequences’ begins with a devastating twist and never relents until culminating with a superb cliffhanger. Featuring the usual strong performances from Elisabeth Sladen, Jeremy James, and Tim Chadbon, along with a wonderful scene between Sladen and Stephen Greif’s White Chapter Keeper Sir Donald that again changes the dynamic of the series, this is an excellent penultimate instalment that encompasses the very best of arc-based narratives spanning several releases. With several successful callbacks both to ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ and to the previous installments of this series, ‘Fatal Consequences’ manages to achieve the rare feat of enhancing what has come before it while blazing an exciting path forward without sacrificing any of its own self-contained narrative.

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