Freedom of Information

Posted in Audio by - August 28, 2018
Freedom of Information

Released June 2007

The Collection once more finds itself under the occupation of outside influences, though the Draconians claim to have come in peace as insurrectionary acts are easily quelled. Ruling by diplomacy rather than by force like the Fifth Axis and the Daleks before, Ambassador Kothar finds himself troubled by the missing Bernice Summerfield, wondering why he continues to hear her voice if she is nowhere to be found and if she is undermining the peaceful campaign under the protection of someone else.

‘Freedom of Information’ makes exceptional use of the expanded roster of characters upon the Collection with Kothar acting as the core and showing well-known figures in a completely new and unexpected light as he continues his interrogtions, and it’s this expanded and dynamic characterisation that carries the very dialogue-driven tale as the consequences of actions taken become ever more devastating. Even with Bernice not as prominent in the real-world aspect of this story, Lisa Bowerman imbues an incredible amount of emotion into her performance as Bernice tries to allay Adrian’s suffering and rebelliousness while preventing any further deaths for any reason. Her approach to revolution is not to take the fight back with guns blazing but instead to slowly chip away at the cornerstone ideology of the Draconian race, a sly and intelligent move completely befitting of the character and that creates a strong core as attempts are made to get Jason to betray her to confirm their suspicions that she was involved in the death of one of Kothar’s men on the day she disappeared.

Unsurprisingly, Braxiatel again comes under Bernice’s suspicion as the Draconians leave him alone, and those suspicions appear to be confirmed when it is learned that the Collection will retain sovereignty under Draconian protection with Braxiatel in charge, suggesting that he has somehow orchestrated this entire war and sequence of events to re-establish his position of control and authority. Indeed, the revelation that he has planned so cunningly to use the confiscations under Draconian control to create an obsession with Bernice within Kothar is staggeringly effective while also allowing for a unique means of exploring this Draconian figure who still remained such an unknown quantity following his vital role in the preceding tale, and Bowerman again excels with this more heightened version of her normal character who knows she is not really there.

Perhaps most pertinent to the war at hand is the developing fallout from Hass’s mission with Joseph to the Mimsphere. As the Collection’s gardener, Hass always collects specimens of plants wherever he goes, but it soon becomes apparent that he has a far darker reason for collecting them here. As the Mim consider themselves the victims of Draconian aggression and the Draconians await the war to properly begin, the Mim perform brutal acts on both visitors due to fears that they could be Draconian spies. With an outward attempt at peace quite possibly becoming the catalyst for true warfare, the war is shockingly ended before it can even begin because of one brutal and near-genocidal action from Hass and the radiation in his pressure suit, and event that Hass allows Bernice to believe was the result of a weapon of mass destruction. It’s this ability to shock without remorse that will ensure this story’s lasting legacy as the consequences of this action begin to unfold, and Braxiatel’s innate ability to subtly move everyone exactly to where he needs them to be to ensure his own success and eliminate the Mim threat he believed to be so great as stated in Parallel Lives is a fearsome prospect that once more proves that the Collection is not the safe haven for Bernice and her extended family that she once believed. As a whole, this tense mystery featuring strong performances and sound design overcomes its overreliance on dialogue to create yet another momentous entry in this heavily-serialised campaign that completely changes the trajectory of the franchise going forward.

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