Queen of Rhodia

Posted in Audio by - May 04, 2020
Queen of Rhodia

Released April 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With Big Finish’s Class adventures constrained to being set within the established television run and not beyond, the stories to this point have by necessity been set earlier within that run rather than later given the tightly linked nature of the latter portion of the series. However, to close out this fourth set of adventures, series composer Blair Mowat turns to writing in ‘Queen of Rhodia’ as the notions of the metaphysical engine and Quill’s pregnancy step forth once again.

In retrospect, the notion of the person who also composed for the televised run of Class now penning an episode makes absolute sense given just how intimately he must know the characters. Even more impressive than the superb characterization that is purposefully skewed from normal, however, is the immense world building Mowat is able to achieve as Quill impossibly finds herself back on a Rhodia that can never have existed. Believing herself to have been taken to Earth for a miserable existence after the Shadowkin vanquished Rhodians and Quill alike, one Corporal Blood and the Rhodian Queen assure her that she is suffering from some sort of amnesia, for she is second in line to the Rhodian throne and a steadfast supporter who has shown no mercy while supporting the Rhodian cause. More surprising than her apparent shift in warfare allegiance, however, is that Tanya Adeola appears to be the queen, a position made all the more bizarre as other Coal Hill pupils show up in surprising roles on either side. Still, as theories about consciousness swapping between realities blend with the suggestion that Quill has been under deep cover while poised to seize control, the action never relents, and a journey that becomes all the more introspective with familiar characters thrust into an altogether new and protective light delivers one of the most unique and satisfying Class tales to date.

Without question, Dervla Kirwan is the standout star of ‘Queen of Rhodia’ as Quill must come to terms with who she knows herself to be amidst this impossible situation that can offer everything she ever desired if true. Showing a degree of hesitancy and humility Quill does not often get a chance to show, Kirwan likewise emphasizes Quill’s shrewdness and pride to remarkable effect as even background information like the temperature becomes crucial to understanding the truth. Along this journey, Simon Armstrong is a capable and strong voice of guidance and reason for Quill as Blood provides the necessary information without ever stalling the plot, and Joanna McGibbon gives a suitably commanding and menacing performance as the Queen who provides one of many unique insights into just how Quill perceives her pupils to be. With Charlie likewise written as more machismo than ever before, the characteristics on display offer strong characterization in their own right without betraying who they truly are, an impressive feat that for the most part lands seamlessly from beginning to end.

Walking a tightrope within the established confines of continuity, Mowat manages to find a vast playground in which to explore Quill while potentially opening up an almost endless means to examining all of the leads in any situation. With a unique premise that pays homage to Quill’s past while delving into her hopes and true sense of self, ‘Queen of Rhodia’ does everything an episode can be expected to do and then some, blending strong writing, premise, acting, direction, and sound design to create an immersive experience that is sure to resonate with all fans and that ends this fourth set on an inarguable high.

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