The End of the World

Posted in Audio by - August 29, 2018
The End of the World

Released September 2007

Writer Dave Stone introduced the character of Jason Kane in the 1996 novel Death and Diplomacy, and this character quickly became an integral component to the ongoing adventures and personal drama of Bernice Summerfield. Although there have been some occasional blips in characterisation along the way with some stories choosing to portray him simply as ineffectual and prone to mistakes to drive the narrative forward, he has always provided a unique counterpoint to Bernice both within and outside of the bonds of matrimony, and Stephen Fewell has completely encompassed everything that the role has required him to throughout his many appearances in the audio medium as Bernice and he have tried to make do with their second attempt and realised that they do, in fact, love each other after all. With ‘The End of the World’ that features Jason’s name in top billing, Dave Stone returns to take his creation to Hell and back as Jason goes up against a man with the powers of a god.

Jason learned in ‘Freedom of Information’ that things have gone very wrong with history, and he teams with his Plague Dogs associate Mira who makes her first audio appearance to put his leads into context and to help determine just exactly what has occurred. ‘The End of the World’ begins fittingly and emotionally with Jason sending a message to Bernice saying that he wants to right everything that has gone wrong even though he’ll probably get this attempt wrong as well given how his life has gone so far, and his self-defeated views and outlook on life despite his noble intentions offer a strong insight into the inner workings of this character who doesn’t all too often open stop to express his true beliefs. He led an isolated and friendless childhood and lived in terror of the atrocities people could commit in the world, a terror rivaled only by the sustained abuse of his father to both Jason and his sister that his mother refused to stand up to and that ultimately led to Jason’s departure from home.

Of course, as Jason accedes to the fact that he can be manipulative, he most assuredly knows that he can never hold a candle to Braxiatel who actively alters time and lives to fit his own scheme not because of any malicious spite but simply because he doesn’t care about anyone else. Jason has seen that at this time in his life he should have two children with Bernice, and even Braxiatel’s assistant Clarissa Jones’s mad scheme in Parallel Lives to kidnap Peter that resulted in her death can be attributed to him given that she was only born six years previously to parents killed during the destruction of the Stone Hauser facility and so must have been brought back in time and brought up for one purpose alone. With the time of her upbringing nearing, she understandably had to die before she could draw attention to the alterations made. Jason knows that Braxiatel has been interfering with the context of his memories that would otherwise make them important even if his actual vital memories have been left untouched, and Braxiatel’s scheming and duplicity have never seemed quite so consequential as when voiced so passionately by a very emotional Jason whom Stephen Fewell dynamically develops throughout the entire story.

For such a monumental Jason-centric story, it’s only fitting that each of the characters and events should pay such tribute to everything the character is and what he has been through over the many years. Aside from Mira who offers a wonderful discussion on the ethics of killing in different situations, Jason also travels to Station Zero which used to be named the Tartarus Gate and that creates a crossing point of the multiverse that is one of the few not under Time Lord domain. Tying into his time in The Infernal Nexus, this locale provides the foundation for the human visions of hell, and as Jason traverses Fractured Time and comes across his old travel agent employer while relaying fragments of memories he regains to Mira, it’s all too fitting that Braxiatel’s doorway offers the return to normal space.

Unsurprisingly, despite a remarkable use of continuity in its meandering narrative that even makes sense of Keri the Pakhar’s seemingly disparate origins and the revelation that Bernice is special to Braxiatel just as she was to the Doctor because she is able to make the difficult decisions, it’s the ultimate and inevitable confrontation between Jason and Braxiatel that ensures ‘The End of the World’ will never be forgotten. In a move wholly fitting of the enigmatic Time Lord and yet that is nonetheless shocking, Peter ripping Jason apart with Braxiatel looking on and giving one last utterance of distaste for Jason is a significant moment not only for this audio range but also for any chance of redemption for Braxiatel as the Jason component of Bernice’s life abruptly comes to a close. With spectacular performances from all involved and magnificent direction from Lisa Bowerman, this is truly mesmerising drama from beginning to end and represents another staggering if heartbreaking and agonizing highlight for a series that is truly at its height.

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