The Green-Eyed Monsters

Posted in Audio by - August 03, 2018
The Green-Eyed Monsters

Released June 2002

Taking Professor Bernice Summerfield into the realms of motherhood is one of the bravest and potentially most dramatically satisfying narrative changes that Big Finish could have made with the character, especially given her rough history with ex-husband Jason in a marriage that was somewhat underexplored in Bernice’s Virgin novels but who now seems poised to be a recurring character to enmesh Bernice’s past and present as she tries to raise a child within the dangerous confines of her chosen lifestyle. Dave Stone’s ‘The Green-Eyed Monsters’ for the first time presents everyone at the Braxiatel Collection as a true family, albeit an incredibly dysfunctional one in which Jason and Adrian are naturally wary of each other and what the other means to Bernice in the long-term, and so it’s no surprise that Bernice leaps at the opportunity to head into the Goronos System by herself to authenticate highly significant artefacts and totems, not realizing the hidden importance of what she has left behind.

Lisa Bowerman as Bernice perfectly captures the conflicting emotions of newfound motherhood, determined to cut down on alcohol consumption to be a good mother and to make a diary so that Peter can remember her in case she ever falls in the line of duty but also not afraid to- in light and cheery tones, of course- tell him that he has wrecked her life. Left to care for Peter as Bernice furtively departs, both Jason and Adrian develop immensely even within the broadly humorous tones of the story, and it’s refreshing to hear that Jason’s abusive childhood and the feelings he developed for Bernice while married have not been forgotten and to discover that Adrian’s people mate for life even if the males have nothing to do with the children, explaining his hidden desire for Bernice that he must ensure she never discovers. Stephen Fewell and Harry Myers are magnificent in their given roles, and their unwitting journey from hapless father figures to genuine heroes as Peter becomes a taken hostage to ensure Bernice’s cooperation is genuinely engaging and full of sweet moments even if the villainous Boris and Sloatie are rather less than remarkable.

‘The Green-Eyed Monsters’ is very much a story split into two narratives, and unfortunately the part with Jason and Adrian is far too brief given the superb emotion on display. Both parts do feature rather large narrative and logical leaps to reach the end, but so constantly drawing attention to the fact that Bernice has left Peter behind is certainly less than flattering for the character, and it must be assumed that this will be something of a normal occurrence that must be accepted for her to fully function and flourish as intended because of the constraints that having a child present would present. Sadly, Bernice’s part of the story is simply far too obvious and melodramatic to deliver maximum impact, and Lady Ashantra’s plan to insert herself into a position of power- although commendable in its complexity and time needed to pull off given the legends and belief required for it to come to fruition- is rather preposterously overblown. Part of this is in keeping with the comedic tone of the story overall, and Maria Darling is wonderful in the role, but it’s yet another component that contributes to the story delivering rather inconsequential substance despite the profound depth that is present just beneath the surface.

‘The Green-Eyed Monsters’ is absolutely a fun ride until the end, but it fails to fully explore some of the more dramatic ideas it brings up and in the end becomes an important release for the series narratively but one with only the development of the relationship between Jason and Adrian delivering any potential lasting impact and emotional weight.

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