The Wake

Posted in Audio by - August 31, 2018
The Wake

Released December 2007

As a tribute to the man Jason Kane was and the impact he had on the lives of Bernice and everyone else he came into contact with, ‘The Wake’ also represents the culmination of so many long-standing storylines and plot threads that have proven to be so consequential throughout the years. Written by Simon Guerrier who has an immense grasp on the many distinct characters of the Bernice Summerfield universe, this emotional journey makes the most of Bernice’s long and complicated life in both the audio and written mediums- with Lisa Bowerman and Miles Richardson performing aloud several scenes from the printed page and new scenes from previous audios to flesh out the weighty history of Bernice and Braxiatel along the way- to offer a reflective piece as Bernice tries to cope with what has happened to Jason and Peter while Braxiatel continues to strengthen his power.

One of the undisputed strengths of ‘The Wake’ is the fact that it does not elevate Jason into a beloved figure that he was not during his life, and old grievances are not simply forgotten which makes a nice contrast to the more sentimental moments that Jason’s true character certainly did earn. Given that the tempestuous relationship between Bernice and Jason has featured so prominently on so many occasions, however, it’s strangely fitting that the unique relationship between Bernice and Braxiatel should come to focus so heavily here, especially when taking into account just how instrumental he was in Jason’s ultimate demise. Braxiatel is a man who has slowly been luring Bernice ever closer to him, making an instant impact with his sophisticated mannerisms and interest in archaeology and then offering her the chance to live the archaeological life of her dreams following her divorce that he may have sown the seeds for at her wedding when he pointedly asked if she really knew Jason at all.

Bernice is never one lacking in cunning ingenuity, however, and despite Braxiatel’s best attempts to keep her distracted and assure her that her ideas are simply being fueled by the haziness of grief, she slowly starts to piece together the truth of everything has been happening around her. She has been given a glimpse of an older Peter’s brutal nature before, and she can’t help but wonder how differently things could have played out had she remained with him more instead of constantly going off on adventures while leaving him behind. This is quite weighty material that Lisa Bowerman pulls off with aplomb without it ever becoming too overbearing or dramatic, and this more humane drama contrasts nicely with the more monstrous acts of her associates. Sadly, Doggles acting on his very overt desires for Bernice despite her protestations fits perfectly in line with what has been shown of the character before, but this visceral threat adds a very personal reason for Bernice needing to leave the Collection with Peter when paired with the unspeakable act Hass committed on the Mimsphere, each action she abhors having Braxiatel’s fingerprints all over it.

To her credit, Bernice has not surrounded herself only with dark and shadowy figures, and Hass explaining the fear that stemmed from what Braxiatel showed him goes a long way in redeeming this figure even if he understands that he is ultimately the guilty party. He even wonders if Peter’s change of character is the result of his exposing Peter to his radiation when trying to save his life from harmful gases. Likewise, Adrian refuses to give in to Bernice’s moment of weakness and likewise wonders if he himself could be to blame given his animosity toward Jason over the years. Indeed, it’s the relationships and development of these beloved characters over the course of so many stories that allows this reflective tale that doesn’t need to rely on plot to shine, and its optimistic ending as Bernice and Peter head off into the universe alone is a needed one following the harrowing events of this very heavy and dramatically satisfying eighth series.

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