Right up to date with the very latest monthly release from Big Finish. Number 163 Black and White by Matt Fitton, directed by Ken Bentley.
Taking up right where Protect and Survive finished Ace and Hex find themselves in the black Tardis with two characters from previous stories. Captain Lysandra Aristedes was a member of the Forge in Project: Destiny, and Sally Morgan was "recruited" by the Seventh Doctor at the end of The House of Blue Fire. There is confusion as both pairs believe they are the Doctor's current companions, nobody can explain why there are now two Tardises of different colours, and the Doctor himself is nowhere to be found.
While the companions squabble the Black Tardis deposits them in the land of the ancient Danes and right in the middle of the tale of Beowulf and the monster Grendel. This is another Doctor light story recorded while Sylvester McCoy was in New Zealand filming the Hobbit. He does appear but for much of the time the great mystery is where the Doctor is and what is his cunning plan? Even when he is absent the master manipulator seems to be influencing events but maybe this time he has gone too far.
The two Tardis crews get re-arranged allowing Hex to flirt with Sally while Ace and Lysandra argue. In fact after some recent more grown up stories for Ace this is a bit of a return to the petulant hothead from the 1980s. The pairs get separated in time and space and to be honest it does get a little confusing as to what is happening and when, although having two actors playing the young and old Beowulf does help. Interweaving the legend of Beowulf with a Doctor Who story is done quite cleverly by the writer Marc Fitton and I particularly enjoyed a nice little joke about Grendel's mother.
Quite an interesting story which sets up the final part of this mini series. It never reached the heights of Protect and Survive for me and I did get lost from time to time, so 3 out of 5 Tardis outer shells for me. Next up will be another Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard adventure.