Klein is back! Her story is getting a little complicated at this point. Let's just say she is the most interesting UNIT scientific advisor after the Doctor, and her love hate relationship with his seventh incarnation continues. And this time she has a young and enthusiastic but very inexperienced assistant along with her. Will Arrowsmith knows a lot about the mysterious Umbrella man and what UNIT refer to as "blue box incidents" but this is his first actual encounter.
The story concerns another set of powerful elder gods who the Seventh Doctor wants to deal with before his time his done. He senses that his next regeneration is approaching and is worried that his replacement may not be as resolute as he is. This sense that Sylvester McCoy's Doctor is ageing and trying to tie up loose ends before he finishes is very interesting and I wonder if Big Finish will continue with this. Also rather intriguing is the idea of the very powerful Persuasion machine which acts as the MacGuffin for this story. The machine's ability to persuade populations of whatever idea the controller programmes into it is obviously of interest to politicians of all ideologies. I presume this will also come back in the next two parts of this Klein trilogy.
I confess the elder gods stuff that cropped up in Protect and Survive and Gods and Monsters rather bores me. Here the characters of the Shepherd and Shepherdess speak in iambic pentameter which presumably was rather challenging for Jonathan Barnes to write, and it sounds impressive, but their storyline does nothing for me. Fortunately there is Klein and the idea of the Persuasion machine to keep me interested. Tracey Childs is right up there with Maggie Stables as a great Big Finish supporting actor and perfect foil for the Doctor. I was less convinced by Christian Edwards as Will Arrowsmith but maybe his character will grow on me.
Some interesting stuff in this one but let down by uninteresting bad guys. A middle of the road 3 out of 5 straw hats from me.