Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 1/31/17 1:07 pm
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In the penultimate story of this box set, Abby and Zara have joined the staff at the hospital, Space Dock. They've befriended some of their coworkers, they've become invaluable assets to the hospital, and they've even taken an interest in helping out some of their coworkers in the dating game. But what is their true reason for being there? Much like the previous story, The Ward is a pitch black story, but unlike The Room, the cast isn't as much of an issue in this story, making this the strongest story of the set so far.
Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington are much improved here, compared to the previous story. Janson is quite good here, with some strong scenes, especially in the dinner scene, but it's once again Doddington who steals the show. Doddington has a kind of quiet reserve in her performance; it almost feels intentional given her role in the original Key 2 Time trilogy as the "villain". But it really adds a layer of depth to her character that I quite like.
The rest of the guest cast was quite good, in a change of pace from previous stories. The main guest star was Carolyn Pickles as Gutierrez, the mentor to many of the doctors and nurses there. Pickles does a fantastic job, both with the cantankerous side and the kinder, softer side of Gutierrez, something that's admirable in its own right, let alone when done well. I also quite liked Dan Starkey's character Nurse Chaff, and his backstory (or future story, depending on how you look at it), as explained in the end. Throughout the story itself Starkey was strong and dependable, as he always is in most stories, and I found myself quite liking his character. The final cast member, Petra Markahm as Annie, was perfectly fine as the nosy janitor. I found myself sort of forgetting about her as the main plot with Chaff came to the forefront, but she did a fine job, especially in her confrontation scene with Abby and Zara after Abby's birthday.
The plot was also a highlight of this set, as Simon Guerrier delivered another excellent story. Much like the previous story, this one was similarly bleak in the end, but I quite liked the overall plot, and the slow unraveling of the mystery. It was interesting slowly hearing the story go along, and hearing the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. But the ending was just absolutely brilliant, with the revelation that all they were doing was the sacrifice of a few lives to save the lives of countless others. It was dark, it was bleak, and it made for one of my favorite stories from Graceless thus far.
Overall, I found The Ward to be the strongest story so far. It had a strong cast this time around, and an absolutely excellent mystery by Simon Guerrier. It was enjoyable, and the ending was both heartbreaking and exciting. It's one of the strongest Graceless stories out there thus far, and it was a delight to listen to.