Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 6/10/17 7:27 pm
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In Month 25, the final story of The Lives of Captain Jack, Javik Pyotrathane (John Barrowman; I also probably butchered the spelling there), an agent for the Time Agency, has been suspended and docked 20% of his pay for shacking up in a 19th century whorehouse for a fortnight. As he drinks his sorrows away, he encounters a stranger (Alexander Vlahos) who warns him off the Time Agency. Soon, Javik discovers that two years of his life have gone missing. As he looks into the secrets of the Time Agency, the Time Agency, led by the mysterious Council, move against him, to try and silence him once and for all. Month 25 gives a look at one of the most anticipated aspects of Captain Jack's life: his time at the Time Agency. While they don't examine the two years that he forgot and what he did, it does give some background, and possibly even reveals his true name. But more than that, it concludes the set in an enjoyable fashion; Barrowman excels in this story as Javik/Jack, and the rest of the guest cast is generally great. Likewise, Guy Adams' writing for this story was once again strong, giving us a "burned spy" story that was enjoyable and filled with twists and turns.
John Barrowman returns for the final time in this box set, playing Javik Pyotrathane, or, as he's later known, Jack Harkness. Barrowman, as the title character, has really done a great job in the role. I've neglected to mention him in my previous two reviews, because I felt that the rest of the guest cast overshadowed him a bit, and because there's only so many ways you can say, "he was good, yeah". But here, we get a different Jack closer to the first story; large and in charge. There's nobody quite as good as him to feed off of, like Tovey in the previous story, and he's not upstaged by Camille Coduri this time around. So Barrowman gets to shine here, taking on a slightly different role. Again, I appreciate that he tried to make his voice sound a little younger here, it's a really nice touch. But more than that, I love the Jack/Javik of this story, as it's closer to his first story. He's sex-crazed, he's extremely flirtatious with everything that moves, he's drunk for the vast majority of the story, and he's rebellious. But when it counts, Barrowman plays him with a commanding authority that really justifies the continuing existence of John Barrowman's Jack Harkness. I particularly enjoyed the final confrontation between Jack, Maglin (Sakuntala Ramanee), and the Council (Christ Allen, Chrisstel Dee, James Goss), where Barrowman got to flex his "villain confrontation speech" muscles a bit. Barrowman has consistently been one of the highlights of this set, for good reason. It makes perfect sense why Big Finish would give him his own range of stories, having heard this set now.
Guest starring in the final story are three main characters: Alexander Vlahos as the mysterious stranger, Sakuntala Ramanee as Time Agency head Maglin Shank, and fellow Time Agents Krim Pollensa, played by Kieran Bew. Vlahos is the best place to start for this; I won't reveal who he is, but the character he plays is a surprise and a delight, and makes for a very interesting scene midway through. I won't spoil too much, but Vlahos does a great job here, playing off Barrowman extremely well. Ramanee is quite enjoyable as head of the Time Agency Maglin Shank, who clearly barely puts up with Javik. Ramanee seemed to relish in the opportunity to yell and scream at Barrowman's character, while her eventual betrayal, which is no surprise, is a good change for the character. Rounding out the cast is Javik's friend Krim, played by Bew. Bew does an okay job, but he never really stood out too much from the wallpaper in this story. But when he did, he did a solid job with his triple-cross towards the end of the story.
Guy Adams' script for this story was a strong affair; putting together a story that deals with some of Jack's time with the Time Agency is a fun, and enjoyable story, but for Adams to make it such a fun romp is a delight indeed. What struck me most in this story is just the downright fun of it all. The entire set has had a rather "rompy" feel to it, with each story feeling a bit irreverent, and focused on having fun, which I can greatly appreciate. The entire story was filled with innuendo, dirty jokes, ribbing, and hilarious moments throughout, almost always by Jack. That's the way this set has gone, and I absolutely adore it. The set hasn't been too big on anything serious, save for the second story, but it has certainly been a fun romp, which I adore. Beyond just the dialogue, the story itself was an interesting affair. Fans hoping to find out what Jack did during the two years the Time Agency stole from him will be disappointed by this story, but what I like is that it gives a bit of an insight into his time at the Time Agency nonetheless. I particularly liked the plot that the Time Agency had cooked up, as it gave it almost a James Bond-esque story of an agent going rogue, after being burned by his handlers. It felt like a fun romp throughout, though I felt that it lacked anything that made it truly stand out overall.
The final aspect of this release I'd like to mention is the cover art work for the set. I've linked to the individual cover arts in each review, if you're interested in seeing them. Lee Binding has done the art work for this release, and it's generally pretty typical of his personal style. It's a rather simple set of artworks, just featuring the actors of the story on the cover. They're not really too interesting and, in the case of this cover, it doesn't seem to really relate to the story too much. They're not the most striking cover art, but the serve the purpose, I suppose. I'm just not terribly crazy about Binding's artwork usually, and this work doesn't really change that opinion.
Overall, Month 25 is a strong way to end the set. For the acting of the set, it featured an excellent leading performance by John Barrowman, and a couple of strong guest performances by Alexander Vlahos and Sakuntala Ramanee. The writing of the story was similarly strong, written with excellent dialogue by Guy Adams, and a strong, interesting story to boot. It ended up giving some sort of answer to a longtime fan question, and managed to be an interesting, fun story to boot; a perfect way to end the set.