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Review: Infiltration by Big Finish Audio

infiltration

Blurb:

Having discovered that Baal has placed a clone infiltrator close to one of his old friends, Daniel accompanies the Sun Tzu to warn him of the imminent danger the clone poses.

Meanwhile, Vala enlists the aid of some of her former ‘associates’ to track down Baal and bring him to justice. But can she trust any of them to complete the mission without betraying her for their own ends?

Review:

Infiltration, written by Steve Lyons, is the third and final instalment of Big Finish’s Stargate SG-1 Series 3, following Half Life [review] and An Eye For An Eye [review].

It starts on a remote world, with a recorded greeting from the troublesome Goa’uld that sounds like something left on a telephone message machine. It’s such a Baal thing to do, and delivered so perfectly, that I had to stop the audio while I finished giggling. (On an aside, I cut the MP3 to isolate said message and uploaded it to my mobile phone. It now serves as my ringtone.)

I think the overwhelming advantage of three hour-long dramas is that the story can be fully developed. As great as television is (especially since Baal is so pretty to look at) it is limited, both by time and what’s achievable by the special effects department. Audio relies much on the listener’s imagination and therefore can get away with more. And encompassing three hours instead of 45 minutes means there’s no rush to the end.

Writer Lyons really uses this to his advantage, tying up the various threads as well as providing some fabulous scene setting for Stargate: Continuum, released in 2008. This mainly takes place between Baal and Vala, in what is easily one of their best scenes ever. Without boring non-fans, or giving spoilers, it hinges on Vala’s past and her previous relationship with the System Lord. The foreshadowing is truly magnificent.

Overall, Infiltration is my favourite of the three, capturing the usual Stargate drama but presenting it in a unique way. Claudia Black gives an outstanding performance as Vala, layering her blustering exterior with the gentler, self-doubting interior. Cliff Simon is utterly fabulous, from that comic opening to the last scene, where Baal manages to be charmingly manipulative. Michael Shanks almost plays a middle man between Vala and Baal, with Daniel still deeply affected by the events of An Eye For An Eye.

If you’re a Stargate fan who wouldn’t be bothered by the lack of the SG-1 team, then I highly recommend you get this series.

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