Book Review – Sarah Jane Smith: Fatal Consequences

  • Title: Fatal Consequences
  • Series: Sarah Jane Smith
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: David Bishop
  • Director: John Ainsworth
  • Characters: Sarah Jane Smith, Josh Townsend, Will, The Keeper, Sir Donald
  • Cast: Elisabeth Sladen, Jeremy James, Tom Chadbon, Jacqueline Pearce, Stephen Grief
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/02/2018

**Spoiler Alert** Big Finish’s second season of Sarah Jane Smith has used news radio broadcasts as a framing device in each story. Two of the stories that have been consistently developed over the course of three stories have been: Sir Donald Westbury’s planned trip on the first space tourism trip on a ship called the Dauntless, and Sarah’s friend Maude holding a protest at a research lab that they claim is participating in unethical and even illegal animal experimentation. Fatal Consequences rewards longtime listeners by explaining why all that information is actually significant and not mere atmosphere.

Sarah is at her house with her friends, Will and Josh waiting for Dr. Dexter to appear. Dexter claims to have proof that Mandrake, the owner of his lab, which happens to be the one where Maude has organized her six-month protest, is involved in something shady. Mandrake is the new name of the corporation that was involved in illegal human cloning experiments in Cloots Coombe. Dexter arrives and tries to talk Sarah into investigating his lab. But when it comes to explaining exactly what’s going on or providing proof – Dr. Dexter is rather hesitating and less forthcoming. Sarah decides to try to find out more. She has Josh check the Internet for information and asks Will to go undercover at the lab, using his medical background to check it out.

Then the story really rushes forward. Will is a member of the Crimson Chapter of the Orbus Postermo, but we found out he joined in medical school – thinking it was a silly secret society. Will insists he won’t kill anyone, especially Sarah. We also discover that Josh is a member of the White Chapter, assigned as guardian to protect Sarah. And the billionaire Sir Donald who is so fascinated with spaceflight? He’s the Keeper of the White Chapter.

When Josh arrives at the lab – he discovers six of the protestors, including Maude’s daughter, Emily, have disappeared. It’s suspected they are in the lab. Will is able to get inside, where Dexter orders him to give a “cure” to the protestors. Will can’t really say no since Dexter is also a member of the Scarlet Chapter. Once the six are released, Will discovers it wasn’t actually a cure. Will ends up shooting Dexter. He goes back outside with a few doses of a real cure (he thinks – unfortunately, it only works for 24 hours). Will administers the cure, but is confronted by Josh. Josh admits who he is – and Josh and Will end-up in a struggle.

The Keeper of the Scarlet Chapter gets her hands on Sarah when she enters the lab and offers her a terrible choice. Sarah’s discovered that the lab has developed a new super-virulent variant of a hemorrhagic fever. The Scarlet Chapter plans to release this disease worldwide to see that their doomsday predictions come to pass. The Keeper also tells Sarah that the Book of Tomorrows was written by Duke Giuliano. The Keeper also recognizes that Sarah knows that name. Sarah blames herself, saying everything is her fault. Sarah also realizes that she is getting really ill. The Keeper offers her a quick death by being shot rather than the painful death of the Fever. Sarah asks the Keeper to shoot her. There are a scuffle and gunshots… and… cliffhanger.

Fatal Consequences wraps up a lot of things that have run through the entire series so far and even brings back a character from the first season of this audio play series. As a stand-alone it might not make a lot of sense but as the penultimate story of a series it’s immensely satisfying to see Sarah finally figure out Will is with the Scarlet Chapter, to find out just how Will got involved in such a group (and that he isn’t willing to kill Sarah even when ordered to by his Keeper), and to discover that Josh, as I suspected, is part of the White Chapter.

The entire second series has also served as a sequel to the aired story, “The Masque of Mandragora”. However, I just re-watched that story last night – and Sarah never tells the Duke anything about the future. In contrast, at one point Giuliano mansplains to her that the Earth is a sphere not flat. The two spend a fair amount of time together, so her “predictions” could have happened off-screen, but it’s not something we see in the actual aired story. However, it’s interesting that Sarah’s carelessness led to the Duke writing down everything he remembered her saying. And the group that evolved from reading his journal more or less took it from there, creating their own Doomsday Cult. The Scarlet Chapter even decided that since the promised Doomsday didn’t happen at the turn of the Millennium they would force the issue instead. Scary stuff! I do recommend this story and the entire series. The next volume is Dreamland.

Please see my review of Sarah Jane Smith Buried Secrets.

Please see my review of Sarah Jane Smith Snow Blind.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

To Order Fatal Consequences on Download only, click the link.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!