This episode starts off simply enough, picking up one of the loose ends left dangling at the end of the last episode. Who arranged for that 0.5% payroll deduction to the Larson project, and why? The listener finds out (maybe...) rather sooner than Rull does, but Rull's investigation sets in motion a chain of events that make it clear that the political game in Kaldor City is now out of the control of the main players.
Uvanov and Carnell have lost control of the Tarenist group, as Carnell had feared. The Tarenists are intent on ridding Kaldor City of robots, and they'll use any tool they can find--even if it means destroying Company Central in their search for Taren Capel's last testament. It pays to look at the cast list in this series, and the significance of another casting choice is made explicit in this episode, with a reminder that Uvanov wasn't the only survivor of the events shown in Robots of Death.
The Kaldor City production team have also brought back another original cast member--David Bailie reprises his role as Taren Capel. Even the dead can speak, when the company archives hold recordings made ten years ago on Storm Mine Four. And Taren Capel has something to say to the robots of Kaldor City...
And, as always, people don't necessarily work for the person openly paying them. This is Kaldor City, after all. Allegiances shift, colleagues and co-conspirators are lied to or betrayed, and people scramble to snatch what personal benefit they can in the panic and chaos. Most react without thinking to what's going on around them. Iago is out for himself, but is doing something constructive along the way, trying to understand exactly what Taren Capel was planning for Kaldor City. Iago is, after all, a robot programmer himself when he's not an assassin; and he works out how Capel was going to murder the entire human population of the planet. And that the plan isn't over just because Capel's dead.
And Carnell? Carnell is able to remain detached and study what's happening, trying to understand who or what is manipulating events. It's become clear to him that someone or something has been manipulating them all, including him. He grasps at least part of the answer before a direct attack on him pushes him into leaving, and he leaves some of his new knowledge as a parting gift to Uvanov and Iago. It's a gift that they, and everyone else in Kaldor City, will regret.
This is the best episode so far, which takes some doing given the quality of the first three. It's also one hell of a cliffhanger ending. It might have been possible to enjoy the series but stop listening after any of the first three, but you won't be able to stop after number 4.
You'll need to have heard the previous episodes of Kaldor City to follow a lot of what's going on. This episode also has plenty of references back to the Dr Who and Blake's 7 episodes and novel that provided the setting and characters, but it's not necessary to be familiar with those, as any information actually essential to the plot has been worked into the script. The only thing that would be missed by someone unfamiliar with _Kaldor City's_ antecedents are some in-jokes and references that are entertaining but not vital to the plot.
Rull finally managed to make himself sympathetic to me, if only for a brief moment. The writers are obviously slipping:-)
Iago tells Carnell that he killed the Butcher of Zircaster--the Butcher presumably being known more formally to fans of Blake's 7 as Space Commander Travis of the Federation. No, I still don't see even PGP Avon being as psychotic as Iago. Nice try on saying who Iago is without mentioning the copyright name, though.
I did like Justina punching an obnoxious journalist.
Carnell is worryingly plausible as a relationship counsellor. It's a credit to both the script and the actor that I wasn't sure whether Carnell was playing one of his games, genuinely trying to help, or both at the same time.
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