Tuesday, 21 November 2017

30 Discs Hath November #21: The Oracle of Delphi

Bernice Summerfield 7.5:
The Oracle of Delphi
written by Scott Handcock

Well, I wanted more Jason Kane before he was gone and I'm getting it. Not un-coincidentally, the line “What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this with no clothes on.” is about the most Jason line ever written.

So, as this season of Benny audios becomes more and more serialised we have Bernice and Jason using their time rings to travel back to 430BCE Greece to asks the Delphic Oracle some questions. Naturally, Jason decides to have a bit of skinny dip in a sacred pool while Bernice goes to ask the questions (and find an empty cave for her troubles) and ends up getting hypnotised and kidnapped by some random woman. That's just how he rolls, go with it.

Incidentally, I have to wonder how much I'm screwing myself over by not reading the books because I was bloody sure the Oracle of Delphi or somesuch other future telling sort was actually present on the Collection. I thought she was why the Collection was where it was. Ho hum...

Anyway, the meat of the episode is Benny having a good old celebrity historical team-up with Socrates, a team-up started by her trying to tell him in broken Ancient Greek that she's looking for her husband and giving him the impression she's just looking for a man and wants to sleep with him. She later signs a note to him “Lots of sex, Benny.” I rather like this version of Socrates who gets annoyed at the very idea that Plato felt the need to write an apology for him and ends up putting Jason in a headlock.

I said I liked Jason, not that I didn't want him to get a sound beating every now and again. In that sense I feel a certain kinship with Benny herself.

There's the usual historical ticking time bomb in the form of the plague that's going to imminently sweep across Greece which means Benny really, really has to find Jason quickly. In this search she is helped by correctly identifying that where there;s an all-female cult with booze Jason Kane won't be far behind. Both characters get a chance to stand in the Athenian Assembly, a scene that Benny makes a magnificent hash up of whilst wearing a disguise the effectiveness of which is left as an exercise for the listener (personally I choose to imagine a fake beard augmenting her stolen robe).

As fun as it is, there is the feeling that at this stage the idea of writing for the arc is still a little new and fiddly for the series as the asking of the questions Bev wants answered (well, some of them) form a coda at the end of the story in which literally Benny and Jason have to backtrack from where they came in order to fulfill what was meant to be the whole point of the story. A minor issue in an otherwise enjoyable tale. 

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