The Byron Chronicles 2×08: When the Storm Breaks, AKA “AARGH! WHY?”

Yesterday night (or was it very early this morning?) I experienced the familiar sensation that all of my blood was instantly replaced with helium. No, that’s not actually what happened, but I’m pretty sure the sensation of one’s heart suddenly starting to pump lighter-than-air gas through one’s veins is similar to the sensation I felt when I discovered that a new episode of The Byron Chronicles had been out for a whole entire hour and I didn’t notice. Sure, I had a perfectly wonderful excuse (I was watching the movie ‘Equilibrium’; If you have not seen this movie, rent it soon. It has Christian Bale and a puppy, and katanas and epic gunfights. I digress.), but that didn’t change the fact that I, the rabid fangirl who usually pounces on each and every release  like a sugar-high kitten on a defenseless baby mouse about fifteen minutes after the episode goes live, nearly missed what I’m pretty sure is the Season 2 Finale episode.

This is not an episode to miss.

As always, this review contains some pretty nasty spoilers, almost on the “Luke, I am your father!”  level this time.  (Well, at least on the “Luke, she’s your sister” level…) So, if for some reason you have not yet listened to The Byron Chronicles: When the Storm Breaks, close this window and go listen. I’ll be here when you get back.

For the rest of us, the review follows.

So much awesome happened in this episode that I don’t know where to start. Well, I suppose the beginning is the very best place to start, so I might as well begin with the fact that Dracula makes his first non-flashback appearance, and starts off strong with the whole Big Bad thing, speaking mysteriously about a ‘machine’ to that evil little drug-creating sewer-dweller Branlaven from way back in Season 1. 

It then cuts to Byron and Agent Katherine having a friendly chat, still in the clutches of the vampire lord Dimitri. (And when I say friendly, what I really mean is that there are minimal threats and no actual attempts at murder.) It is revealed that it was the Order who freed Byron from that nasty little buried-alive-with-dragon-venom trap Dracula sprung on him back in Bar Harbor, and that it was immediately after this that Byron was betrayed by the Order and locked up in another underground prison, albeit one with a chess-playing zombie, a little more breathing room, and a notable lack of dragon venom.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, the two of them begin to discuss Leviathan, and thank you Eric Busby for including the other reference I’ve been waiting for all season! Mention is made of a certain other brilliant audio drama by Christof Laputka…Oh, you know the one. The Leviathan Chronicles. And, I’m not talking about just a passing reference, here — I’m talking about an epic shout-out. (Oh, and…you didn’t hear this from me, but we may be hearing a lot more than just references in Season 3 of The Byron Chronicles…but I’m not sayin’ anything else. Just in case.)

Then comes the truly dis-gus-ting scene with some impressively gruesome sound effects. Suffice to say, I was significantly disturbed by the sound of two vampires  trying some of the…local cuisine, if you get my meaning. I firmly believe that things are scarier when you can hear them but not see them, which is the reason audio drama scares the crap out of me while horror movies only make me laugh. So, congratulations to whomever mixed that scene (and the entire episode in general, actually…) because it was brilliant.

Oh, and the Rush-crazed Revenents turn up again. Mmhmm. Like I said before, everyone who’s anyone from Season 1 pops back up in Season 2, and they pop back up with a vengeance.

Ok, now, here comes the big one, the one that literally made my jaw drop.

Dracula is an insane puppet-master! He’s pulling every string, and he’s been pulling every string, throughout the entire series!  Branlaven was manufacturing Rush under his orders. Chris Sparrow was bitten and infected under his orders. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d even had some dealings with dear old Mr. Logan. The Count has been orchestrating everything to serve his own purposes in a way that puts Byron’s machinations completely to shame. Why was he playing this long game? He’s trying to tear open an interdimensional rift so that Leviathan can enter the world and wreak havoc, and he’s going to use Chris Sparrow’s blood to do it. That’s what the machine is for. It opens a rift.  Dracula is serving Leviathan. Gyah!  For the last three episodes, we’ve been led to believe that he is Season 2’s Big Baddie, but then, with just a minute left on the clock, we find out that he’s actually working for the biggest Big Bad of them all…

Then, just when the plot had progressed from ”great” to “skull-shatteringly epic”, that blasted theme music began to play and the credits started up! It was a cliffhanger! I hate cliffhangers! They drive me out of my mind! Part of me is hoping that there’ll be another episode between this one and the Christmas Special, because this is a cruel, cruel way to end the season. Heartless, I tell you. It’s a violation of my Constitutional rights, the ones that say cruel and unusual punishment is a no-no.

Sigh. Well, if there’s anything that listening to audio drama has taught me, it’s how to wait patiently. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

So, despite (and partially because of)  the fact that the cliffhanger ending made me want to tear apart my desk with my teeth, and because of the yummy plot-twistiness and wonderful continuity, I hereby deem this episode one of the best yet. Season 2 itself was beyond brilliant, and everyone associated with this show should go give themselves a giant hug from me, since everyone is so spread out and my arms aren’t that big. This episode reminded me of why I cyber-stalk the DP website, and why I rant and rave and theorize and squee over this show. I can’t wait for Christmas. I can’t wait for Season 3.

Bring it on.

 —

Download or stream When the Storm Breaks by clicking on this little interdimensional portal of my own making. Don’t worry, you won’t summon Leviathan. Just a boatload of epic. CLICK ME!

Oh, and you can find the equally brilliant Leviathan Chronicles at www.leviathanchronicles.com.

Well, DP’s Doctor Who: The Dreamers, Part 2 was also released last night, so expect a review of that as soon as my stupid computer lets me download it! 

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