Wizards vs Aliens: 307-308 “The Key of Bones” Review
Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.
This series of Wizards vs. Aliens have flown by incredibly quickly. Each week we get some juicy bit of character development and it feels like Wizards vs. Aliens is going to go on forever then – wham – it’s the penultimate story. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. Newcomer Sasha Hails’ debut script is confident and engaging, written in the vein of a classic questing gameshow with Tom and company plunged into a search for something that could potentially heal the Line of Twilight.
Things get off to a roaring start when Simeon unwittingly reveals to the Nekross the existence of a totem by the name of the Key of the Bones, capable to tearing the Line of Twilight further and causing the Neverside and Earth to merge into one sticky, magicky mess. The moustache-twirlingly bad Lady Lyzera heads up the Nekross side while her husband is continually reduced to her lackey. The brawn to her brains. Varg showed promise at the beginning of this series and Kristian Phillips has done an excellent job with the character but his stature has been diminished week after week and the lack of development in his character is showing (although this isn’t necessary a bad thing, given that Varg was the wickedest Nekross for two series, not counting the King). Alex Childs continues to shine as the devilishly wicked Lady Lyzera who really came into her own at the climax, revealing her magic to a flabbergasted Varg. Childs has been one of this series’ strongest players, contributing sparkling performances each week and displaying a flair for knowing when to turn down the camp.
Elsewhere, Scott Haran has continued his streak of terrific performances despite Percelle Ascott’s absence and the, perhaps a little noticeable, lack of another young person. The bluster of Simeon (played with a quiet, affectionate gentleness by Trevor Cooper) distracts us for most of the time and his reaction to his family’s chastising was really very sad. I haven’t mentioned Annette Badland much in these reviews and that’s purely because I don’t need to: she’s been brilliant week in, week out and that really goes without saying. Michael Higgs also got a meatier part this week as he helped the gang in the quest for the Key of Bones.
Praise must be landed at the door of Lee Haven Jones, this week’s director, particularly for his scenes set in the castle and the climactic conversation between Varg and Lady Lyzera. The 360 degree spin was a nice touch and Haven Jones did a great job depicting Shanghai, which was, quite obviously, a Cardiff backstreet.
Initially, I thought the Quizmaster would grow wearisome but his smugness and offhand manner paid dividends in the end. His anger at the Nekross when Lady Lyzera shattered the Key was tangible, echoing this reviewer’s feelings (I cried out in rage when crafty, butterfingered Mrs Varg destroyed the only chance of saving the Earth). What’s even worse is now that Lady Lyzera has a cloned copy of the hand, she has the power to rip open the Line of Twilight and wreak chaos on the planet. Will she succeed? The answers lie in next week’s finale…
All in all, another splendid outing for Wizards vs. Aliens. Quite depressingly, The Key of Bones is the second to last episode with the pieces set in place for the grand denouement. All-Out War last year had serious repercussions on series three, will we end with a finale of similar oomph? We’ll have to wait and see but I’ll tell you what, I can’t wait.