Wizards vs Aliens: 309-310 “Twilight Falls” (Finale) Review
Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.
What a bang.
This more connected, serial run of Wizards vs. Aliens has been unique in that lead writer and co-founder Phil Ford had a very clear idea of where he wanted to end, seeding the pathway there. The introduction of Simeon, Tom’s madcap granddad was something of a red herring but he gave Tom another important figure in his life – albeit one cruelly plucked away just as he got to know him in last week’s The Key of Bones. And while the closing speech of series three was one we had heard before, it was the culmination of so many themes. Oh, so many themes.
Over the course of series three, Tom has matured as a young man and a wizard, fully absorbing the magic of Lady Lyzera’s crystal ball and while it wasn’t specified I presume he can work outside the three spells per day rule. Scott Haran gave a tour de force in Twilight Falls, proving once again that he is an immensely competent actor with a magnetic screen presence. Apart from the superlative writing, Haran is the driving force behind Wizards vs. Aliens and the not-very-secret secret to the show’s success.
After the departure of the marvellous Percelle Ascott way back in The Quantum Effect, Wizards vs. Aliens has been without a co-lead and this week they found it in Jazz James. Simona Brown brought her A-game to her debut, striking the right balance of baffled scepticism and rapid-fire quips. Jazz and Tom have brilliant chemistry totally different to his and Benny’s, which is entirely refreshing. What Katie will make of cheeky, flirty Jazz is anyone’s guess but I doubt she’ll be happy. Furthermore, I’m glad I’m not alone in doubting Tom’s suspicious hairdo.
After the devious Lady Lyzera (Alex Childs is an asset to the show and I’m overjoyed that the troubles aboard the Zarantulus were left unresolved, leaving the door wide open for a return next series. The same applies to Kristian Phillips’ Varg) contacts him, we are introduced to one of Wizards vs. Aliens’ most malevolent villains, Warlock, High Lord of the Wraith. He’s quite terrifying but I felt he was bundled off too abruptly and for too long. While he might be an all-powerful wizard, he didn’t do anything that really justified his grand reputation. Therefore it was down to Lady Lyzera to take on principal villain duties and I’m glad – her character has had as much of an arc as Tom this series and deserved a special spot in the finale. When Mrs Varg wasn’t terrorising Tom, she was abusing her husband and you really had to feel sorry for poor Varg – an interesting U-turn in his character when you consider his evil “I’ll be back, Tom Clarke” speech at the end of series two.
While Wizards vs. Aliens doesn’t have the budget to explore the rest of space or the Neverside or the Nekross homeworld (I’m still hoping for at least a glimpse inside the Nekron palace in the potential fourth series), there’s nothing wrong with teasing it. The prelude in the Neverside War with Randall Moon was fascinating and it’s nice to see a bit of the hobgoblin before he became the current Clarke family’s helper. Phil Ford has spent this series expanding the Wizards vs. Aliens universe, first with the Consolidation then, to a lesser extent, the witches of The Daughters of Stone and now this – with the constant threat of the disintegrating Line of Twilight underpinning the series.
Twilight Falls might have ended a tad too curtly and I would have liked to have seen Jazz get her bearings (a high-octane finale like this seems unfitting for a major character introduction). Nonetheless Twilight Falls was good fun with a real energy in the script that sent things rocketing along nicely. Series three was brilliant even if it didn’t match the highs of series two but I thoroughly expect another series will be commissioned and I’m wholeheartedly behind a move. Wizards vs. Aliens obviously has more stories to tell as evidenced by series three.
More please, sharpish.