PI: Amazing how these stories are giving me such a vivid depiction of Tony. Each one is completely different in tone but they are all building a compelling picture of the man. It will be interesting to move onto the tales featuring some of the other Collinsport residents but they will sure have to work hard to top this level of characterisation. The Last Post is like an extended therapy session of the most traumatic kind and one that gets us closer to Tony's fears than ever before. How refreshing to catch up with a younger version of Tony, one who still lives in Collinsport and is far less jaded and cynical than the one we are used to. He remains sceptical about the sinister stories he is being told but coming from Collinsport he has a more open mind than others. Patrick Bloom, head of an important law firm, made Tony an offer that he couldn't refuse. Quit Collinsport and join him in his firm in Boston. Bloom is an incorruptible man which is why Lou has come to make his offer to Tony, a much more tempting prospect. Lou is offering him untold riches, success beyond his imagination if he takes up Bloom's offer. When he was younger his father used to add half a mile to their journey home on a Thursday night, taking in Clinton street which was the most affluent area in town. His father hated the people that lived there, that they had more money and lived in nicer houses than they could afford. It instilled in him at an early age to be successful, to aim higher, to be able to come back and be able to buy them a house in Clinton Street once he has made his name. That would be rare altruism in a lawyer. His father died in a boating accident before he could make this dream happen. He's being offered anything his heart desires and what does he seek? Dutch colonial houses and small time Prom Queens. Melodramatic it might be but he doesn't like the idea of selling his soul (Lou calls it broadening his mind). His mother worked herself into an early grave to get him into law school. Tony is trapped in a cell of his own design, his life.
Sparkling Dialogue: 'You shouldn't just dismiss old wives like that...'
'Isn't there a point where a man ceases to be a lawyer and is simply a man?'
'What imagination? I'm a lawyer not a poet.'
'The juggernaut of history often rolls on the smallest of wheels.'
'Trust me if you had to commute every day you would be grateful for such a threat. Believe me if you could only hear the thoughts some people have while travelling to and from their places of work. Murders that are planned, massacres dreamt of. It would ruin your sleep for a lifetime.'
'There's a demand for evil in the world. Evil's your basic setting. Take away all the window dressing of civilisation and tradition and you're just brute animals with a taste for blood.'
Audio Landscape: Crickets, chanting, train whistle, college kids, conductor, train rattling on the tracks, sinister laughter, whispering voices, laughter.
Result: 'All men have a price!' A fantastic script courtesy of David Llewellyn with line after line of great dialogue, The Last Stop is a terrific treatise on making the right choices in life and avoiding temptation. Go and check out my reviews of The Nowhere Place, Sapphire & Steel: The Passenger and Gallifrey: A Blind Eye - I just adore stories that are set on trains. They come with a built in atmosphere and self perpetuating character tales - everybody on a train is going somewhere for a reason. Ever hear the song The Gambler? Two strangers meet on a night train and one tells a story that touches something inside the other. There is a whiff of that about The Last Stop, a chilling tale that is dramatically presented as stories within stories. If I went through what Tony does on the night from Boston I doubt I would ever step foot on locomotive again. An endless journey, haunted by whispering wraiths that steal conductors out into the night. Pursued and analysed by a sinister old timer who seems to know his entire life story. Tony is trapped in his own personal hell and it turns into a therapy session of the most revealing and disturbing kind. As good as Tony Peterson is as Tony, W Morgan Sheppard is a revelation as Lou, a genuinely frightening piece of work who is likely to give you nightmares after your listen. Would you be bewitched into joining the Devil on his crusade? What would your price be? Terrific stuff, but don't listen to this one with the lights out: 9/10