The Jupiter Conjunction, by Eddie Robson
So… how to follow The Emerald Tiger? It isn’t a task I’d envy, but Eddie Robson does the sensible thing by taking the crew – including the newly-rejuvenated Nyssa – back into space. In fact, to a rendezvous with a comet that orbits erratically between Jupiter and Earth, thus providing a sort of second-class parcel service for the two worlds. The company that runs the settlement built onto the comet’s back is facing trouble however – while the comet will be in perfect conjunction on this run, orbital synchronicities will fall apart on the next run, and their prospective customers know it. Bankruptcy beckons.
And to top it all, the cargo is going missing. Someone is stealing it, but none of the company’s security staff can work out how they’re making it disappear. And exactly what is happening out in the Unstable Zone?
While Nyssa and Tegan browse in the first ever shopping mall in space (no, the Zocalo doesn’t count – wrong programme!), the base’s security force decides that a man who can appear from nowhere in a blue box is the most likely suspect for the thefts. Oops. Cue a great deal of running around, frantic negotiations, and sudden shifts of allegiance.
Where The Emerald Tiger was pretty straight-forward, The Jupiter Conjunction is far more about subterfuge and dastardly plans. The body count is also much higher, especially as the story kicks into top gear in the final episode. This would have been a particularly bloody TV story – in similar fashion to The Elite, which also powered its way through backstabbing and political machinations.
The characterisations here however, aside from the Tardis crew themselves, seem a little off. Possibly a bit flat. Major Nash in particular doesn’t quite work, though he isn’t helped by the fact that he only has Nyssa to bounce off in the final episode. Turlough’s sneaky style of self-preservation is written far better. There’s also less reference to Nyssa’s renewed youth than I was expecting – and, as usual, it’s Nyssa who has to do the tied-up damsel in distress bit. The devastation wrought by the implacable Jovians, and Violet’s deviously single-minded approach are what lifts this play up into four-star territory.
Buy it here.