Synopsis: With Romanoff’s second wave setting in, the race is on to infiltrate a gala and get some face time with the famous philanthropist Allan Holt.
Review: Margaret Dunlap gives listeners another entertaining transition chapter. She establishes philanthropist Allan Holt in order to launch Serial Boxers into the final episodes of the “Bad Blood” arc.
Dunlap could’ve subtitled “White Nights” as “Prelude to a Monologue.” The entire episode is the process of sitting down with Holt. She sets the scene and the tone with intense traffic causing the taxi driver to leave Romanoff and Barnes a few blocks from the gala, which is the distance they require anyway. From there, the installment continues to be a case study in using surroundings to opportunistically achieve tactical goals.
Because we have four chapters left, the mission doesn’t go as planned — not at the narrative level anyway. At the meta-level, the author achieves her goals perfectly. First, Dunlap continues with the economical, yet evocative, world-building listeners have gotten from the beginning. Next, she establishes Holt to be exactly what we expect and require given that there are four episodes left. Finally, she further pays off foreshadowing the Black Widow: Bad Blood writing team layered in from the beginning.
As for Holt himself, I now really want him and Tony Stark in the same room. I loved that Holt’s arrogance is both annoying and earned. I also enjoyed snippets of Lydia, Holt’s Pepper. Additionally, I’m looking forward to finding out what his branded vitamin water actually is and what it actually does.
Beyond Holt, I find myself wondering about Romanoff and Barnes. This speaks to the effectiveness of the writing because I don’t often concern myself with relationship subplots. They clearly can’t have a future together in the conventional sense, and they both know it. Yet, each is the only other person they can build a future within this iteration of the Marvel-verse. I’m actually rooting for them to navigate a path forward in their unusual circumstances.
Sarah Natochenny continues to bring her range to all the characters. I especially enjoyed how she handles Holt. She gives him just enough personality for his introduction, but she wisely saves the full performance for the monologue in the next episode.
It’s hard to believe we’re in the final stretch. I find myself looking forward to the second season before the first season is even finished.
You can purchase Black Widow: Bad Blood here.
- Audio Production10