In Review: Serial Box: Black Widow: Bad Blood, Episode 5

The past collides with the present when Romanoff discovers Barnes in an unexpected location.

Synopsis: The past collides with the present when Romanoff discovers Barnes in an unexpected location. But why can’t the Winter Soldier remember the Black Widow?

Review: “Flashback City” by Mikki Kendall has near-perfect pacing. The action sequences become the story, and the story becomes the action sequences. Along the way, more of the Black Widow’s history with the Winter Soldier is revealed.

 

Story

Natasha Romanoff has reached the outskirts of the VECTOR Institute in Novosibirsk. As she cases the area, she’s reminded of her time in Chicago as Melanie. She’s moving and remembering simultaneously in extremely economical, fluid, and organic storytelling.

Natasha encounters The Winter Soldier, as Kendall transitions seamlessly to the next section of the story. Natasha recalls good times and bad during training with him as a young girl in the Red Room. It’s truly fascinating and horrifying as a listener to realize that the good and bad times are functionally the same set of experiences.

Kendall does an excellent job of conveying Natasha’s conflicted and complex emotions then and now as she fights the Winter Soldier and realizes that something is wrong with him. The choreography of the action literally becomes choreography along the way, as Natasha blends her martial arts and dance training to keep herself alive.

Knowing she can’t defeat him, Natasha signals to Bucky Barnes buried within the Winter Soldier to stop. With this, Kendall seamlessly transitions to the final section of the chapter during which Natasha has to get Barnes to relative safety. Kendall slows the pace accordingly to convey how arduous a task Natasha faces. I particularly appreciated how Kendall uses Natasha’s jacket as shorthand for the physical strain she is under.

 

Narration

Sarah Natochenny goes from strength to strength in this installment. She performs Natasha’s interior thoughts and simultaneous physical exertion without missing a beat. Along the way, she delivers the Russian dialogue with confidence and provides a solid introduction to Bucky Barnes.

 

Overall

“Flashback City” is the best chapter so far. The Black Widow writing team has done some impressive table setting. It’s clear they’ve started as they mean to go on.

You can purchase Black Widow: Bad Blood here. 

9.2
Serial Box: Black Widow: Bad Blood, Episode 5
  • Story
    8.5
  • Narration
    9.0
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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