Jago & Litefoot investigate a spirit medium in the third episode of their own Doctor Who spin-off series. Is she a fraud? Or is there more to her abilities?
The third investigation of Jago & Litefoot’s own Doctor Who spin-off brings them to the spirit medium Mrs. Vanguard. Their friend Ellie the barmaid has recently visited her due to suffering from a terrible loss. Initially, Jago is skeptical. But when Vanguard starts revealing information that she has no way of knowing, is it possible that her abilities are genuine?
Jonathan Morris’s story is another episode that feels like a great fit for Jago & Litefoot. The Spirit Trap has elements of spiritualism and possession, but it also has a distinct sci-fi twist, perhaps more so than the previous two stories. Of course, it also has elements of Victorian macabre previously established in the series, so it fits in rather easily.
Having the character of Ellie visit the medium was an especially great choice. The Bloodless Soldier helped to establish her as a key character, and that’s further developed in this story. The fact that she goes there for a personal reason – one that follows on from events in the opening story of the series – is a nice touch. Ellie’s a great character in Jago & Litefoot, and it’s great to see the writers make an effort of fleshing her out so early on in the spin-off.
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Another great choice was who was the believer and who was the skeptic in this episode. In The Bellova Devil, Jago was paranoid about vampires, but Litefoot remained completely skeptical of them. But this time, it’s Jago who becomes the skeptic while Litefoot aims to keep an open mind.
It’s done for very natural reasons, too. Jago has worked in the theater for a long time, and he’s seen all sorts of conjuring tricks. More importantly, he’s often seen how they’re done.
Usually, in series focused on investigative duos, one’s always the skeptic while the other is the believer. It can be a choice that works extremely well – Mulder and Scully in The X-Files are especially fantastic. But it’s nice that, with a pairing like Jago and Litefoot, their positions can change so easily and so naturally. It helps to make them stand out more and feel more real, as a result.
An entertaining episode
As for the story itself, The Spirit Trap works well. It feels like a story of two halves. The first half involves our heroes investigating what’s going on and working out if Mrs. Vanguard is a real medium or a fake.
The second half almost changes genre, as Jago and Litefoot discover a very real and very dangerous threat. It’s an enjoyable episode, one which balances the humor, horror, and adventure aspects just right.
Overall, The Spirit Trap is an enjoyable episode. It’s probably the least connected to the arc of Series 1, especially as there’s no direct appearance of the mysterious Dr. Tulp. But, like the other episodes, that doesn’t stop it from being highly enjoyable on its own terms.
What series do you enjoy that features a regular believer and a skeptic in its cast of characters? Which series can you think of that enjoys reversing those roles? Let us know in the comments below.