Synopsis: Romanoff finally pays VECTOR a visit and gets closer to the truth of who stole her blood.
Review: “Old Friends” by Lindsay Smith is an excellent transition episode. She pays off the foreshadowing that the Serial Box writing team built into the story early on. Along the way, Smith employs evocative economy and her trademark understanding of Russian history and culture.
Smith’s first paragraph is worth the price alone. It’s the best summation of Natasha Romanoff to date. From that great opener, Smith launches into Natasha’s mission to infiltrate VECTOR. This section of the story is effective because Natasha uses tried and true methods that work. Sometimes it pays not to reinvent the wheel.
As she moves through the VECTOR facility, Natasha encounters a woman who would now be classified as an essential worker. Their interaction is one of the two instances of great character work by Smith in this installment. She sketches this working-class babushka with a tender pragmatism.
Smith’s second instance of great character work in this chapter comes when Natasha’s lead pans out, if not in the way she expects. Smith’s portrait of Karbayeva is wonderfully rendered from her physical description to her academic history, to the general resignation she exudes at that stage of her employment. I really hope Karbayeva isn’t killed off too quickly, and she becomes an ally of The Black Widow down the line.
Smith saves the important, if not in any way shocking, revelation for the end of the chapter, though. The old friends of the title prove key, as all the subplots coalesce around one man — a man whose name I won’t type here in order to avoid spoilers. I’m just happy to know my reading comprehension is still sharp, and I was able to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
It’ll be interesting to see if the writing team brings in Tony Stark for purposes of comparing and contrasting, I hope they do.
Sarah Natochenny continues to impress. I particularly enjoyed her narration of Natasha’s surroundings throughout the episode, as well as the subtleties she brought to the different characters.
Again, Serial Box is proving why they have the Marvel license. I’m psyched to see how the story continues.
You can purchase Black Widow: Bad Blood here.
- Audio Production10