UNIT is back! Kate Stewart and Petronella Osgood are back in a new box set entitled UNIT: Shutdown! We’ll be reviewing each story one by one, today we review the second story; Death In Geneva.
With few people left to trust, and with assassins on their tail, Kate and Osgood race to UNIT Command in Geneva. Will General Avary be able to help them?
But when death follows UNIT all the way from the English countryside to the snowy slopes of the Alps, Captain Carter finds himself in a race against time.
As the body count rises, Kate struggles to separate friend from foe, danger circles Osgood ever closer, and, high in the mountains, Josh comes face to face with the enemy…
After the ending of Power Cell, which wasn’t the happiest, we start Death In Geneva almost immediately afterwards, with Kate and Osgood heading towards Geneva, desperate for some more help. Josh and his driver Anna, on the other hand, are seemingly more targets of the Tengobushi…
There’s rather a lot of back and forth-ing between the events involving Kate and Osgood, and the events involving Josh; I really like the way these two scenes have been edited together, as it gives the impression that both are happening simultaneously.
We’re soon introduced to General Avery, an American ‘friend’ of Kate’s, who is more than willing to help get to the bottom of whether the UK government is becoming more corrupted. It seems that Kate is incredibly determined to get to the bottom of Felicity Lyme’s involvement with events, and asks General Avery for help to assemble a team to get to the bottom of things. You know it’s bad when Kate Stewart asks for help.
Not all is at it seems though, as it appears that General Avery may not be as cooperative as Kate and Osgood are hoping.
As the story of UNIT: Shutdown progresses, it seems more and more like Osgood is the common thread in everything that’s going on; every event seems to have Osgood connected in some way. It’s rather beautiful that it seems every other member of UNIT considers Osgood’s safety to be of the upmost importance, with everyone seemingly willing to protect her, whatever the cost.
Whilst Osgood is alone, she has to use her mighty intellect and her wits to ensure that she keeps safe; and her self-belief really comes into play…
We get some more information about the Tengobushi; information that somewhat altered my presumptions about them. Of course, I could tell you exactly what they are and who they are, but that would ruin it for you, and I like knowing things that you might not.
It’s not often that Big Finish has a scene that’s almost made up entirely of non-English languages; in this case French and alien. Luckily, the music and the sound design helps anyone who can’t speak either of the languages understand exactly what’s going on. It’s a shame it’s not just a lovely summers day.
General Avery is one of the most complex characters I think Big Finish has produced in recent memory. Just when you think you’ve worked his character out, his motivations and his alliance, his actions make you question it again and again and again. Whilst General Avery, Kate and Osgood try and find safety from the oncoming threat, they find themselves climbing a mountain to examine a pair of bodies that have both been killed in strange circumstances, with a very important of them missing.
Of course, Osgood isn’t safe; she can’t seem to find safety anywhere, and everywhere she goes, people die. Who would have thought that someone as sweet as Osgood could become an omen? Luckily for us and Osgood, she seems to have a knight in shining armour.
What Andrew Smith seems to do so effortlessly in Death In Geneva is constantly pull the rug from under your feet; just as you think you’re going to get a nice, quiet, safe scene with some exposition, there’s gunshots and commotion and you really get the feeling that you can’t be still. The second you want to catch your breath, you’re being dragged by the hand into another sprint. It’s exhilarating, it’s fast paced and it’s brilliant.
The exposition scene between General Avery and the brains behind the constant, unrelenting bombardment of Osgood and everyone she comes into contact with, is so well written and so well performed that it never feels as if you’re being spoon-fed information at all. General Avery’s Americanisms really come into play to make for some humorous retorts too.
The ending of Death In Geneva is very much setting up the events of the next story in the box set, The Battle of The Tower, with the Tengobushi learning that the Tower of London holds alien artifacts; alien artifacts that the Tengobushi seemingly require. UNIT however, won’t allow the Tengobushi to get there without a fight, especially when Josh Carter is in charge and Osgood is in danger. Why can nothing ever go to plan?
Overall, Death In Geneva is a story that is unrelenting, in pace, in casualties and plot development. The story pulls you in and never lets its grip on you loosen for the entire 49 minutes. If you’re looking for a story that is non-stop, Death In Geneva may well be the story for you.
Should you want to purchase UNIT: Shutdown, it’s currently available as a physical box set and as a download from Big Finish, both for £20.00 which you can purchase here.