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 penultimate story; The Battle of The Tower.
The threat is now clear, and Kate Stewart retreats to UNIT HQ with her most trusted colleagues. She has no choice but to place the Black Archive into lockdown, and the Tower of London is where UNIT will make its stand.
While the capital sleeps, an alien horde is gathering, ready to rise from the shadows to attack Earth’s greatest defence force inside its own stronghold.
The Tower is infiltrated, and UNIT must hold the line. At any cost. Lock and load…
UNIT is in serious trouble. Arguably the most trouble that Kate Stewart’s UNIT has ever faced. The Tegnobushi are really a force to be reckoned with; those damn fast space ninjas. The opening of The Battle of The Tower is very similar to a scene from Death In Heaven, a story that Kate and Osgood also featured in alongside the Twelfth Doctor.
The tower that is mentioned in the title is obviously the Tower of London, where UNIT is seemingly run and where the Black Archive is located. As we all know from The Day of The Doctor, access to the Black Archive in the wrong hands could be catastrophic.
Kate and Osgood try and get to the bottom of what it is that Dokan wants from the Tower, and also brings Felicity Lyme to the Tower to ‘have a chat’ with her. Alice Krige, who plays Felicity Lyme is absolutely brilliant, not just in this story, but in every single one that she’s in. Her performance is so cool and level-headed that you believe she’s really been hardened in the world of business.
One thing that is really prominent in The Battle of The Tower is just how stubborn and focussed Kate can be when she feels that either UNIT or someone she cares about is threatened. Even if it means going against the government.
The conversation between Dokan and Kate is extremely intense and enticing to the listener. The tension between the two as they attempt to negotiate an arrangement that both parties are happy with is really compelling to listen to. Even though this conversation becomes a lot of exposition into what the Energy Cell is capable of and how it works, it’s extremely gripping and engaging.
I know that Osgood is a fan favourite, and for good reason, she is the embodiment of the Doctor Who fandom, but she really comes into her own in these audio adventures; not only is she the cute, nerdy scientist, but we get a real insight as to who she is as a person, her morals are brought to the fore, and, of course, there’s the simmering love interest too.
This is a total off the cuff remark, but any Potterheads listening will be pleasantly surprised with a line of dialogue; there’s a nice little reference to a very important aspect of the Harry Potter universe.
A great scene in The Battle of The Tower is when Kate is readying the Tower of London for an attack from the Komishi; making sure the Ravens have new batteries, ensuring the Ceremony of The Keys is adhered to and readying all of UNIT for an immense battle.
The battle between UNIT and the Tengobushi I have to admit felt a little lacklustre; I know that a great battle like this works extremely well with visuals, Game of Thrones showcases that, but I’ve known epic fights work extremely well with Big Finish too. To me, it felt a little too by the numbers to be that interesting. The most exciting aspect of the battle was Osgood and Sam trying to escape from the Tengobushi, but it was really just sound design and panting.
It seems as if nothing is going well for UNIT, as the Tengobushi are not giving up and, even though both sides have casualties, the Tengobushi seem to be someone relentless in their plight to take back what they believe they should have claim to.
The conclusion of The Battle of The Tower is rather satisfying, as it seems to be setting up bigger and more extravagant events in the final disc in this box set, Ice Station Alpha. Oh, and the Tower of London is a bit worse for wear too.
Overall, I have to say that The Battle of The Tower is a story that seems to be just setting up future events; as I felt as if not much happens in it, as it mainly focusses on one battle. I don’t know if it’s because I’m used to watching epic battles in shows such as Game of Thrones, where you can have a visual masterpiece of a battle in an hour, that it has raised my expectations to new highs, but this release seemed to be more filler than anything; which is a real shame, as it was the story I thought had the most promise.
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.