It’s time to get old school. With new school. With the oldest school possible. That’s right, this week on GallifreyArchive, I’ll be reviewing the four tales featuring both new and old UNIT teams in a battle with the oldest team the Earth has to offer, the Silurians and Sea Devils. Today, I’ll be reviewing the penultimate story in the set, Retrieval.
As the Earth’s primeval rulers reclaim their birthright, UNIT must stand against them. Kate Stewart and Osgood venture into a Mediterranean stronghold to retrieve a means to fight back.
But a Silurian warrior is on their trail. Once she has the humans’ scent, Commander Tryska will never give up the hunt.
Things ain’t going too good after the events of Tidal Wave. Things ain’t going well at all. Oh dear.
It seems as if Kate and Osgood know that things aren’t in the best of states too, it’s strange that a Big Finish story would start on such a sombre note. It seems that UNIT might lose against the Silurians, and you might genuinely believe that with the opening of this script.
I love the fact that, on the whole, neither Kate nor Osgood have any real idea what they’re doing, I think stories are at their most engaging when the main characters are stumbling through, it makes you relate to them more. If you were to discover some frozen dinosaurs, you wouldn’t know how to react either, I’m sure.
Some stories are happy, or have happy endings, or even have happy hints throughout. Retrieval doesn’t. You want happy? Look elsewhere. Guy Adams has not written you a Disney fairytale. Expect this story to be Grimm.
Personally, I think that in every Big Finish box set release, you need a story that is smaller in scale, after the action packed opening of Call To Arms, and the claustrophobic base under siege story of Tidal Wave, I think it’s nice to have this lull in the action to focus more on the characters; especially when the characters in question are Petronella Osgood and Kate Stewart.
It’s an incredibly bold move from both Big Finish and Guy Adams to have an entire hour devoted mainly to character progression, like they did here. I think that some people will like this story the least in UNIT: Assembled; in fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s almost guaranteed to be divisive, but personally, I really enjoyed it. The slower pace and the time spent focussing on characters really reminds you that it’s the people involved in a story that you should be invested in, not the action. In a high octane box set, I think that Retrieval is really needed.
Saying that, the final moments or Retrieval is probably the most action packed of the hour, which is understandable as it presumedly leads into United, the final story in the set.
Overall, I think that Retrieval is going to be a love it or hate it story, and it’s really down to personal preference; as with all opinions, there is no right or wrong way to perceive a story like this. Like I’ve said earlier in the story, I loved it, and it was nice to hear a Guy Adams script that was smaller and not as full of the dark, dry wit that we both share. I expect that this story is the calm before the storm, and what a storm it seems that we have coming…
Should you want to purchase UNIT: Assembled, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £20 for a limited time for either the CD or digital download.