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 first story in the set, United.
The Silurians hold Great Britain under siege. Grand Marshal Jastrok rules the seas and the skies with reptile forces. On the ground, Commander Kalana crushes all ape resistance.
With Kate Stewart trapped, defence of the realm falls to UNIT’s old guard. Jo Jones, Mike Yates and John Benton are ready to do their duty and stand united.
Things are going from bad to worse, with forces outside of UNIT’s control starting to take action. We all know that in this new UNIT that science leads, but when you’re battling the Silurians, the last thing you need is a missile strike. Especially when the entire of Britain is at stake.
With Kate and Osgood stuck at sea trying to contain the threats in the water, the actual island of Great Britain seems to be somewhat undefended. That is, until Kate gets an old team back together. Mike Yates, Jo Jones and John Benton must reunite to help stop the Silurian menace.
Jastrok really is a formidable foe, using his strategic advantage to make fighting the Silurians as difficult as possible for UNIT. Stranding half of them at sea and invading the country at strategic weak spots; I suppose it helps if you’ve had a couple of million years to think it over in your sleep.
I can honestly say that having Jo involved is my favourite part about UNIT: Assembled as a whole; especially when we’re back with ‘Classic UNIT’ and they’re trying to work out how to keep the Silurians at bay. Whilst Mike and John are very militaristic, it’s up to Jo to keep reminding them that, even though they’re wanting to slaughter innocent people, that the Silurians and the (minor spoiler coming up) dinosaurs are lives as well.
If you’re of a similar age to me, and you watched The Sarah Jane Adventures, there’s also a great callback to Death of The Doctor, in Jo talking about her eldest grandson, Santiago. It’s nice that Matt included a small detail like that, and it’s made me wonder if we’ll ever get a story featuring some of the gang from the Sarah Jane Adventures, maybe in a Torchwood monthly range style? Just imagine…
One common theme throughout Doctor Who when the Silurians are involved is that the Doctor is usually very determined to come up with a mutual agreement for both Silurians and humans to live in relative peace, as we both have rights to live on Earth. As the Doctor isn’t here, Jastrok seems to have the upper hand in negotiations, and as you can probably assume, it’s not the same type of tone in negotiations that we’re used to. It’s ever so slightly more dictatory.
The Third and Eleventh Doctors really have left their impact on Jo Jones, as she is distinctly the most Doctor-like out of all of the characters, using her courage, her passion and her words to talk directly to Jastrok. To put it quite simply, Jo Jones is a kickass badass.
Around two thirds into United, there’s an indication that the Silurians may be defeated, and that Jastrok is the last Silurian standing. Who or what happened to stop them though, I’m not going to say, because where’s the fun in that? It’s just a good job that Britain was the island that was invaded though.
The conclusion to United is really rather strong too, and there’s always the chance that the Silurians may be a threat again in the future…
Overall, United had a lot to do, it had a huge cast and thankfully, that cast was utilised well. No scene felt too full or too fan-servicey and everyone gave a stellar performance. It seems that Big Finish has really cracked how to write a great UNIT box set, and I can’t wait to see which formidable foes the gang are against next time…
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.