This is the sixth outing for Kate and Osgood along with the usual comrades in arms in the shape of Col. Shindi Josh Carter and Sam Bishop, who we catch up with after his incarceration with the auctioneers from last box set release. UNIT’s transfer from the BBC TV version to Big Finish’s re-imagining as been excellent, and once again, this release is more power punching, glorious Who universe shenanigans for the modern team of United Nations International Taskforce.
Kate is certainly got her work cut out, and in the first story we get to find out about Sam Bishops fate, Kate and Oswald are going to have to rely on all of their resources, and metal to do a successful extraction for Sam from his current hosts. A surprise is also discovered about how the auctioneers have been one step ahead of UNIT for a while. Game Theory which is the first of this four parter is a good setup tale, based around the concepts of AI and Augmented Reality, whereby Kate and Osgood have to try to outwit the auctioneers in a game of cat and mouse to secure Bishops return. Its fast paced and very “of the moment” I felt which matches the new feel for this version of UNIT. The only issues for our intrepid team is are they enough to take on the auctioneers and get what they are after. Game Theory sets the pace for this release with a cracking no holds barred start.
The first story morphs quite nicely into the second with the cliffhanger. With equipment that they have taken from their first meet with the auctioneers, Osgood, Shindi and Carter are further cast into a VR world with the aid of the technology that they have taken. It isn’t long however, before this new unexplored world that they are in, starts to bite back, and it take all of their resources to try to escape. Kate who has stayed back to make sure that they are safe and hopefully can pull them back. But this is not to be, as the equipment is starting to have a mind of its own and Kate is unable to rescue the trapped colleagues it what is fast turning out to be a rather unpleasant place to be, what is more there is something all to familiar with what may be behind this technology, and it is making it own inroads into the real world.There is palatable tension that is obvious to the listener in this episode as we start to work out what and who is behind this VR, and AI. Of course it is not long before we are greeted with one of the most favorite of enemies the Cyberman. UNIT and the Cybermen is rather a wonderful concoction that Guy Adams as thrown us here. I like the almost stressed out Kate Stewart who is clearly showing signs of cracking, and what happens to Osgood well is pure Who gold. Perfect for us to enjoy the third installment of this box set
Code Silver, well that gives the game away and we are now full on into a war with the Cybermen. UNIT of course have one thing that is not now going in the favor in the shape of their own boffin being assimilated into the Cyber collective. It had to happen and it you just know that now we are all aboard the roller coaster and that this story is not going to end well, if we don’t have some serious intervention. Osgood working for the enemy, and what an enemy, she is like a kid in a sweetshop all that tech and her disposal, the world now is literally at her fingertips as, she plans a way of getting full cyber control of the Earth. If nothing else this episode made me realise a home truth of how we are so reliant on technology, slaves to it in fact. This is story is more of awakening for me than anything else. The question is now how long can UNIT hold out with their chief asset now working against them. They are in desperate times and in utter need of some intervention. The story as catapulted itself into meltdown status now it is literally make or break, there is however a very peculiar alliance with the last person who would want to help UNIT or humanity. The Master as arrived
Master of the World. Enter the Master, the Jacobi master at that as well. He is actually going to help UNIT, for what reason? There has to be an alternative reason if the Master is helping you. Sure enough we soon find out, although for me the interchange of the Master explaining to Kate that her father should have pulled the trigger on him, but due to his nature and his sensibilities he didn’t was the undoing of Leighbridge-Stewart’s downfall is rather the unsubtle way that the Master likes to just put the boot in. In fact Jacobi plays the part sublime with all the allure of snake, circling its prey. He peals each member of the UNIT Team trying to probe and unravel them, his, devious nature is at the forefront from the off and for me makes this an excellent addition to the final story in this set.
This release as been a revelation in the sense that it has ridiculous in its ups and downs, and to have the cybermen and then the Master in this is more than you can really come to expect. That said this is another massive statement when it comes to the quality that Big Finish consistently put out in the range of Nu Who, and it furthers my personal belief that they have a better handle on how to write Who stories than those in at the Beeb making the TV show itself. Outing number 6 for this part of the franchise standout, and one of the best UNIT releases so far.