Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 8/1/17 2:27 pm
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There's a lot going on in this story, very little of it was set up in "The Coup". Still, it's best to listen to that story first, as it introduces ICIS and several important characters. Frankly, I think there's too much going in this story, and it would have benefited enormously from a narrower focus and a slower pace.
Part of the problem is that this episode has to set into motion an ongoing story while also telling a standalone story. The teaser at the beginning of the episode reveals that an unknown has stolen a alien spacecraft from a UNIT convoy, and kidnapped UNIT Col. Brimmicombe-Wood. After the theme music plays, another story is introduced involving seeming unrelated mysterious events which are interpreted by the press as terrorist attacks. If I'm understanding the story correctly, these incidents are the unintended consequence of illicit time experiments rum by ICIS using technology recovered from the stolen spacecraft.
The key evidence leading UNIT to solve the mystery is provided by our old friend Lethbridge-Stewart, but frankly I wish they had left him out of the story and allowed UNIT to solve this themselves. As it stands, UNIT accomplishes very little in this story. They arrive on the scene of each mysterious incident to do damage control and issue vague, uninformative statements to the press, but that's about it. Once Lethbridge-Stewart gives them the vital clue, they quickly resolve the story with very little hassle. I suppose the idea was to have Lethbridge-Stewart (it's so hard not to call him "the Brig") take up what would have been the Doctor's role, in a way. Lethbridge-Stewart solves the mystery, and UNIT goes into handle the fighting. It's not a bad idea, and of course it's always lovely to hear Nicholas Courtney's voice. But it does leave UNIT looking a bit hapless in their own series debut.
This episode also introduces Col. Robert Dalton, brought in as a temporary replacement for the missing Brimmicombe-Wood. He's a terrific character, and the tentative relationship between him and Col. Chaudhry is very well done.