Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 6/9/17 8:34 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
In the penultimate story, Retrieval, Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) are on the tail of the Silurian fleet, as they travel towards London. Hoping to intercept them, Kate, Osgood, and Lt. Sam Bishop (Warren Brown) travel into the heart of a Silurain research station. But soon, Kate is poisoned and Osgood is forced to fear the Silurians, by a Silurian commander, Kalana (Neve McIntosh). With the two brightest minds of UNIT incapacitated, and a secret Silurian plan underway, will UNIT be able to pick themselves up and save the world? Retrieval is simultaneously a regrouping story and the climax of the set. It doesn't feature Richard Franklin, Katy Manning, or John Levene, and instead features the old guard of UNIT we love. It allows the team to regroup and resort their priorities, but it also forces the team to face an explosive climax of the story. And Guy Adams delivers, with a fun monster story as the UNIT team is chased by dinosaurs and deadly Silurians, but also one that turns the dial up to 11 for the box set.
The new team of UNIT is back once more in this story, with Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver, and Lt. Sam Bishop returning for this story. Jemma Redgrave takes the lead, and seems a bit looser here, giving a funny performance as Kate Stewart. I particularly liked the scene where she is startled by the dinosaurs, and she apologizes, as well as the moments where she jokingly pulls rank on Carter, saying, "I have the big office for a reason". Kate is at her best when she's exceedingly dry and fun, and this is a perfect example of that story. But Redgrave also excels when she has to act... well, act like a badass. The closing scene where she and Carter fight Kalana in the hallway is excellent, because Redgrave is able to show off her leadership skills in the booth, and does an excellent job kicking Kalana's ass. Redgrave is always a delight to listen to as the delightful Kate Stewart, and here is no exception. The other big guest star here is Neve McIntosh as Kalana, the Silurian commander. McIntosh, who plays Madame Vastra on the TV series, and several other Silurians, is excellent here as the sinister Kalana, recalling the role she played in The Hungry Earth two-parter with Matt Smith.
Ingrid Oliver and Warren Brown also star as Osgood and Sam Bishop in this set. Oliver is on top form here, and gets a chance to act differently from her previous sets, as she gets to introduce a bit of horror into her performance here. I liked how she was absolutely terrified of the Silurians, as she played it very well, and it was somewhat heartbreaking to see, considering her care for them in earlier stories. I also quite liked Warren Brown's performance as Sam Bishop. Brown isn't featured in nearly enough UNIT stories (especially given that his name is on the cover of the story). But when he does, he shines in the story, especially when paired with Osgood. Their chemistry is excellent in the last two box sets, when they were paired for a couple stories, and it's nice to hear them sharing screentime again. But what I like most about Brown's performance is that he's such a self-assured character, and nothing bothers him. He happily gets into a fight with a Silurian twice, and is happy to taunt the Silurian, but also spare her life. Brown has always given an honest performance, and I really appreciate that aspect of his character.
I quite liked Guy Adams' second script for the set, though it didn't wow me as much as the previous set. Still, it was an excellent monster-chase story, and Adams did extremely well with it, setting up an interesting hunt between Kalana and UNIT. I quite liked the way the story was handled, with Kate incapacitated by the poison, and Osgood forced to regress to a primal state and be terrified of the Silurians. It made for an interesting bit of tension, and made for a fun story separating the three main UNIT members. But what I liked most was Adams' characterization of Kalana as a sinister, monstrous assassin for the Silurian cause. The writing for the scene where Kalana describes how she used to hunt primitive humans across the plains is somewhat sickening, and an excellent example of the type of horror Adams brought to the script. Likewise, I loved the tension in Adams' script and how it built to the climax, revealing that Jastrok wants the device that makes humans regress to a state when they were absolutely terrified of the Silurians. It bodes well for the final act of the story, which could really leave the team in disarray. My one disappointment of the script was that Josh Carter (James Joyce) had a distinct lack of screentime here. He was in the final moments of the story, but he hasn't really appeared throughout the set until now. It's a disappointment, because his character is quite interesting, though it seems like he'll be in the final part of the story.
Overall, Retrieval was another excellent story from Guy Adams. With a strong cast of Redgrave, Brown, Oliver, and McIntosh, and a strong, horrific script by Adams, this story had it all. I found the absence of some of UNIT's old guard and members of the new guard like Josh Carter to be a bit confusing and disappointing, but overall, the penultimate story set up an interesting conflict for the final story, one I hope gets resolved in a strong fashion by Matt Fitton.