Grant Jones how I’ve missed you! Some things never change and we should all count ourselves lucky to know that Jo is one of those things. Katy Manning is, as always, utterly delightful. And teaming her up with Ingrid Oliver on a daring adventure? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. And then, to top it all off, throw in literally my favorite Pertwee era monster?* Hang on, I feel a bit faint.
Tidal Wave–penned by Guy Adams–is obviously a continuation of A Call to Arms, but not in an overly obvious way. They’re connected but still mostly separate. And I like that. It gives us another action packed round of setup before we get into what I assume will be the beginning of an epic final phase. And it’s got another brilliantly strong start. Honestly, two minutes in and I was just losing it.
We catch up–via Kate Stewart, of course–with Jo in a rather nasty ethical battle with a pharmaceutical company that’s been testing on animals. Jo thinks it’s not going brilliantly well, but Kate surprises her by informing her that UNIT gave her a signal boost and additional broadcast venues and as a result, the pharmaceutical company has been shutdown pending investigation. Not bad for a day’s work, then. As Jo agrees to go along with Kate, she doesn’t make the connection between the younger woman and the Brigadier until she’s sort of put her foot in her mouth in her rather endearing Jo-like way. But once she does, she gets quite sentimental and not only expresses how sad she was to hear the Brig had passed away, but gives Kate an enormous hug that clearly makes her as uncomfortable as it would’ve made her father. But, as Jo says, maybe part of the problem with UNIT was that they never got enough hugs.
Enter Osgood and her…enthusiasm. We all know how hard Osgood fangirls for the Doctor. But with Jo Jones? Nearly on par, actually. The woman went to a universe of antimatter, met Omega, and didn’t die! Of course Osgood is going to completely lose it around her. And in a brilliant twist, Jo is actually slightly put off by the young woman’s enthusiasm for a bit and we get the tiniest hint of the way the Third Doctor reacted to Jo when she first started at UNIT. How beautiful is that? Made even better moments later when Jo recognizes what she’s done, and then corrects it. Clearly the makings of a dream team here.
The banter between them is beautiful and Jo gets to fill us in (more) on what she’s been doing since the days of giant maggots and Welsh hippies. And Osgood even gets a bit more than she bargained for regarding Jo’s tales of making use of her escapology courses. Still, knowing Jo, it’s hardly surprising is it?
Project Charybdis is a big claustrophobic machine that’s meant to provide mobile clean energy. Jo is brought in as an advisor and gets more than she bargained for because, SURPRISE! SEA DEVILS. Or, Reptilia Sapiens as Osgood refers to them. This happens, of course, because as we learned at the end of part one, Burmaster is not quite himself–courtesy of Jastrok of course. And then all hell breaks loose.
I was nervous, weirdly, about how the Sea Devils’ whispery voices would come off on audio, but it really works. Nicholas Briggs, as ever, is a genius and I was not disappointed at all. It was maybe not quite as whispery as they were way back when, but it still worked for me. And that horrible shrieking noise they make as they’re fighting (or, let’s be honest, dying) is spot on. A fact that I really do appreciate because, obviously, when they bring your favorite monster back, you want them to get it right.
Also, Jo makes (I think) a MAJOR admission about the Doctor, and then gets to finish what he started all those years ago trying to broker some peace between the Sea Devils and the Human Race. It’s gorgeously written and we find that we are not the only species in the universe with the capacity for true compassion.
I’ve been trying to ration myself on this series because I always hate it when the party is over. But honestly I’m not sure I can wait to start the next part.
So, I’ll ask again, have you listened to UNIT: Assembled yet? What did you think of Tidal Wave? Let us know in the comments below!
Up Next: UNIT: Assembled – Part III: Retrieval
*Yes, I love the Sea Devils. Fight me.