Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
You know, I always avoid big spoilers and will continue to do so her,e but after you’ve listened to the set just remember I said “…but… no, they can’t have!” And you’ll know what I mean. In this 3rd part of the series of Torchwood set after the TV run they hold no prisoners and they prove this is legit Torchwood and as such can kill babies with the best of them.
Poker Face by Tim FoleyContinuing on from events in the last set, Yvonne Hartman (Tracy-Ann Oberman) is back from the dead and she has her sites set on Jack’s (John Barrowman) office at Torchwood. Given the way he has treated his teammates recently, will anyone stop her? Especially when it looks like Jack has had dealing with the terrorist organisation ‘Red Doors’. This is a great, dynamic opening to this set. It doesn’t feel like episode one of set 3, more rightly so it feels like the next episode of the overall series 5 arc. Oberman & Harkness feel destined to be sparing partners and they do not disappoint. Also given Barrowman’s ever hectic schedule it feels really smart to feature him a lot in this story and set up him being in the others a little less; but in a way which you don’t feel like he’s not there.
Tagged by Joseph LidsterA phrase starts being left all over Cardiff “I know what you did, I know what you will do”. Vague maybe, but Torchwood under Yvonne’s rule think it might be linked to a spate of vigilante revenge crimes. There is so much to this story from a simple but genius premise. Yvonne gets to show how she runs Torchwood (both on the surface and over the story in more deep ways). Orr (Samantha Beart) is used and deeply effected by delving into the heart of the internet and the feeling hidden within. Dangerous grounds for someone who is changed by others desires. Meanwhile we get to see Mr Colchester (Paul Clayton) be the voice or reason and we see how far Gwen Cooper (Alexandra Riley) will go to keep her secrets. All this and a dash of Sergeant Andy (Tom Price) to boot.
Escape Room by Helen Goldwyn
When the team are sent for a bit of group bonding by Yvonne; Gwen (not Gwen), Rhys (Kai Owen) & the Colchester-Prices head to a local escape room. Of course when Torchwood are in an escape room the escape part is a lot more deadly and difficult than a few simple puzzles. Who is behind the rooms, will the team get out and more importantly can they trust one another in the attempt?
This is a great premise. In the best traditions of Doctor Who it’s something scary in the everyday and in the best traditions of Torchwood, it’s a lot more overly deadly and there is far more backstabbing on offer. The whole team is on fire, with Mr Colchester’s husband Colin (Ramon Tikaram) making a welcome return to the front seat of a story. We get to play further with Gwen’s motives and actions & you are genuinely unsure at times who will make it out of this one.
Herald of the Dawn by James GossThe rift is active once more. Jack & Yvonne seem heading toward their separate aims, mutually exclusive as they are bound to be and the rest of the Torchwood team are all starting to have their doubts about Gwen and how much they can trust her. Will that prove fatal for one of them? This is how you end a set and keep a story open for another. There is so much to digest here and so many things come to a head. There is also a bunch of things I can’t say without spoiling it more that this set deserves. Suffice to say, it’s all comes to a close in a very pleasing, if not gut wrenching way.
Series producer James Goss, director & script editor Scott Handcock, all the writers and the cast all prove Torchwood is in the hands of the correct torch bearers (pun most definitely intended). You can feel (as revealed in the extras) the guiding hand of RTD as he has advised and pointed things in the right direction, but you can equally feel Goss and Handcock’s distinct styles. I’m as always with Big Finish Torchwood endlessly impressed by how they can change the team so much, more than ever in fact, and still keep it feeling like the same team and spirit. They also in the extras talk of how they didn’t want the new team to be like for like replacements and this shows in a really great way. This team has its own feel, but it’s sympathetic to the original style. The extras are actually really cool in themselves. Each concentrating on a different part of the revived series.
Everything changes and I’m most definitely ready for it. 10/10.
Buy it on CD or download here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/aliens-among-us-part-3-1667