The official fifth series of Torchwood comes to a close with this third volume released under the Aliens Among Us banner. Things in Cardiff reach fever pitch as Torchwood fights for control in a city still adjusting to the arrival of the alien Sorvix. But how can they when the team is tearing itself apart? The reason: a ghost from Torchwood’s past has returned…
As you will know if you caught the final moments of Part Two (or, er, if you just look at this boxset’s cover), this ghost is Yvonne Hartman, with Tracy-Ann Oberman returning to the role she originated on TV in 2006’s ‘Army of Ghosts/Doomsday’. But how is the former head of Torchwood One back when the character was upgraded into a Cyberman? Well, fans will be pleased to know there’s a neat explanation in keeping with Who lore.
Despite the addition of Yvonne, though, this third boxset is mostly about ushering in a new era of Torchwood. With the original-to-audio characters’ roles being increased, John Barrowman and Eve Myles don’t feature quite so much - no doubt because of the actors’ busy schedules. While that’s disappointing for fans of the dynamic duo, the stories on show are strong enough to soften the blow.
Things kick off with ‘Poker Face’ by Tim Foley, which sports a terrific performance from Oberman as Yvonne. She’s a delight in the role, as she completely upends Jack’s leadership with just a charming smile and a flex of her excellent people skills. You’ll wonder why Russell T. Davies never thought to bring her back in the TV show itself.
Probably the best of the boxset is ‘Tagged’ from long-term Torchwood writer Joseph Lidster - a timely tale about a sentient alien meme that is feeding people’s darker impulses. Helen Goldwyn’s ‘The Escape Room’ is another story that highlights our more selfish instincts, as it sees the team fighting for survival in a Saw-like death-trap.
‘Herald of the Dawn’ by James Goss, is classic Torchwood of the highest order - with Cardiff under threat from some dangerous beastie escaping from the Rift. In many ways, it’s just as much a tease of what’s to come as it is a conclusion. Some bold decisions are made which should have big consequences for a potential sixth season.
All in all, Aliens Among Us was Big Finish’s most ambitious Torchwood project to date, which sometimes meant that it was spinning too many plates at the same time - particularly in this boxset. However, it’s always better to have too many ideas than too few so this was still a treat for Torchwood fans everywhere.
TORCHWOOD: ALIENS AMONG US - PART 3 / DIRECTOR: SCOTT HANDCOCK / WRITERS: TIM FOLEY, JOSEPH LIDSTER, HELEN GOLDWYN, JAMES GOSS / LABEL: BIG FINISH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (BIG FINISH WEBSITE), APRIL 30TH (ELSEWHERE)