Cardiff’s very own alien-busting team are back! Following on from August’s first volume, Torchwood: Aliens Among Us Part Two continues what is being touted as the official fifth series of the cult favourite Doctor Who spin-off.
In its approach, it’s a mix of the standalone storytelling of series one and two with the serialized drama of series three and four. The overarching story mirrors real-world issues of immigration as the alien Sorvix move into Cardiff but each of the four episodes comprises its own adventure for the Torchwood team as well.
First up, ‘The Love Rat’ by Christopher Cooper is pure Torchwood; a raunchy romp in which an alien plague is increasing people’s sexual appetite. John Barrowman clearly has fun here playing Captain Jack even more flirtatious than usual. Suffice it to say that, if you are a Jack and Gwen ‘shipper’, you’ll love this one.
Mac Rogers’ ‘A Kill to a View’ sports a return for a memorable villain not seen since back in series one – the sinister Billis Manger. Putting the spotlight on new Torchwood recruit Mr Colchester (Paul Clayton) and his husband Colin (Ramon Tikaram), it offers a dark satire on highly competitive luxury apartments. Sometimes people will do anything for a good view…
In ‘Zero Hour’ by Janine H Jones, the focus turns to Tyler Steele (Jonny Green), an ambiguous character who works with the corrupt mayor but is also an ally to Torchwood. Featuring a guest spot for Iron Fist’s Sacha Dhawan, the story deals with the fascinating idea of an app-based employment service which creates thousands of jobs.
The finest episode is probably saved until last with Tim Foley’s ‘The Empty Hand’. Everyone loves Tom Price’s Sergeant Andy, but when undisputable CCTV footage of him shooting an innocent comes to light, his true nature is called into question. It’s intelligently-written, with some comments to be made about real-life police brutality.
Combined with the previous box set, Aliens Among Us has done a terrific job of balancing things out between the familiar characters and the fresh faces. One we haven’t mentioned is Orr, a genetically-engineered being who is the series’ first gender-fluid main character. The only flaw is that one of your favourite cast members doesn’t feature very much, but that’s only because of an intriguing ongoing plot point rather than a problem with the writing.
All in all, Part Two will please anyone of the opinion that Torchwood lost some of its Torchwood-iness as it went along. This series returns the franchise to its factory settings – featuring lots of saucy shenanigans, mature, smart sci-fi and a cast packed full of LGBTQ characters. Ending on a killer cliffhanger to boot, you’ll be left desperate for the concluding boxset (which lands in February).
TORCHWOOD: ALIENS AMONG US PART TWO / DIRECTOR: SCOTT HANDCOCK / WRITERS: CHRISTOPHER COOPER, MAC ROGERS, JANINE H. JONES, TIM FOLEY / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 31ST