Considering they supposedly keep killing Suzie, Torchwood has a tendency to try and bring her back. (That’s a joke for all you lovers of the Torchwood TV show.) Big Finish have brought her back, and this time, she’s a Moving Target. God these introductions are cringeworthy.
Suzie Costello would never describe herself as a hero. Not even if she were the last woman on Earth. Turns out, she’s the second last woman on Earth, and that’ll just have to do.
With the Earth frozen in time, Suzie becomes locked in a battle to save the planet and the life of Alex, the last woman alive. Hunted by alien warriors, and, with every hour that doesn’t pass, the stakes are only getting higher.
Suzie Costello would never describe herself as a hero. But she would say she’s someone who always makes the right choices. Wouldn’t she? .
From the opening sting, you can tell that this isn’t go to be your average Torchwood story (if there is such a thing), Suzie’s deliverance of the introduction, and the brilliant editing gives you an indication that something’s not quite right. Something is off and Suzie is seemingly full of regret.
As a student, I can relate to the opening moments with Suzie’s frustration at her alarm clock not turning off; god it’s annoying. The rain has stopped (maybe the Judoon got bored midway through) and Suzie seems the only person not to be frozen in time.
Guy Adams brilliantly manages to weave in details we learnt about Suzie in Everything Changes, such as the fact that she used to ‘borrow’ equipment from Torchwood for her own personal use, as did the rest of the Torchwood team. Suzie manages to give us the ever-needed exposition but in a rather engaging way, by giving Torchwood a field report.
Suzie learns that she can interact with the world and soon gets to interact with Alex; the only other person who is seemingly unaffected by the big freeze. Alex, played by Naomi McDonald, seems to be the everyman (or is it everywoman? Everyperson? Whatever won’t get me into trouble) and boy is she taking advantage of this blip in time. She’s a gobby woman in PR who is having a laugh at her colleagues expense. Well, wouldn’t we all do that?
Of course with it being Torchwood, things couldn’t stay calm for long; and an explanation as to why time has frozen is soon apparent. The Earth is seemingly an arena for an event known as The Hunt; think the Hunger Games but aliens on a neutral planet. Nicholas Burns, who plays the Referee is yet another great comedic character in the Torchwood universe; after last months Ghost Mission I didn’t expect there to be another character as humorous as Norton, but we have a close contender.
Yet again, and this time fairly early on in the story, we learn that The Committee has a role in events, designating humanity as pests. I have to say that I really do love this narrative arc that has been niggling away in our minds for the past ten months; I just hope that we eventually get a proper explanation as to what’s going on.
The premise behind the majority of Moving Target is rather simple; there’s an intergalactic game of cat and mouse, with a whole host of aliens being the cat, and Suzie and Alex being two very frightened mice. If there’s one aspect of Suzie that is really interesting in Moving Target, it’s the way that Guy Adams has written her in such a way that gives the impression that she feels as if she has to prove her worth, both to herself and to Alex. This self doubt that Suzie possesses is something that is mildly hinted at in Everything Changes, and I think it shows how much research Guy has given the character to write her in such a way.
When a story is essentially a two hander, like Ghost Mission of Moving Target, the relationship and the dynamic between the two leads is arguably more important than the other content of the story. As Suzie and Alex start off as complete strangers, it means that in the hour we get to spend with them, we get a hell of a lot of development to take in, some of which could in theory feel forced. Luckily, that’s not the case here, and Guy Adams manages to make the development of the relationship feel extremely natural (under the circumstances).
Alex’s ‘tragic’ life is one of the only parts of the story that I didn’t really like if I’m being incredibly honest; the way she told Suzie that she was standing in the shadow of her sister just seemed to make her character much less likeable. In my eyes (or ears, I’m not sure how metaphors work on audio) the fact that she started complaining about her life to Suzie for no reason whatsoever just makes her seem like a whiney woman who craves some sympathy.
There’s a moment where Suzie and Alex become intoxicated, and their newfound friendship is brought into question. It’s a very interesting battle of morals between two strong women which rather swiftly becomes what can only be described as a bitch-fight. Luckily the Referee is there to bring us some much needed comic relief. Then some… not-comic relief. Talk about being the bearer of bad news; sometimes foresight is a curse.
The conclusion is an absolute shocker. Suzie Costello managed to make me actually freeze in my tracks of writing. Guy Adams has managed to make her character arguably one of the most complex and intriguing members of the Torchwood team in the final few moments alone. What he did to her character took guts, and boy am I glad that he did.
Overall Moving Target is one of the most interesting and complex stories in the Torchwood universe, proving that the members of Torchwood are humans and aren’t flawless god-like beings. If you love characters that are three-dimensional, erratic and are morally questionable, then this is the story for you.
Should you want to purchase Moving Target, it’s currently available from Big Finish for £9.99 on CD or a £7.99 download which you can purchase here.