We only got a glimpse of Torchwood One in Army of Ghosts and Doomsday; a brilliant and morally questionable institution led by Yvonne Hartman in Canary Wharf. Now, almost 11 years after our visit, Big Finish is allowing us to go back and see what Torchwood One was like before the Daleks and Cyberman waged war on one another, in Torchwood One: Before The Fall. Today, I’ll be reviewing the third and final episode, Uprising.
“Torchwood. It’s taken the best part of a month, but I’ve finally got things running how they should be. How they should have been all along. ”
Torchwood has experienced some radical changes, but things are finally settling down. Everyone has pulled together and is trying to put the past behind them. Well, except for Yvonne Hartman – she’s out to win the future.
There’s one problem. Someone seems to have started an interstellar war. Someone who knows Torchwood from the inside out.
And so here we are; after the events of both New Girl and Through The Ruins, it seems like Torchwood will never be the same again. Yet, we know how Torchwood is being run when we’re reintroduced to Torchwood One in Army of Ghosts. It seems like Uprising will have to bridge a very big gap to get us to where we know we’re going. (Isn’t messing with time stressful?)
Rachel’s leadership of Torchwood is so brilliantly manipulative and snakelike, but you can’t help but love her, even though you know, deep down, you should be repulsed. This is how you write a strong character. As an aspiring writer myself, I am taking notes.
There’s only one thing that is preventing Rachel from reaching her utopian view of Torchwood, Yvonne Hartman. Still on the run and still being a badass, it’s not long before we’re reintroduced to her, being gunned down by a top level assassin. Of course, Yvonne is more brilliant than them, and she wrangles her way out by using her great people skills.
Matt Fitton manages to break up the pacing, from being an epic game of cat and mouse, by adding an extremely humorous scene between Yvonne and a member of the Korvax about hotel standards since Rachel has taken over Torchwood.
One thing I have noticed throughout this box set is that it’s not all about the story arc, a lot of of the time is focussed on the characters relationships with one another. There’s a scene in Uprising that is a phone call between Yvonne and Ianto where she’s trying to convince him to help her out; I personally think that this might have been one of the most truthful, honest, and brilliant scenes of dialogue in Torchwood ever.
If you’d’ve asked me what I thought the uprising would be in a Torchwood story called ‘Uprising’, I can’t say I’d imagine an alien complaining at the quality of hotel they were put up in, but here we are. Sure, you could also argue we’re following Yvonne’s uprising against Rachel’s rule, but there was a charge for extra towels! It’s an abomination, an outrage, and I support the Korvax wholeheartedly.
Yvonne’s return to Canary Wharf is one that is extremely welcome, using her people skills yet again in an attempt to win back the staff of Torchwood. Of course it works. Yvonne is head of Torchwood One, the world is set right once again. She even forgives those who tried to kill her. What a great woman.
The conclusion of Uprising is extremely cleverly done, mirroring the beginning of New Girl with a few subtle changes. Rachel is back for Torchwood, and it’s her first day. Again. Don’t you love retconning?
Overall, Uprising has continued the trend of strong Torchwood stories, and I for one am glad that after two full series and three special releases, there hasn’t been a single story I’ve not enjoyed. Matt Fitton is Matt Fitton, so you know you’re going to be in for an enjoyable ride, so there’s not much to really say.
If there’s one thing I have to applaud, it’s the three writers of the Before The Fall box set, as well as Sophie Winkleman for her portrayal as Rachel; one of the best introductions to the Torchwood roster; I’d go as far to saying her character arc is nearly as good as my personal favourite, Norton Folgate.
Should you want to purchase Torchwood One: Before The Fall, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £15 for a limited time on digital download, or £20 for the CD box set.