Here we are then, the official Series 5 of Torchwood, named Aliens Among Us is released. Well, partly released, this box set is one of three of the epic Aliens Among Us saga, and today I’ll be reviewing the second story of the series, Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy.
Has Cardiff really been invaded by aliens? Tyler thinks he’s found a lead – the daughter of the mysterious Ro-Jedda is getting married and has booked a private party. If Torchwood can infiltrate it, there’s a chance they’ll end up closer to the truth. Free bar, canapés, and the chance to find out what’s really going on. What could possibly go wrong? Soon Torchwood are on the run for their lives, and learning more than they ever wanted to about alien life.
Tyler and Gwen are having a catch up, after the events of Changes Everything, it seems like we’ve had a passage of time that’s yet to be explored. Tyler is (mild spoilers) not working for Torchwood, instead he has a job working for the mayor. We all remember how uncorrupt the last mayor of Cardiff was in Boom Town don’t we?
If I’m going to do the same as I did in my Changes Everything review, and compare that to Everything Changes to look at the parallels, it would seem that the parallels between Day One and Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy is that both episodes seem to focus somewhat on sex. I mean, I know all of Torchwood was fairly sexual; but it seems the second episodes are rather sex-heavy. At least this time I’m not watching/ listening to this episode with my mum.
The main concept behind Aliens Among Us, using actual aliens to juxtapose the paranoia of modern-day post Brexit Britain and our relationship with immigrants, is brilliantly done. Especially when set in Cardiff, because, from my experience, the Welsh are brilliantly blunt when it comes to their opinions.
If you’re a die-hard Torchwood fan and you’ve been reading the latest comic series from Titan, which has been co-written by John Barrowman on countless occasions, you’ll be happy to know that the events of the Titan series crosses over with the events in Aliens Among Us, meaning that both are officially canon. Yay for intertwining storylines!
It’s not too long before things take a dark Torchwood turn when a stripper arrives. (You wouldn’t write that sentence about Doctor Who, would you?) The poor bugger doesn’t stand a chance against some ravenous young women on a hen do. Especially with his huge serpent.
Considering this is only the second episode of a twelve episode arc, there seems to be a fair few large revelations; especially if you’re a fan of the saying ‘know your enemy’. Although, I do have a hunch that not all is at is seems, this is Torchwood after all.
Mr Colchester gets a tiny scene which really humanises him in my opinion, especially when all we’ve heard of him so far was being stoic, prim and proper. To know that he is a normal guy in the Torchwood team is really refreshing and reminds you that, no matter what goes on in these characters lives, they too have families, friends and people they care about.
Totally random I know, and I’m interjecting my own review with a little bit of commentary, but do you ever do that thing where you squee because something you know is in a certain universe gets mentioned elsewhere in the universe? Well if you do, that happens around 30 minutes in. I had a little squee. James Goss wrote a script which made me squee myself.
The events of the latter half of the story are extremely plot-heavy, which is why I seem to spend a lot of the article writing about the establishing events and less on the events themselves. I’m trying not to spoil it for you. What I will say though, is that the events in the latter half really showcase the dynamic between Colchester and Gwen, and it’s different to any dynamic Gwen has had in Torchwood in the past.
One thing I have to commend James Goss for in his writing is creating dialogue that feels so naturalistic even though it’s set in this sensationalist setting. The bride-to-be and her best friend have an amazing tiff, and you can’t help but be drawn into the argument and want to keep listening. If this conversation was going on in a bar, I’d be shushing all of my friends so I could earwig.
I think at it’s essence, Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy is a story that is a Torchwood take on the inverse of Romeo and Juliet. The title isn’t too misleading, there’s definitely three of the four titular promises, possibly the fourth too. Of course, I’m not going to tell you which ones though, where would be the fun in that?
The conclusion of Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy is extremely humanised, especially when compared to the rest of the story; and to me, no matter how incredible the alien threat, it’s the human aspect of Torchwood that makes it so delightful. Then, at the very end, you’re left thinking what the fu-
Overall, Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy is another strong story in Aliens Among Us, which focusses heavily on Gwen and Mr Colchester; Jack is only in this story for about a minute, as is Tyler, however I feel like we’re going to be hearing a lot more of those two in the future. This story isn’t as action-packed as the opener, but it does give the listener a greater insight to this new wave of the Torchwood team and how they handle new threats.
Should you want to purchase Aliens Among Us 1, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £28 on CD or £25 for a digital download for a limited time.