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 third story of the series, Orr.
Vincent Parry is the most successful property developer in Cardiff. A while ago he made an agreement with the mysterious Ro-Jedda, and it is an arrangement he has come to bitterly regret. Something has to be done – but it’s going to cost him everything he loves. With time running out for Cardiff, Torchwood encounter an alien who knows them only too well.
Episode Three, and it’s time for a relative newbie to Big Finish, Juno Dawson, to take the reigns of an official Series 5 story. No pressure, Juno. For those who don’t know, Juno recently penned The Dollhouse, another Torchwood tale, set in 1970s LA. After the sizeable events that happened at the end of Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy, Juno has quite frankly a monumental task ahead of her.
We start this episode with a new set of characters, and some strange goings on. We start with Vincent Parry, who, from the synopsis, seems to be a successful property developer; and it’s not too long before he’s confronted by Ro-Jedda. Now, I’m not certain at the point of writing this, but I have a good feeling I know who, or what, Ro-Jedda actually is.
It’s in Orr that we’re reintroduced to Rhys, played by the brilliant Kai Owen, and I’m glad that he’s back. It seems as if about a week has passed since Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy and Gwen is still dealing with the events and their consequences. Hearing Rhys have to deal with an emotionally fragile Gwen is brilliant, and Juno has written it beautifully.
One of the most interesting aspects of the early part of this episode is how the relationships of the Torchwood team and Tyler are portrayed. Gwen, somewhat out of character is being reserved from Jack, and it’s Mr Colchester who seems to be the link between the two. Tyler, too, seems to be desperate to prove himself in the eyes of the new Torchwood trio.
Vincent Parry’s dilemma is brought to the attention of Tyler and Torchwood, and it seems as if my suspicions were correct. (I’m just good, what can I say?)
It’s not too long before the proceedings are injected with a hit of action, and it’s times like this I love my minds eye, having Jack in a car chase in a Smart Car is truly a wondrous thing to imagine. Then, just as you think you’re in a trough in regards to action, Juno penned some even more. It’s very peak-heavy, very bleak, and very Torchwood.
Around the halfway mark, we’re introduced (kind of) to the titular Orr, and it’s not what you expect whatsoever. Torchwood and sexuality go hand in hand, and Orr is an addition to both hands. You couldn’t imagine Orr to be in an episode of Doctor Who, but they’re fascinating, so I’m glad that Torchwood has allowed this opportunity to arise.
I know I’ve mentioned it in the other two reviews in Aliens Among Us so far, but yet again, the political parallels with immigration and slavery are brought to the fore yet again. Juno Dawson manages to handle is tactfully, and, especially with what’s going in the world right now, the parallels are becoming so real and so terrifying; it’s times like this that flights of fancy, like Torchwood, can help you understand the real world.
During past Big Finish reviews, I’ve talked about how I seem to enjoy bittersweet endings, maybe that’s just the sadist in me, who knows? I’m not here to psychoanalyse myself, I’m here to review things. The ending of Orr though isn’t really bittersweet, it’s just sweet, and I think it’s on occasions like this that you need a happy ending.
Oh, and by the way, wait till after the ending title music.
Overall, I think that Orr has yet again delved deeper into the world that Aliens Among Us is set in, looking at the aliens themselves, their desires and motivations and how Torchwood seems to be playing a part in this scenario. Juno Dawson’s script, in my opinion, is better than The Dollhouse, and after this release, I’m really interested to see what she produces next. Orr is a fascinating character and idea, and I feel that Juno has made it easy to understand and engaging to listen to. Yet another triumph in this new series of Torchwood.
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.