Torchwood is back once again with the second instalment of Aliens Among Us, four new episodes have been released, and Torchwood will never be the same again. Today, I’ll be reviewing the fifth episode of Aliens Among Us, Love Rat.
Captain Jack Harkness is dead, and that’s the simplest thing that’s happened to him in the last few days. Even the manner of his death is surprisingly complex, especially when it turns out that he hasn’t come back alone.
While Torchwood try and cope with a new mayor and a terrorist cell, they also have to deal with what, at first, looks to be a plague, and then turns out to be something far, far worse.
Is it Torchwood if it’s not sexy? Is it Torchwood if you’re not listening to homoerotic sex? Is it Torchwood if that sex isn’t f*cking weird? That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you open up a Torchwood box set.
Not too long after, Jack is killed and Cardiff has another terrorist attack- it’s clear something’s not right, and Jack is as horny as ever. Considering that this story is the first penned by Christopher Cooper (I wonder if they’re related to Gwen) in the Torchwood range, it’s clear that he clearly knows the tone of the show. If you were sat listening to this with your eyes closed, it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine yourself in front of the TV watching it.
Orr has some absolutely great scenes early on, and it really brings their character to the fore, especially showing the relationship between the main Torchwood team. Considering so much happens in the first twenty minutes, Love Rat really manages to have some more intimate moments between the leading cast.
Something I noticed around halfway through Love Rat is that it has a lot of parallels with the first series of Torchwood on TV. Although some of the characters have been replaced, a few of the dynamics and the habits are seemingly resurfacing and coming to the fore once again. This time though, there’s a few twists; a few niggling sensations that it’s not what it seems, and that something is awry. In some cases, the listener knows exactly why, but there’s a few actions that seem odd and I can’t put my finger onto why.
This might sound out of place, but do you remember Day One? Do you remember how awkward it was if you were young and watched it with your parents? If, like me, you do, then a revelation of this story might bring back some flashbacks. It’s awkward being so British sometimes.
The latter half of the story is really interesting in terms of plot, as it goes from starting with multiple plot threads to just focussing on one. Personally, I felt like this is the reverse of the majority of Big Finish scripts, as you normally start with one plot, which quickly branches into an A and B plot. I love it when new talent comes into Big Finish because they’re able to bring their own flare into proceedings and shake things up. Starting with a wide range of focus and having it all be pinpointed made for a really interesting and easy listen.
If there’s one gripe I have with Love Rat, it’s that the resolution to the main story arc is a little too simplistic, and seems too easily remedied considering we’ve invested nearly an hour in the storyline. It’s a shame, because the situation that the main characters got themselves in could have had some really unique solutions with some fundamental consequences.
The conclusion to the story is utterly heartbreaking, and it uses the revelation from the end of Superiority Complex to great effect, it’s times like these that you’re reminded just how human Torchwood actually is; how raw and emotional and complex lives are, and I love it.
Overall Love Rat is a story that focusses on relationships, whether they be working relationships or romantic and/or sexual ones. Christopher Cooper has done an amazing job at making a story which features an interesting alien concept be focussed so much on the humanity (or lack thereof) of the main cast in this release. If his writing is anything to go by, I for one can’t wait to hear more from Cooper in the future.
Should you want to purchase Aliens Among Us 2, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £28 on CD or £25 for a digital download for a limited time.