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 seventh episode of Aliens Among Us, Zero Hour.
Welcome to Deliverables. Thanks to us, Cardiff is enjoying an economic miracle. We have created thousands of jobs. We have wiped out homelessness.
More importantly, there are so many benefits to you. Deliverables will deliver your post, your packages, your meals. We are Deliverables, and we never stop.
Deliverables – we always know where to find you. Deliverables – put your life in our hands.
Considering we seem to live in a world in which we expect everything to be delivered to us yesterday, it seems like a story looking at the working conditions of delivery drivers is something that could easily be given the Torchwood treatment. There’s been a lot in the news recently about how poor the working conditions are for these people, and yet we still buy products from this mega-companies that can’t be bothered to give their employees a living wage. I’ll be the first to admit it that I’m guilty of this, and I don’t know why, but maybe Janine H Jones can make Big Finish listeners, myself included, think about what we’re doing.
It’s clear from the opening of Zero Hour that something’s not quite right. The great thing about having a story like this on audio is that you’re not sure if time is being a bit wibbly-wobbly or if it’s a clever way to convey the monotony of modern life; everything is the same day in, day out. Sometimes the wonder in the mundane can be just that, without any alien intervention.
From the outset, it seems as if this story is going to focus mainly on Tyler, much like A Kill To A View focussed mainly on Mr Colchester’s life. I really like it when we get an insight into some of the newer characters, as it allows us to gain an insight into their life, especially without the constant bombarding madness of Torchwood.
I know I said that this was mainly Tyler’s story, but Gwen gets a bit of an interesting storyline too involving Anwen and her first time navigating through motherhood. Considering Gwen’s overarching plot, it’s a really interesting route to go down, and Jones has done a brilliant job at writing the scenes with attention, care and honesty.
On the surface, you might think that Zero Hour is a fairly simple and straightforward story; there’s a company that appeared out of the blue that seems too good to be true, and chances are it probably is. For Tyler, Deliverables quickly becomes more than a company, Deliverables becomes a way of life. An easier and more financially stable way of life. For just under twelve weeks…
The final act of Zero Hour is fairly cookie cutter Torchwood; and if you’re listening to this story or reading this review, chances are you enjoy the series, so you probably won’t mind too much. Tyler seems to be in way over his head though, which could lead to some really interesting stories in the near future.
If I wasn’t such a Big Finish boffin, and if I didn’t do research about the writers of each story before I listen to it, there’s no way I would have guessed that this is Janine H Jones’ first story for Big Finish; she just seems to get it. The pacing was brilliant, it gave us a unique insight into a world that the majority of us know about but don’t question, and has some really impressive character driven scenes. I for one can’t wait to see what she’s penned in her upcoming War Master story, The Good Master.
Overall, Zero Hour is a real romp of a story that puts Torchwood outsider Tyler at it’s heart. It’s contemporary, sexy and bonkers, just as Torchwood should be. If I have one gripe, it’s that an aspect of Gwen’s storyline seems to be getting dragged out slightly too long without any tidbits of value coming to the fore. I just hope that the payoff, if or when it comes, is worthwhile; but that’s not a criticism of Jones’ writing whatsoever.
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.