The Empty Hand Review

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 eighth episode of Aliens Among Us, The Empty Hand.

Synopsis
An innocent refugee has been shot point-blank on the streets of Cardiff. It causes an upsurge in terrorist attacks.
An innocent refugee has been shot point-blank on the streets of Cardiff by a policeman. It’s a catalyst for protests in the streets.
An innocent refugee has been shot point-blank on the streets of Cardiff by Sergeant Andy Davidson. It’s the end of Torchwood as we know it.

Review
It’s about time we got a fair smidge of Andy Davidson, even if it is in slightly odd circumstances. Sergeant Davidson has committed one of the most vile crimes; Andy is a murderer. And he needs Torchwood’s help to prove he’s innocent.

There’s a brilliant scene in the Torchwood Hub itself featuring Rhys meeting Mr Colchester for the first time, and we get to learn about about Mr Colchester’s stance on the modern day police force. We also get to hear an awkward yet hilarious scene between Andy and Orr, and we learn about Andy’s innermost and passionate desires.

Tim Foley manages to brilliantly write realistic motivations for every character in this story, and even if they’re not the motivations or beliefs that you would initially expect, Foley’s writing makes you understand that character’s point of view. We even get a great scene between Gwen and the Mayor which I didn’t expect at all.

The B-plot of The Empty Hand is really interesting too, featuring Jack and the Red Doors, the terrorist organisation from earlier in the box set. It seems as if it’s not just Torchwood who are trying to get the bottom of this alien invasion, the main difference is that Red Doors are more keen to butcher the invaders, instead of attempting to reconcile with them.

What I love about The Empty Hand is that it’s written so realistically; if a police officer had shot a refugee at point blank range, it wouldn’t be too long before the footage was doing the rounds online, swiftly followed by protests, both peaceful and otherwise. Then, of course, the press would find out the suspects house and camp out. It’s almost like Tim Foley knows how the world works nowadays, and it’s kind of odd that you’re so familiar with how this all plays out.

It’s not often that I enjoy the B-plot as much as I do the A-plot in a story, but the little snippets we get of Jack’s odd goings on are really entertaining to listen to. It’s nice to hear John Barrowman having a lot of fun recording.

The final act of The Empty Hand is brilliant, with Jack, Gwen, the police force, the Mayor and Tyler all in a room; albeit briefly, in an attempt to sort out the mess that is quickly escalating out of any of their control. It’s not long before the scene goes from a menagerie of characters to just two, and then Foley does something extremely infuriating, but I love him for it. Sometimes less is more.

During the very final scene, we get something that I think a lot of people have been waiting for; an intervention for someone in the new Torchwood team. Then there’s that cliffhanger; and boy what a cliffhanger. You will be asking so many questions, and you may want to go back in Torchwood’s history, both through Big Finish and on TV to try and explain what the hell is going on. All I can say is, bring on the next box set.

Rating

94%

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.

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