SEASON ONE: EPISODE 1: “Everything Changes”

A brutal murder leads WPC Gwen Cooper to Torchwood, a journey that will change her life forever.

This is definitely Gwen Cooper’s episode, all the way. Essentially it’s the story of an ordinary police officer who accidently stumbles into the world of Torchwood, and by the end of the episode proves she has the right stuff to join the team. I watched this episode with an eye toward how well it stands on its own: quite nicely, I think. Although technically a spin-off of Doctor Who, I think of it as more of a “parallel” series, such as CBS’s various CSI shows. That is, they occupy the same universe and may occasionally cross over, but remain independent of each other.

That’s not to say the Doctor Who references aren’t there, merely that they’re not integral to the enjoyment of the show. For example, the Doctor’s hand (from “The Christmas Invasion”) is seen in the Torchwood headquarters, but it’s no more necessary to know the story behind it in order to follow the story at hand (no pun intended) than it is to know the history of a trophy seen in the background of the Batcave to enjoy a Batman story. The story differentiates four different versions of Torchwood, and unless I haven’t been paying close enough attention to Doctor Who (always a possibility), more than one of these versions have yet to be fully explained.

While still told from Gwen Cooper’s point of view, about midway through the first episode the spotlight of attention is thrown on Jack Harkness, a character with a mysterious two-year gap in his history which I look forward to seeing revealed. Gwen learns the secret of his longevity in this episode, but apparently his teammates remain unaware at this point. The next episode is titled “Day One,” which makes me glad “Everything Changes” isn’t listed as “episode zero.”

Perhaps I read too many comics books.

BIG FINISH AUDIOS:

ALIENS AMONG US - Part 1
   1.1 Changes Everything
   1.2 Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy
   1.3 Orr
   1.3 Superiority Complex

ALIENS AMONG US - Part 2
   2.1 Love Rat
   2.2 A Kill to a View
   2.3 Zero Hour
   2.3 The Empty Hand

ALIENS AMONG US - Part 3
   3.1 Poker Face
   3.2 Tagged
   3.3 Escape Room
   3.3 Herald of the Dawn

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SUPERIORITY COMPLEX by AK Benedict:

“Poverty and homelessness are on the rise in Cardiff. The streets are full of the desperate and the dispossessed. So, of course, it’s the right time to open a 7-star luxury, all-inclusive hotel. And, naturally, the hotel is for aliens only. As the humans stand outside the gates and look hungrily in, there’s one thing that makes them smile. Someone is murdering the guests.”

COMMENTARY: This one is a pretty decent murder mystery with lots of suspects, Ro-Jedda among them. The hotel is a “smart” hotel, which aids in the investigation. The real clue as to what’s really going on is when [SPOILER WARNING] the sexual psychomorph Orr develops an internal, mechanical elevator as part of his/her reproductive system. Don’t ask me how that works. The sound effects are enough to convey what’s happening. Yes, the smart hotel is also a sentient hotel (hence the pun in the title), murdering its guests. [END SPOILER]

In the set-up for the second set, Ro-Jedda has the mayor of Cardiff “removed” and has set herself up to take his place. She also strikes a bargain with Tyler Steele to betray Torchwood.

I’m going to be honest… I’m afraid I let myself get carried away by the prospect of new Torchwood stories which take place beyond the point at which “Miracle Day” left off. These are good stories (don’t get me wrong), but there’s nothing particularly “post-Miracle Day” about them other than Big Finish says they are. They’re good stories, but they could just as easily be untold tales (apart from the new characters, I guess). I really wish now I would have concentrated on catching up on Doctor Who stories and keeping up with Dark Shadows. But what’s done is done. “Aliens Among Us” volume two shipped from England October 17 so I should have it shortly. I already have “The Tony & Cassandra” mysteries, which I should get around to next week.

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