Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy

Posted in Audio by - May 20, 2018
Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy

Released August 2017
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

James Goss delivered an immensely engaging start to Aliens Among Us that successfully detailed the current state of Torchwood and Cardiff and wonderfully blended Gwen and Jack with newcomers Mr Colchester and Tyler Steele in ‘Changes Everything.’ Also tasked with penning this fifth series’s second instalment, ‘Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy,’ Goss now presents the tale of Torchwood following up on a potential lead from Tyler that takes Gwen and Colchester to the bachelorette party of the mysterious Ro-Jetta’s daughter that just may give some answers about what has been happening throughout the city. True to Torchwood traditions, however, the two soon find themselves learning more than they could ever want as they find themselves fleeing for their lives.

Torchwood at its purest and most effective manages to seamlessly blend humour and gripping drama, and Goss perfectly mines the inherent potential of a bachelorette party gone wrong with an extended macabre sequence that ties into the ongoing refugee crisis storyline adeptly. The drunken night out that introduces the carnivorous Sorvix race that has been migrating to Earth and results in the consumption of a stripper before a late-night booze run comes to life spectacularly on audio, and Sophie Colquhoun makes an instant impact as Madrigal both in the more humorous and more serious scenes. At the same time, Gwen has a brief moment to let loose and enjoy herself while betting good money against Colchester that Tyler’s tip is wrong and that this party is simply an innocent party, but she’s able to switch back into heroine mode in an instant and soon finds that beneath Mr Colchester’s sardonic and seemingly flippant exterior is a hardened man willing to take the ultimate action to stay alive and benefit the common good. This scene is perhaps the most powerful for Colvhester to date and will assuredly have even more lasting ramifications as events continue to unfold and the hidden truth of Cardiff becomes known.

While ‘Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy’ may not be quite as cohesively satisfying as its predecessor and does feature a few more filler moments to pass the time, the revelation that Ro-Jedda arranged the marriage of her daughter with Osian to prevent a war between their families followed by Madrigal rebelling and releasing her friend Quenel whom her mother forced into a coma to prevent any interference lends an incredible amount of depth to what could have easily been a fairly superfluous introduction to the aliens and their unique reaction to aspirin. Yet while the Sorvix will undoubtedly have a tremendous role in the overall series, they are nearly overshadowed by the revelation that the Gwen here is, in fact, not Gwen at all. While her voice had been somewhat different to the norm in this story and the previous one, the fact that Gwen’s consciousness is trapped inside of her head and that another alien being inhabits her body is presented remarkably well. Alexandria Riley plays this being credited only as Ng on the cast, and Ng makes her impact known almost immediately as she kills Gwen’s mother when she begins to suspect that Gwen isn’t quite right with her speech and mannerisms. It’s unknown at this point just how long Gwen has been trapped and unable to communicate with anyone else, but this is a significant event and storyline that again should continue to have lasting influence for Gwen and Torchwood itself.

This second instalment doesn’t quite come to life as seamlessly as ‘Changes Everything’ did, but whereas that premiere was focused on introducing its new characters and showing the worsening state of Cardiff, ‘Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy’ begins to actually delve into the actual alien aspect of the storyline while presenting a tremendous twist for Gwen that sets Aliens Among Us on an exciting new trajectory. It will obviously rely on the fallout to put these events into context, but this is another enjoyable introductory tale continues the momentum already in place.

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