Coffee

Posted in Audio by - January 16, 2021
Coffee

Released January 2021

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With Torchwood’s immense personalities and technology in focus as threats to individuals, communities, countries, and even the planet so often manifest, it’s easy to forget about the innocent bystanders in Cardiff who must carry on with their lives and jobs through the constant danger at their doorsteps. In ‘Coffee’ by James Goss, a young man called Ianto Jones walks into Cardiff Bay’s only café, opening the eyes of a man whose mother has gone missing and who believes Cardiff to be cursed to a much stranger truth about his city.

While this approach may be somewhat inaccessible to casual fans or those who have not followed the many on-screen exploits of Torchwood and the Doctor, the unique and very human perspective that a café owner lends to the unthinkable terrors his city so often experiences is a proven and successful technique to further develop the show’s world at large on a very intimate level. Torchwood isn’t necessarily the most secret organization as its emblazoned logo rushes through the streets, and the whiffs of rumours and snippets of truth that make it into the general public’s knowledge is an intriguing starting point that, of course, leads to much more once Ianto arrives in town for a job interview and quickly connects with the owner, David, and his employee, Kathy, by teaching them how to make an incredible cup of coffee.

Fittingly, as Ianto’s role develops within Torchwood, his relationship with the two at the café continues to develop as well, and the aspects that Ianto is willing and able to discuss about himself and his job continue to provide an intriguing window through which David and Kathy can likewise develop. These relationships are incredibly grounded and cover failures and fears just as much as hopes and successes while Ianto certainly makes mistakes along the way and Torchwood’s reputation is called into question; even though this quick breeze through Torchwood’s modern timeline only offers brief vignettes along the way, the remarkable chemistry among Gareth David-Lloyd, Shaun Chambers, and Sarah Griffin fuels the more comedic moments just as effectively as the more dramatic and emotional moments that slowly come to focus much more prominently as the cumulative effects of living near the rift along with specific terrors begin to take hold. The story does lose some of its effect since this café is poised to be a one-off and so the true depths of its two workers can only briefly be touched upon no matter how effective each scene is, but ‘Coffee’ provides a fascinating insight into Cardiff as a whole without Torchwood overtly at the forefront.

Given how much time and how many events this release covers, the emotionally dynamic performances from the three leads is not only essential but delivered believably and impressively. Accompanying these are powerful sound design and confident direction that effectively and effortlessly tie together the many scenes. ‘Coffee’ isn’t necessarily a story that will alter Torchwood’s overall mythology, but it expertly reveals a few key moments of Ianto’s time with the organization in Cardiff and effectively brings in two guest characters that provide the means for poignant character studies in a world with day-today lives that are so obviously anything but normal.

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1 Comment on "Coffee"

  • bantos

    You should review comics and novels too 🙂

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