Flight 405

Posted in Audio by - February 23, 2019
Flight 405

Released February 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Of the many characters newly introduced and reintroduced throughout Big Finish’s many Torchwood audios, perhaps no one made such an instant and lasting impact as the enigmatic member of 1950s Torchwood One, Norton Folgate, who has utilised advanced technology to continue to be intricately involved in Torchwood’s affairs overtly or covertly. Making his first appearance in these tales that represent the official continuation of the Torchwood story seen on screen in Lou Morgan’s ‘Flight 405,’ Norton teams with Andy and Yvonne to delve into the mystery of the titular aircraft that disappeared some sixty years ago and the secret he claims it holds that just may destroy the world now that the plane is finally due to land.

Although ‘Flight 405’ eventually turns into a tense, pulse-pounding affair, Morgan wisely takes a moment to deal with the more reflective aftermath of earlier events, specifically as Colchester speaks with Jack as the only one who could possibly understand what he is going through following his apparent resurrection. He feels like he will never sleep again and understandably questions if he can die, and this poignant discussion in which both open up about mortality is an absolute dramatic highlight that John Barrowman and Paul Clayton powerfully but softly deliver to maximum effect, especially as Colchester thanks Jack for being there for Colin but firmly reminds him that he will be the only one Colin will need now.

Understandably, the actual flight itself takes up the majority of the running time, and the trio of Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tom Price, and Samuel Barnett are a joy to listen to as they find themselves thrust into peril as Norton leads the search for a mysterious and dangerous alien artefact known as the Lens that can transfer energy into and out of dimensions and that could fracture the rift if not recovered in time. Andy, of course, has had to react to being completely out of his element on several occasions before, but even the steadfast Yvonne is shaken by the haunting visual of the flight’s original crew phasing between flesh and bone to mirror the time loop in which this plane has been trapped. Paired with recordings of their apparent deaths playing over and over again while bluntly describing what may be to come, the atmosphere aboard the plane carries a certain sense of impending doom and escalating tension that works to magnificent effect on every level.

Naturally, Andy’s previous experiences with Norton have taught him that he is not a man to be trusted, and although Andy sees genuine fear on Norton’s face for the first time after Norton secretly conducts his own search and is in shocking fashion forced to confront the prospect of a skeleton beneath a tarpaulin wearing a suit just like his, it should come as no surprise that Norton has ulterior motives. Yvonne is new to Norton’s world, of course, but she quickly puts her own fear aside and realises that she must take control of the story and change the narrative, a tactic that to her has always yielded results and, indeed, reveals the presence of the Lens she suspected to be on board all along in dangerous fashion as a hole is put in the side of the plane. With the engines killed, the only hope for survival is a totally unexpected means of interacting with the crew that admittedly isn’t fully explained despite its visual shock and undoubted effectiveness, but the lingering question Andy poses of just how much of this resolution Norton subtly guided is an engaging one that proves just how intuitive Andy is when Norton’s allegiance to the Committee once more rears its head. However, it’s the surprising injection of mystery that Yvonne adds to this latter element that is even more surprising and has the potential to pay tremendous dividends going forward, especially since she is something of an unknown quantity given her origins.

Buoyed by a lengthy faux podcast tagged at the end of this adventure that takes listeners through the influence of a certain secretive organisation within Cardiff that seems to be an open secret that its citizens will nonetheless not discuss, listeners are given a unique means of catching up with the saga of the Committee and of Torchwood as a whole through the perspective of outsiders trying to piece together the fragments of information that make their way into and remain in the public domain. Both as a standalone adventure and one that propels God Among Us down an exciting trajectory that pays attention to everything that has come before, ‘Flight 405’ is an unqualified success. A more isolated setting and cast for the majority of the running time are completely understandable and unquestionably successful given the foundation put in place, and this second set hits the ground running and looks set to meet the high expectations its predecessor put in place for it.

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