Iceberg

Posted in Audio by - May 23, 2020
Iceberg

Released May 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

As a character who would come to quite literally represent a bridge between life and death, Owen Harper unsurprisingly finds such themes a recurring element in his many adventures. Called to a hospital with a ward full of coma patients in Grace Knight’s ‘Iceberg,’ Owen collides with the past he had hoped to leave behind as he attempts to determine just why these patients’ dead relatives seem to be anything but.

In some instances, the plot synopsis accompanying a Big Finish release can tell an entire story by itself, but ‘Iceberg’ manages to deliver something wholly unexpected as an intimate character drama unfolds. This is the first Torchwood audio with Burn Gorman as the only featured regular, and he delivers a powerhouse performance as his tortured character features more directly than ever before, in the process showing that Owen himself is like an iceberg with so much more than is known still hidden beneath the surface. In essence, ‘Iceberg’ is a two-hander with Owen alongside his extremely close one-time friend, Dr Amira Hussein, whom he had to leave behind along with his life when he decided to join Torchwood. She understandably wants to know what would cause Owen to cut her off like he did, and the extended dialogue detailing how their friendship fell apart and the sadness that has befallen Amira and their mutual friends in those eighteen months is emotionally delivered with the needed weight of remorse and angst by both Gorman and Maya Saroya.

Owen quickly grows suspicious when Amara seems to lack the basic medical knowledge to provide a suitable working hypothesis, but his own tests and experiences quickly reveal that something wholly unexpected is occurring. With Amara strangely more like the young girl he first met but quickly becoming more like the young professional he knew more recently, there’s an added resonance for Owen here given what his own fiancé endured, and the mystery that unfolds surrounding the abnormally large accumulation of coma patients and the circumstances that brought them here always retains its focus on very human emotions and the genuine power they can hold. The iceberg formation analogy is a perhaps a bit heavy-handed in relation to the inevitable alien presence given the thematic presence already layered into the script, but the result is a brilliant look into Owen and his past, compassion, remoteness, incisiveness, and his ability to make difficult decisions for the perceived greater good.

Even with a key element of the plot revealed fairly early on, ‘Iceberg’ contains plenty of misdirection to ensure that Owen and the audience are both fully invested throughout, and the clues that Owen is able to pick up on to piece together the larger puzzle are all logical and sensical to allow a cohesive whole to be formed. ‘Iceberg’ maximizes its running time to the fullest with brilliant character insight on both ends, and this earlier look at Owen than is usually afforded results in a genuinely engaging drama that only emphasizes all the more just how much this character has to offer. A welcome addition for both long-time fans and more casual listeners alike, ‘Iceberg’ expertly capitalizes on the more intimate format of the monthly range and becomes yet another standout success for Big Finish’s continued exploration of Torchwood in its many iterations.

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