Moving Target

Posted in Audio by - May 07, 2018
Moving Target

Released June 2016
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With the Earth frozen in time, Suzie Costello unwittingly finds herself locked in a battle against alien warriors on an endless hunt for the only other moving being on Earth, expectant mother Alex. With every hour that doesn’t pass, the stakes continue to climb higher and higher, and the woman who has never described herself as a hero must decide once and for all if she’s making the right choices in ‘Moving Target’ by Guy Adams.

Even as the storylines of this second series of Big Finish’s Torchwood have mostly followed variations on a theme and begun to show some degree of repetition despite unique dynamics, the casting and direction have never once faltered, and that trend continues in ‘Moving Target.’ Suzie Costello made an instant impact on Torchwood, both for getting killed off in the pilot episode but also for showcasing a cruelty and malicious ulterior motives exploiting her access to alien technology that were all too human and yet rarely seen so bluntly from a member belonging to a force for good within the Doctor Who universe. Some ten years on, Indira Varma returns to the role and seamlessly offers a prologue for her destructive and unscrupulous antihero that exemplifies a genuine hope for redemption buoyed by regret that never had a chance to manifest on television, an intriguing path for the character to take before she ultimately gives in to her darker impulses when events take a turn for the worse. Alongside her, Naomi McDonald is wonderful as the emotionally complex but naïve Alex who must cope with her newfound pregnancy while fearing for her life, and Nicholas Burns gives a pitch perfect performance as the robotic Referee who exudes such charisma despite such malice and distaste underscoring his emotionless stance and insistence on following the rules during the hunt that the Committee has deemed legal.

The issue with ‘Moving Target’ beyond it being yet another team-up between a member of Torchwood and an outsider thrust into Torchwood’s world is that it ultimately plays things a bit too safe for the vast majority of its running time. Suzie represents the ultimate chance to do something unexpected given the motivations and endpoint for the character shown on screen, but the extended chase sequence pervading so much of the running time does little except show the requisite shrewdness and determination of Suzie who tries her best to do the right thing by protecting the unsuspecting Alex whom she soon comes to find has been chosen for hunting due to her minimal impact on the future timeline, a particularly devastating revelation given her pregnancy. The conclusion seems inevitable given the Referee’s insistence that any type of resistance can be outwaited, and aside from an intriguing pause featuring rather copious amounts of alcohol, the plot is fairly straightforward even with its visually impressive backdrop. Adams previously penned another chase-centric Torchwood audio in ‘One Rule,’ and it’s probably safe to say now that that particular setup may not be the best one to adequately engage in character exploration of the more unknown quantities within the modern Torchwood universe. Instead, the tremendous performances of the immensely engaging lead trio do the heavy lifting and ensure that ‘Moving Target’ remains a compelling listen in the lengthy sessions between the emotional heights that it proves more than capable of delivering, highlighting in particular Indira Varma as an actress even if Suzie Costello as a character doesn’t receive the most novel or ground-breaking return appearance.

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