Tagged

Posted in Audio by - May 23, 2018
Tagged

Released February 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Torchwood is still reeling from the cataclysmic series of events of ‘Poker Face’ with its members still adjusting to the nuances stemming from Yvonne Hartman now being in charge, but when a mysterious phrase starts appearing everywhere around Cardiff and a wave of vigilante crime and justice spreads through the streets in Joseph Lidster’s ‘Tagged,’ Yvonne makes no secrets of the lengths she is willing to go to in order to emerge victorious.

‘I know what you’ve done. I know what you’ll do.’ It’s a simple phrase, but Lidster uses it to profound effect through ‘Tagged’ to tell an emotional and allegorical story about the powers of social media as fate-bearing cards play on the emotions and fears of innocent people in a society where everyone bears secrets and guilt. The conduit to explore the dramatic psychological changes that a furtive threat can bring about is police officer Serena, and Kezrena James ably steps up to the task creating an air of sympathy and even empathy for this character who is without question guilty of quite heinous crimes. She has been abused in the past and is clearly a very upstanding and well-intentioned individual, and her inspired dark turn as she tries to make the most of the weakened state of the police force under 3Sol to hide her tracks neatly ties together the current plotline with the simmering overarching narrative of the series. It’s through Serena and her primal urge to hide her secrets as events spiral out of control that Gwen’s intriguing storyline once more takes prominence as well as the being within her keeps her from dying at Serena’s hands and then exacts her ultimate revenge to ensure her own secret remains hidden. This is a nice dovetailing of parallel plot points brought about by wholly distinct circumstances, and all facets of the production handle the buildup, tension, and misdirection of this entire storyline very well.

Of course, ‘Tagged’ is just as much about Yvonne’s actions as the head of Torchwood and just how distinct her style is from Jack’s. For the many lines that Jack is willing to cross, willingly subjecting a team member to torture with their ultimate sacrifice a true possibility is certainly not among them. Yvonne, however, shows no such qualms and tasks Orr who responds so innately to the urges and desires of those around her with entering the online realm to find the entity responsible for the carnage outside. Confronted with raw vitriol, bias, and unfiltered opinions that together lead to some interesting observations about the state and double standards of society, Orr is truly pushed to her limits, and Samantha Béart shows incredible range and conviction in portraying the true anguish her character must experience to try to get to the root of why so many innocent lives are being targeted. This is only further accentuated by Paul Clayton’s own performance as Colchester must uncomfortably witness the psychological torment of Orr whom he has formed quite a respectful friendship with in their short time together. Yvonne is a woman who always believes that results are paramount regardless of the costs incurred, and Lidster does a great job of instilling at least a semblance of sympathy and reason into this driven character to ensure that she never goes beyond redemption in the eyes of her team.

‘Tagged’ taken by itself is a relatively straightforward and traditional Torchwood story that doesn’t present too many opportunities for genuine surprises or risks until the end. However, the amount of genuine emotion and tension that is mined from the topical threat that represents a dangerous psychic alteration to a previous Sorvix idea is immense, using both its effects and the search for its cause to catapult the overall narrative of the story forward to a tremendous final scene that questions all previous assumptions. Lidster is intimately familiar with Torchwood and its ever-expanding cast of characters, and he delivers another excellent outing that keeps the momentum going strong as the series finale quickly approaches.

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