Dog Hop

Posted in Audio by - September 15, 2023
Dog Hop

Released September 2023


Entering the last proper pub in Cardiff Bay replete with its own unique collection of regulars and offering no coffee or food, Sergeant Andy Davidson soon finds himself surrounded by and even halfway starting to believe the manager’s strange stories involving missing persons and local dogs in ‘Dog Hop’ by Lauren Mooney and Stewart Pringle.

Without a doubt, the plot of ‘Dog Hop’ is one of the most preposterous that Torchwood has ever featured as Nia proclaims that the consciousnesses of people around her are being transplanted, her only supposed evidence being a familiar element within the eyes that to her seems to suggest a trapped and terrified human soul within certain dogs. Of course, Andy initially dismisses the idea as too absurd even for him and his knowledge about the strange goings-on within Cardiff due to Torchwood and the rift, but the recent spate of people who have gone missing and the friendship he forges with Nia during his visits also mean that he cannot fully dismiss the idea. Although his ability to look into the cases is rather limited here, the balance between neither accepting nor disregarding Nia brings forth a unique element of Andy that successfully mirrors his own expanding horizons as Torchwood continues to influence everything around him.

Tom Price and Zadeiah Campbell-Davies share an easy chemistry that makes the genuine but somewhat fraught relationship between the two characters develop quickly and realistically, and the supporting actors wonderfully create a sense of community. Though it’s again difficult to believe that so many would come to so readily accept and follow through on Nia’s conspiracies that circle around a new health spa, the quick escalation as more and more dogs are brought in to the pub and supposed spiritual connections are formed presents an intriguing study about human behaviour and willingness to accept anything if stated with enough conviction, even here with Nia’s imagination and known ties to science fiction stories adding a further sense of imbalance to her credulity.

Unfortunately, because the premise being one person claiming without evidence that the spa is using dogs to test a means of transferring consciousnesses between humans to achieve the ultimate goal of an immortality of sorts is so absurd, ‘Dog Hop’ fails to resonate on any meaningful level because it neither offers a deep character study of the flaws of Nia and those around her were her suppositions to be proven incorrect nor a satisfying narrative to follow up on her claims were they proven to be correct. Instead, the story takes the wholly unsatisfying route of making Nia out to be obsessive and even irrational for almost the entirety of its run given the rather sparse circumstantial evidence offered in her support, only to at the very end tease that she may in fact have been correct given recent developments in certain cases and her own apparent changes when Andy again confronts her. The former route could have offered something deeply satisfying and unique for Torchwood had it committed to a truly flawed guest lead, and the latter could have offered a strong but more traditional tale about alien technology in human hands and the insidious danger that pervades human nature. With the caveat that a sequel is always possible to more fully flesh out the ending presented here, ‘Dog Hop’ as an isolated story instead commits to nothing until it is far too late, an approach that absolutely works for the character of Andy but that wholly prevents it from becoming anything more than inconsequential filler.

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