Launch Date

Posted in Audio by - April 22, 2023
Launch Date

Released April 2023


Big Finish brings its trio of romance stories to a close with ‘Launch Date’ by Aaron Lamont, showcasing Geraint who has missed yet another opportunity in life by failing to pick up on the flirtations of Chrissie. Unsatisfied with his job and life, Geraint turns to his friend Ianto to help him out, and Ianto is only too keen to oblige.

Put simply, ‘Launch Date’ is not a Torchwood story, and so listeners hoping for a strong science fiction plot or even an insightful character piece about Ianto will be left disappointed. However, with Ianto taking on more of a peripheral role while repeatedly bringing Geraint and Chrissie together to achieve his own aims of saving the world from the shadows, the romantic comedy stylings of this burgeoning relationship also don’t quite fully land. Torchwood and all that it stands for must trump the typical tropes that pervade a typical romantic comedy in this series, and so modifying both formats to accommodate each other within the unique working class backdrop at times provides something of an odd mishmash both tonally and narratively as a lurking danger is ultimately interjected.

Where ‘Launch Date’ unquestionably succeeds, however, is with its casting of Jonathan Hawkins as Geraint and Gemma Knight Jones as Chrissie. The former character is down on his luck and lacking in confidence and awareness, eager to finally have a good friend in Ianto and willing to buy however many biscuits he may request while also being keen to explore the connection that Chrissie and he seem to have without doing or saying anything that may cause her to think less of him; conversely, the latter character is much more confident and headstrong, and her apparent frustration with the world is a strong piece of characterization that comes to a head when she pieces together just how manipulative Ianto has been in recent events. In fact, it’s clear that Lamont has tried to make Ianto sympathetic despite the way he has been using Geraint, but there’s simply no escaping the duplicitous and manipulative nature of Ianto here which does highlight his loyalty to Torchwood but also goes against so much previous characterizations Indeed, he’s much more like Jack might be given his bluntness and determination here as his furtive actions are called out and then detailed, adding something of another jarring layer to this story since he is so willing to look past the emotions of others even as he claims that he is sure these two like each other.

Even if the bigger picture doesn’t quite manage to balance everything it intends, the smaller moments within it offer plenty to enjoy, with particular highlights being Geraint and Chrissie in the restaurant and Geraint after drinking a bit too much. Even Geraint’s intolerable co-worker, Joe, manages to imbue another all too familiar dose of reality to this story that makes Geraint all the more sympathetic and offers more thrust for the non-Torchwood side of things to succeed. Nonetheless, ‘Launch Date’ is ultimately quite disjointed and paints Ianto as a more hardened and atypically callous individual than is typical, almost managing to tell its character-based romance with Torchwood a background presence but not quite able to merge both of its obvious goals harmoniously.

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