Posted in Audio by - May 18, 2023

Released May 2023


Torchwood: Among Us Part 1 comes to a close with ‘Moderation’ by James Goss and Tyler Steele now in charge of moderating the comments section of a news website. His friend Petra Malik is the star reporter for this newspaper and helped him get his current job, but as his role in the company shifts to allow a greater degree of free speech, he comes to realize that Petra is squarely in the crosshairs.

Taken in isolation, ‘Moderation’ is a prescient and grim look at the current state of society as seen through the comments section of news videos, the inflammatory thoughts and actions of members of the general populace in public, and the self-serving motivations behind exactly which stories are investigated and ultimately published. It’s little secret that hatred inspires greater interaction and reactions than happiness in most cases, and utilizing Petra and her cultural attire precisely to invoke heated reactions from her interview subjects regardless of her undisputed interviewing skills and the gotcha moments she can so casually deliver is a rather grim look at how business and news have changed to focus more on opinion rather than genuine content. Unfortunately, at a site that monitors and seems to encourage death threats and rape threats as Tyler’s job is increasingly minimized while the novel algorithm that stipulates which stories are broadcast and which comments are allowed continues to gain prominence, Petra’s most meaningful stories are constantly buried, the medical miracle of a brain graft allowing recovery from a coma being buried allegedly because of the subject being a gay man who overdosed and thus not being marketable or relatable the most glaring offence.

As Petra finds herself the subject of verbal threats in person, written threats online, and even physical threats with bullets left on her doorstep and knives left in her bed, Maya Saroya gives a brilliant performance as a woman dedicated to her career and ideals but trying to navigate this increasingly hostile world and workplace. This frustration also leads to some great scenes between Petra and Tyler whom she initially sees as responsible for the rise in hate speech online but whom she comes to realize still has her back, and their mutual experiences here while manoeuvering around the algorithm’s decrees create a strong narrative backdrop that shows that goodness and hope can still persist and emerge victorious no matter the strength of those looking to oppress. Much has previously been said about Tyler’s past, and ‘Moderation’ satisfyingly highlights his skills in a very real-world scenario.

When all is said and done, ‘Moderation’ can be viewed through two distinct filters, either as biting social commentary on the current state of a reactionary and opinionated society or as a story under the Torchwood banner that ultimately has little to do with Torchwood at this point. With Mr Colchester being little more than a cameo and with the apparent overarching threat of this saga revealing no more of its presence than previously despite being insidiously pervasive throughout this story, this is certainly not the narrative that might be expected as the conclusion of the first set with the Torchwood team ostensibly being set to reunite. Paul Clayton and Jonny Green are superb together as should be expected, but there are still significant plot threads lingering between the two characters that have not yet been picked up or meaningfully addressed. Much like Colin’s tale in ‘Colin Alone,’ Petra’s tale here truly is gripping and emotional, but hers also feels like something of a diversion away from the Torchwood team as a whole and contributes to an oddly fulfilling but also vacuous feeling given the two viewpoints from which it can be experienced. At the very least, hopefully Big Finish will continue to incorporate Petra in future tales in some capacity since she truly is a charismatic and impactful character with plenty to offer.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.