Posted in Audio by - December 11, 2023

Released December 2023


During the Earth Empire’s peak in the forty-third century, a ship from one thousand years in the future has crashed and calls out for help on an alien lava world in ‘Oracle’ by Ash Darby. Torchwood knows that knowledge from the future can change everything and pose untold dangers, however, and the Archive has sent ethicist Danny Bartock to join the expedition to just possibly save humanity from itself.

Big Finish tends to excel with more intimate ensemble pieces, and ‘Oracle’ proves to be no exception as each of the main characters becomes expertly developed while questions persist about whether there is anything outside the ship within this world’s hostile environment and just what happened to the ship’s original crew. For his part, Danny would rather not be here, and it’s clear that the other expedition members do not fully respect his position or role. However, with the temptation of knowledge from the future so tantalizingly close, Danny very much finds himself integral to affairs as he must discuss the ramifications of potential requests both minor and significant while also communicating with the ship in its chosen form of an Ood, a form that most people find soothing but that he is understandably unnerved by given his previous experiences alongside the Doctor and Rose. As Danny tries to uncover the motivations of those surrounding him while also confronting his own temptations, Ronny Jhutti gives a strong performance as a confident yet reserved man who is steadfastly true to his morals and who will continues to ask questions to truly understand this complicated situation that very much ties the future to the present.

In a confined story such as this, each member of the cast is vital to its success, and Teresa Banham, James Barriscale, Georgina Beedle, and Farshid Rokey combine to create an engaging affair that becomes all the more momentous as members of the expedition begin to die within the ship. It’s here that the power of certain information- true and false- and the desire to obtain it truly come to focus, and while some information can genuinely offer peace and calm, other pieces can bring out the most extreme reactions possible. Perhaps most intriguing is the confirmation bias inherent to the searches of Professor Felicity Martov and Achmet Eatock-Finch given poignant past tragedies and atrocities, but Aletta Songul looking to avoid a terrible fate and Sergeant Belki Collins working through emotional scarring each contribute to this layered tale that shows just how tempting this opportunity to learn invaluable information can be no matter individual circumstances. Providing the voice of the ship and the entry point to these characters learning what they desire is Silas Carson, and his Ood mannerisms perfectly suggest an open innocence and indifference that come to represent an intriguing moral dilemma in their own right given the ship’s desperate pleas for help and its own attempt to stay true to itself.

Indeed, Danny recognizes that not all is as it seems fairly early on, and he is wise enough to continue to question everything and everyone around him even as he questions his own thoughts and actions while insisting he will not given in to temptation. Ethics and morality fairly frequently feature in science fiction stories, but so prominently featuring an ethicist who himself undergoes tremendous change within a closed environment where the morality of individuals and of humanity as a whole is integral to the plot proves to be tremendous filter that makes the most of this incredibly strong cast and the tremendous reaches that Torchwood as a franchise can visit and explore.

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