Posted in Audio by - February 25, 2024

Released February 2024


Vultura has begun mining mountains in an Indian state, displacing local villagers who are beginning to grow restless and to harbour thoughts of retribution in ‘Sabotage’ by James Goss. When Mr Colchester is brought in at the company’s behest to stop acts of sabotage, he finds that Ace, a woman with a long history of explosives, is supervising the resettlement camp.

At its heart, ‘Sabotage’ is a story about environmentalism and the threat that very short-sighted goals based on financial and tangible gain continue to create for the very future of this planet. As such, it makes perfect sense that Ace and her A Charitable Earth foundation should be front and centre here, especially as the evacuated people continue to fall ill as the environment around them continues to become more infirmed and dangerous. A refinery with pipes and a dam all overtly signal humanity’s forced footprint on this locale with majestic mountains covered in ancient and mysterious geoglyphs rising in the background. Understandably certain locals have grown frustrated and anxious with the current state of affairs, and as Ace finds sympathetic ears in a local and headstrong teen who shares her love of explosives and in the mayor who has come to realize that the politics and story she was sold have not panned out, they find themselves up squarely against a unified corporation and governor that are willing and able to wait out and work around any short-term and long-term negative publicity coming from citizens’ health at these chosen sites that will invariably grow worse due to known toxin exposure that is being kept from public knowledge.

Colchester and Ace have, of course, crossed paths before, and Paul Clayton and Sophie Aldred share an immense chemistry even as their characters take on more overtly confrontational roles. Clayton, naturally, is suspicious of Ace’s involvement in the recent sabotage efforts, yet he does still trust her character and is forced to wonder just why she might be involved if he is right. This is a rather fascinating dynamic that comes out as something of a cat-and-mouse game with neither fully divulging what he or she knows even as bold and overt assumptions are just barely hidden in subtext. Ace, of course, knows that she is in the right even if her methods may be extreme, but she is willing to sacrifice her legacy to do the right thing, providing a bold testament to her determination and good nature. While the argument can be made that all terrorists must believe in their cause as Aldred herself points out in the interviews since Ace is certainly filling that role to an extent here, the story goes to great lengths to show what inaction will result in to these people and the environment in order to justify Ace’s continually more overt actions. That Colchester has his own motives for truly being here and for following in Ace’s footsteps as he carries out his investigations makes ‘Sabotage’ all the more effective as his presumptions about deadly waste products and warnings for the future resonate profoundly, allowing these two to come together for an explosive finale that more than pays off all of the preceding drama.

‘Sabotage’ may only very tangentially be related to Torchwood, but it’s a brilliant character piece with a powerful environmental message at its core that is not afraid to call out bad policies and politics. The script, sound design, music, direction, and supporting performances from Tom Hanson, Shaheen Khan, and Anant Varman all combine beautifully with the leads of Aldred and Clayton to deliver a deeply satisfying and resonant tale even if Colchester does perhaps shroud his true motivations and intentions too much before his eventual grand reveal.

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