Posted in Audio by - February 28, 2022

Released February 2022


Returning to the Torchwood universe for the first time since 2017’s ‘The Dying Room,’ Lizzie Hopley turns to the unique challenges of elderly care in ‘Sonny.’ Sonny units are artificial intelligence robot carers designed to mimic the behaviour of their owners, but Torchwood has gotten wind of rumours that they may be too clever, and Rhys has sent his mother into a home to find out the truth.

Regardless of Torchwood’s methods, its very inclusion in this affair suggests the trajectory that this story will take. However, rather than portraying a robotic uprising or an alien influence through technology, ‘Sonny’ takes on a wholly more introspective tone that highlights just how easy it is to blame an external source for any problem, no matter how personal. Naturally, coming to terms with age and the inevitability of death is an issue that every elderly person must confront, and both placing a beloved family member into a care facility as well as accepting that change in lifestyle that will see familial contact and visits almost inevitably diminish are monumental decisions and changes people on both sides of the equation must think about and accept should that choice be made.

While it’s easy to take comfort in the fact that all of the daily needs of the cared-for individual will be met within such a facility, it’s just as easy to forget that care homes do not necessarily offer the personal connections that every person craves. Asking someone how he or she is doing is a common nicety, but it’s incredibly rare for two people to meaningfully discuss how they are truly doing not just in the moment but overall, and unfortunately these types of conversations all too frequently become less common and more hollow with age. As such, the incorporation of an artificial intelligence to fill the void and to be a friend of sorts is perfectly logical, and even Brenda who is so against the prospect even when furtively undertaking a Torchwood reconnaissance mission begins to see the benefits of this constant companion she can open up to, in time coming to regard Sonny as the best friend she has ever had.

The journey that Brenda undertakes as she comes to realize and confront what is missing from her own life is immense, and Nerys Hughes gives a powerful performance that is both open and assertive as she subconsciously and then overtly compares this robot that is becoming more human with her son who means well but simply cannot compete. Indeed, Rhys’s entire life is dedicated to family, and while the immense pressures and challenges of Torchwood continue to challenge that ideal, he has never given up on being the son, husband, and father he has always wanted to be. Accordingly, having that ideal challenged by such an unassuming source is almost too much for Rhys to handle, and he’s quick to cast aspersions and blame when Sonny, who is simply following his programming, is able to make such a profound impact on his mother’s life. There’s an incredible dynamic in play that Kai Owen and Steven Kynman quickly develop as Sonny takes on ever more human traits and as Rhys becomes increasingly threatened by the smallest things, and the story as a whole hits on an incredible amount of emotions and the bare essence of humanity extremely well. The plot is incredibly threadbare and purposefully doesn’t try to do anything explosive or utterly unique as it progresses through several seemingly innocuous scenes, but the fantastic character work surrounding the beloved Rhys and Brenda marks another strong instalment for Torchwood that continues to prove just how successfully it can integrate any sort of threat- perceived or real- into its fold.

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.