The Apocalypse Starts at 6PM

Posted in Audio by - August 03, 2023
The Apocalypse Starts at 6PM

Released July 2023


Torchwood has publicly announced on the benign television programme Janet’s Late Teatime that the world will end on tomorrow night’s episode, and host Janet as well as the world must decide what truths they believe and how to react in the Among Us finale, ‘The Apocalypse Starts at 6PM’ by James Goss.

Firstly, the casting of famed children’s presenter Janet Ellis from the likes of Jigsaw and Blue Peter is a masterstroke, allowing a familiar, kind, and ultimately trustworthy voice to guide this narrative as assured destruction supposedly approaches. What follows is a true outsider’s perspective on the goings-on of Torchwood in the most extreme of circumstances, and Ellis wonderfully conveys a myriad of emotions as Janet is slowly driven mad by the deluge of attention Torchwood and its ominous warning has brought to her. Suddenly flung squarely into the world of conspiracy theories with each and every one of her words and actions being given some unintended meaning by eager onlookers who are keen to believe and disparage in equal measure, Janet finds herself threatened in order to make sure that Torchwood does not appear on her next show and also asked repeatedly to assure the public that Torchwood will, indeed, be present.

Given that Torchwood as an organization was wholly unknown before its message, its sudden ubiquity in society as the population in general turns against mobile devices and technology is shocking and speaks to just how quickly people latch onto ideas and sentiments even as the history and even existence of such an organization remain wholly shrouded in mystery. The unfortunate side effect to the primary focus being on Janet, however, is that the Torchwood team as a cohesive team hardly gets an opportunity to focus, a great strength of the previous story after its members were separated for so long. Each of the team’s appearances in suitably strong with highlights being Ng following Janet on the job, Tyler stating the negative effects of Torchwood on himself but still proving his dedication to its cause, and Yvonne taking a rather more direct approach to discussing Torchwood before eventually revealing all on Janet’s show, but much of the actual action from Torchwood is done offscreen with only brief vocal clips during the conclusion hinting at the cohesive nature of their work to break the Internet and foil Friend’s ultimate plan.

Torchwood has never been the most clandestine of organizations despite remaining shrouded from public knowledge, but the much more overt and public actions taken here are quite satisfying to see even if the franchise as a whole refuses to make the public revelations permanent with all information and mentions about Torchwood being scrubbed from the record by story’s end. Strangely, though, it’s the incorporation of Friend much more overtly through a seemingly innocent visage that more significantly holds the story back. There’s something to be said about the fear of blackmail that Friend proves more than willing to employ as well as the unconditional love between mother and child, but there’s simply nothing believable about the vocal mannerisms, domineering attitude, and lack of emotions to present any sort of verisimilitude for others to react to in any meaningful capacity. This, of course, is part and parcel for Friend who has so wholly turned against humanity, but the use of its chosen façade is ultimately more of a detraction than a benefit for the plot, and the ominous promise at the end that Friend’s mission is just beginning doesn’t quite carry with the same weight as it did following the preceding tale.

‘The Apocalypse Starts at 6PM,’ then, is an odd conclusion to an Among Us saga that has been filled with several incredibly strong stories about individuals but that rarely highlighted the strength of Torchwood as a whole. Given the highs of ‘Heistland’ that managed to show Torchwood at its best, this story seems like something of an unnecessary coda that draws the focus away from Torchwood’s and its individuals’ strengths and never quite manages to bring forth the same sense of tension despite the growing public unrest. While it is fitting that Yvonne should highlight the stupidity of humanity while she strives to save her race in contrast to the Doctor who emphasizes the strengths and potential, the ultimate resolution following so much occurring off-screen is a bit too quick and convenient. The notion of an outsider having to traverse the perils of Torchwood is a strong one to explore, but doing so in the series finale proves to be something of a misstep despite the incredibly charming and charismatic performance from Janet Ellis.

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.