Tube Strike

Posted in Audio by - March 10, 2024
Tube Strike

Released March 2024


Construction on the London Underground has disturbed a nest of Weevils, and Torchwood One must limit and contain the deadly threat in ‘Tube Strike’ by Gareth David-Lloyd.

Understandably given his affability, charm, and directness, Ianto Jones remains one of the most popular and resonant characters within the Torchwood franchise, and David-Lloyd’s incredible ability to write scripts and give voice to his own beloved character has helped to uncover and even more personal element along the way. In ‘Tube Strike,’ the London-based Ianto featured is certainly not short on confidence, but his working relationship with Tommy is still a nuanced one based upon certain assumptions and truths that neither character has openly admitted. Ianto knows that Tommy asks him along on missions like these only because Yvonne orders it as both understand that Tommy may no longer be perfectly fit to handle these situations alone, but Tommy is still bold and brash and willing to have a laugh at another’s expense even if he has silently admitted to his own age-related physical decline. There is an undoubted respect that the two share for each other, but Ianto’s desire to hear Tommy directly acknowledge him is a poignant moment that lends a wealth of layering to this forming friendship that receives a wonderful payoff in the final moments that finally gives Ianto’s famed stopwatch a fitting backstory. David-Lloyd and Timothy Bentinck have developed a great rapport during the Torchwood One stories, and it’s clear that their characters still hold an incredible potential for future stories together.

Indeed, it’s the very strong characterization across the board that elevates ‘Tube Strike’ from a simple and stylish survival horror story to something altogether more resonant. It makes full use of its claustrophobic and isolated surroundings to maximize the horror as images of trains and gruesome remains abound, and the tension that results from the truly dangerous and merciless Weevils approaching from all sides with no way of knowing if help is arriving makes for a brilliantly immersive experience perfectly suited for the audio medium. However, the inclusion of Derek Elroy’s Bill who has a long history with Tommy even as their lives have taken very different directions and of Kay Bridgeman’s surprisingly resourceful train operator Tia help to make ‘Tube Strike’ an altogether more nuanced affair. While refreshing to see that there are some people who do not take Torchwood’s cover stories at face value, Bill’s business plight is a fully relatable one, and his enduring desire to find his missing companion even as he comes to realize the true horrors down in these tunnels is a testament to his character. It can be argued that his improper recognition of his friend’s scarf does create something of an anticlimactic moment before a shockingly brutal reminder of the Weevils’ threat, but passion can blind, and his ability to create a truth that fits his desires despite Tommy’s protestations is a sterling example of the dichotomy of the pure strength and frailty of humanity and its many layers. Likewise, while there is perhaps one or two puns related to hands and arms too many, the effervescent Tia who has endured so much tragedy in her past and who continues to fight on regardless of physical harm and obvious delirium is again a strong testament to the strengths of humanity under even the most difficult circumstances. This isn’t necessarily a story that is going to rewrite the Torchwood mythology in any meaningful fashion, but it’s an incredibly confident tale that makes the most of its cast and returning enemy to start off these three consecutive releases written by and starring Gareth David-Lloyd on a truly strong note.

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