Saturday, 31 October 2015
REVIEW - FALL TO EARTH
The second installment of the new Torchwood audio series features Ianto falling to earth on a private spaceflight called the Skypuncher. On the edge of my seat about whether or not Ianto would make it out alive here so he can be killed in Children of Earth, I had a listen. What I think? Read on!
I usually leave my criticisms for last, but this is something I should get off my chest as soon as humanly possible. A condemnation I have towards this story, or more specifically the series as a whole, is the lack of “team” in the stories. Each episode deals with just one Torchwood agent and while I can understand how this helps develop characters by forcing the spotlight on them, the fact of the matter is this series is about a “team” of agents working together. This isn’t Heroes Reborn. This is Torchwood. While I can tolerate one-agent-per-story narratives, I do hope we get some traditional style Torchwood episodes like the ones BBC Audio produced a few years ago.
With that out of the way, let’s start with the most significant change-over from The Conspiracy. Fall to Earth is a two-hander (meaning there are only two characters in the story) which works well given how the story is set up. This is another interesting thing to note: Two-handers are tricky to pull off effectively. It’s all about storytelling format because if you mess that up, the whole story falls apart. Truth be told, I wasn’t aware that this story was a two-hander until about ten minutes into it when I realized nobody else was going to show up. I generally do not like two-handers as they usually do not have a worthy format for the narrative, but I was thoroughly impressed by how this story tackled said problem and how it managed to hold my attention.
Ianto is in trouble before he receives a call asking if he wants life insurance. Yeah, I’m sure someone at that call centre was born with foresight. Not only that, but James Goss (the writer) must’ve fallen out of his chair when he came up with that one. Very interesting way to start a story.
Moving on, this episode does a great job of continuing the story started in The Conspiracy, but making sure the audience knows that this is Ianto’s story. He’s the star! And boy is he…
While I’ve never been a huge Ianto fan (he was not bad or anything, I just never found him exceptional), I admit that listening to Gareth David-Lloyd voice Ianto, whilst aware that after Big Finish’s “limbo” season, the man would die in Jack’s arms…it got to this author. It really did. I’m not made of stone people! That moment hit me like a sack of bricks. The foreshadowing in this story isn’t as in your face as the foreshadowing regarding another soon-to-be-gone character in the series.
The pace for this story is remarkably well-balanced and Gareth David-Lloyd puts in just as powerful a performance as John Barrowman which really helps sell this series as consistently first-class. In fact, Fall to Earth is perhaps more successful than The Conspiracy because the latter was really exposition heavy on account of it needing to set up the plot.
November sees the return of Eve Myles and Kai Owen in Forgotten Lives which is set after Miracle Day. Let’s hope it can keep the momentum going!