Torchwood: Aliens Among Us Part 3 review

With its third four-disc boxset, series 5 of Torchwood comes to a end, even if not every storyline gets a conclusion. If nothing else, there is plenty that could (should?) happen, and a follow-on series would be most welcome. Meanwhile, back in Cardiff, a surprise visitor has upset several apple-carts at Torchwood. Welcome back Yvonne Hartman!

There’s lots to cover, so forgive me if I go to fast…

Four great stories

Tim Foley gets to explain just how Yvonne Hartman can be alive in Poker Face. It’s a reasonable idea, and the inevitable fan thought of What about Ianto? gets covered in passing, in a way that implies we won’t get him back in these series without some substantial shenanigans. Meanwhile, Cardiff is now firmly under Ro-Jedda’s alien control, for good or for bad. As events unfold we find Captain Jack is responsible for much of what is happening, but playing his cards too close to his chest.

It’s a satisfying tale, and keeps the pace going well as we piece new information into existing puzzles. We have some answers, but more questions.

Joe Lidster is next up with Tagged, a story with a simple premise – an Internet meme linked to a wave of vigilante behaviour and Gwen Cooper at the heart trying to solve it before her own secrets are exposed. Yvonne draws on Orr’s talents in a psycho-drama (if that’s a real thing!) with a lot to recommend. The in-story mystery is solved but only by putting the mysterious Ng under the spotlight.

Stakes are rising and it isn’t clear just where this richly textured series is heading.

A change of pace for Helen Goldwyn’s first writing credit for Torchwood in Panic Room. It’s a night out for Gwen, Rhys, Mr Colchester (Paul Clayton) and his partner Colin (Ramon Tikaram). Before the evening is out, relationships will be strained and everyone will learn just how far trust can be extended. It’s also the last time they except a recommendation for R&R from Yvonne Hartman.

Of all the stories, it’s the one that could most readily have been plugged into an earlier set, as it focusses on character instead of the series arc. That’s not to say it’s anything other than superb!

Producer James Goss gets to pull everything to a conclusion in Herald of the Dawn and it’s very much a pause rather than a resolution. We do get the end (or at least exposure of) the Ng storyline as events wiht the Rift may make the story so far irrelevant if the latest threat can’t be held back. It’s not just a MacGuffin, but it has implications going forward for Cardiff and its alien rulers. On a more immediate level, Gwen Cooper has had enough, and the ever busy Eve Myles seems to be walking away from Torchwood, for now. Time will tell how that pans out!

All the main characters are tested and if not changed by events, then at least they’ve all had something to think about. Most of the pieces survive, and the future of Cardiff needs everyone on hand. It’s all rather epic and very, very enjoyable.

Overall

It’s a good set of stories, enough happens to satisfy but plenty more is unanswered. Where did Ng come from, what are the Sorvix running from, what is Jack up to and why has his mood gotten so grim? Mr Colchester is a great character as is Orr, even if underused in the latter boxsets. One thing’s for certain, it’s pure Torchwood! Will Yvonne Hartman be in the next series? Let’s hope so!

 

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