Review by Cavan Gilbey
Once in a blue moon, we’ll get a story with Suzie Costello. And every time this I immediately become very interested. I’ve always thought Suzie had the potential to be one of the most interesting Torchwood agents, she’s far more morally warped than your typical agent and she often revels in the brutality she uses to get what she wants. This was used to great effect in Sync and They Keep Killing Suzie, she’s a very selfish character at heart so doing an emotionally charged character piece like what we have here could go a good way to humanise her. Marcus gets that aspect down perfectly, however there is a bit of a problem with the general narrative flow.
On the lookout for the missing Torchwood Four, Suzie comes across a dilapidated spaceship at the bottom of the ocean. There’s no life signs, nobody around for miles and miles, that is until she finds Captain Anwir. He’s a human from thousands of years in the future and he wants to give Suzie the stars. How can you resist an offer like that?
The main selling point here is getting to see Suzie in a relationship drama, and given this a character who in previous Torchwood releases has mostly dealt with darker reflections of herself; such as her encounter with Margaret Blaine (nee Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer- Day Slitheen). But here she’s paired with Anwir, who is upbeat and relatively optimistic. He’s a bit of a hopeless romantic and feels initially very much at odds with the Suzie we know, but his personality is infectious and eventually Suzie finds herself willingly wanting to help him and just be around him. There’s fun dinner scene where they laugh over how terrible the future food cubes are. Its very cute stuff and does help show off Varma’s ability to play with Suzie’s playful sarcasm. The performances from Indira Varma and James Backway are the real selling points, both bring a great blend of warmth and sardonic comedy to their roles and I really wish this could have been the focus of the whole thing as opposed to about three quarters.
All good things must come to an end. Eventually it all clicks together and Suzie realises there was only one life sign on her scans, hers. The oxygen only activated when she arrived. Anwir was created specifically to lure Suzie into a trap, he’s a construct of a bigger power. It’s a really heart-breaking reveal; the writing from Marcus and the direction from Kavuma do such a good job at making this moment resonate and set up the personality of the Suzie we ultimately get to see in the TV show.
However, outside of this relationship drama there isn’t much more for you to chew on. The Anwir reveal happens about twenty minutes before the end of the story so a very hasty bit of story about growing bodies and a character called Orion. A character for whom everyone treats with this great level of threat but I genuinely don’t remember if they were ever mentioned at any point prior to these scenes. Not that they leave any impact regardless, deciding to appear in the story via the medium of Skype to pester Suzie from behind a screen. This is a shame because Danielle Kassaraté clearly can act and does a good job with material presented to her, she’s just really short changed as she ends up playing a pair of characters who ultimately have no effect on anything really.
On the whole this story is a really hard one to talk about, as are most stories that you ultimately end up thinking are slightly above average or mediocre. It has its moments with the brilliant relationship drama, but without a satisfying beginning or ending it becomes difficult to find a reason to actually get to the good stuff. I would only pick this up if you are begging for more Suzie content, which at this point is probably just me and about three people on the Torchwood audio production staff.
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