The second series of Big Finish’s top-notch Torchwood series concludes with Made You Look, an episode that definitely leaves you wanting more with Gwen Cooper in the creepiest seaside resort ever.
There’s something particularly cold, empty and desolate about an out-of-season seaside resort. As Gwen Cooper arrives in Talmouth – a town that is either dead or dying – you feel the chilling emptiness as soon as she steps off the train. And that’s before The Voice announces its killing presence.
The Voice (credited here as The Darkness) is a malign unseen presence that taunts Gwen right from the start. There’s something in the corner of your eye? A thing just glimpsed? To catch that thing once is bad, but three times means your death. And The Voice has seen off a whole town – bar one person – in just three days.
This is less of a whodunnit and more Escape From Talmouth as an increasingly desperate Gwen and B&B owner Mrs Rhodes try to flee the town and the taunting malevolence of The Voice in a landscape that’s akin to the very worst kind of acid trip. The jarring soundscape by Steve Foxon is a suitably sinister and disturbing underscore for the action here; probably the best we’ve heard in any BF Torchwood to date. Talking of sound, Matthew Gravelle (Broadchurch’s Joe Miller) as The Voice is wonderfully nasty as he stalks Gwen and Mrs Rhodes; his/its hunger for their deaths – for any death – palpable.
There’s a pattern that’s emerged with Big Finish’s Torchwood series, where a key character from the Cardiff Hub teams up with a local/call centre operator/Queen Victoria to solve the Big Bad of the Month. While this may sound formulaic, the resulting stories have been varied and interesting.
If I have one small gripe about Made You Look, it’s that, like Forgotten Lives – Gwen Cooper’s first outing in BF Torchwood series one – it’s flabby in the middle. The Big Finish body of work for Torchwood has been of such high quality that it makes me sad for Gwen that she hasn’t had that really brilliant story. This is most definitely an interesting one, though, especially the ending.
Gwen Cooper is one of sci-fi’s kick-ass female leads and Marylin Le Conte’s Mrs Rhodes is no less of a fighter than our copper-turned-alien-hunter. Made You Look doesn’t have a climactic ending, but one that makes you sit up and say “Wait…what? WHAT?” It’s not a bad ending, it’s just not completely satisfying.
We can only hope that series 3 is hot on the heels of this one. And that Gwen is back with that one brilliant story.
Blogtor rating 7/10
“It stalks you. It whispers. It wants you to turn around. It wants you to look. But if you do… If you see it…”
Talmouth is a lonely seaside town. No-one has heard from it for days. No-one who goes in comes out. Something has happened to Talmouth. Has it been taken over by aliens? Or is it something far, far worse?
Gwen Cooper’s come to Talmouth to find out. What’s happened has to be seen to be believed. But by the time you’ve seen it, you’re already dead.
Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners
Written By: Guy Adams
Directed By: Scott Handcock
Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Matthew Gravelle (Darkness), Marilyn Le Conte (Mrs Rhodes), Ross Ford (James)
Produced by James Goss
Script edited by Steve Tribe