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Visiting Hours by David Llewellyn
This story feels very pointless. I really like Rhys as a character, he's loads of fun, and it would be great to explore his character more, but this story just feels like a big load of nothing. Rhys visits his mum in hospital, and stays with her outside of visiting hours, and finds something suspicious going on. A decent concept, and I hoped we'd get a nice Rhys character exploration, but this really amounts to nothing more than running around and hiding for 35 minutes, while Rhys and his mum banter, which, to be fair, is pretty good. But overall, I don't understand why this story exists, nothing interesting really happens and we don't get much insight into Rhys that we didn't already have, bleh.
The Dollhouse by Juno Dawson
Not really a fan of this one. The Dollhouse is an unusual story, focusing on the three women of Torchwood Los Angeles in the 1970s as they investigate missing actresses. It's a Charlie's Angels-esque affair which is a fun idea but I found myself rolling my eyes throughout. The three characters feel like pure caricatures and are barely enjoyable, the performances aren't great either, for most of the characters really. The plot is decent as a vehicle for silly hijinks but I wasn't a fan of this story, I feel like it could have been much better. It's a bit better than Visiting Hours I think, just for being ambitious, giving a bit of Torchwood world-building, and for being an interesting experiment.
Corpse Day by James Goss
Corpse Day features the first Big Finish appearance of Burn Gorman as Owen, who reprises his role wonderfully. In Corpse Day Owen teams up with PC Andy for Corpse Day, a day where Torchwood help the police with dead cases. This story takes place during the 'dead Owen' part of series 2 of the show, where Owen died and is half alive and half dead. He's not having such a great time. Andy plays off of him wonderfully and the story opens with a great and humorous back and forth as they talk about Torchwood and the case. Once the real plot begins, though, things get dark. Very dark. This is the most horrific piece of media I think I've ever experienced honestly, it's truly disgusting. The soundscape and performances contribute to make this horror incredibly effective, and despite feeling that this could go overboard, I think it does successfully toe the line, and makes this into a nuanced story about the meaning and value of life, and about the depths people can go to to get what they want. It never gets too grim thanks to the Torchwood boys cracking some jokes along the way.
This is not for the faint of heart though, seriously, this is disturbing stuff.
torchwood_cascade_CDRIP.tor by Scott Handcock
torchwood_cascade_CDRIP.tor (Cascade) is a very experimental audio with a wonderful concept. This time, it's piracy. The soundscape here is marvelous, the audio glitches constantly and slides forwards and backwards in time, it's an absolute delight to listen to. The character of Stephen is a lot of fun and works really well with Tosh, it's great to explore her character more (she was always the least developed on the show).
The plot of Cascade isn't particularly complex, but it doesn't need to be. The experimental nature of the story and the relationship between Tosh and Stephen is the focus, and the plot fits really well to allow these to shine.
The Office of Never Was by James Goss
The Office of Never Was is a bit of an odd audio. At first it tries to be a sort of haunted house-esque thing, with doors closing and voices calling Ianto's name, but in my opinion it completely and utterly fails in this regard. It's not scary or creepy at all after the first 5 or so minutes. The atmosphere is almost non-existent, and the psychological aspects are not explored with any depth. The later parts of the story are a bit more interesting, focusing more on the consequences of Torchwood's work, but even then I felt that it was pretty lazily done. I liked aspects of the story, the reveal of why Ianto's name kept being said was particularly well done. Gareth is brilliant as Ianto as always, and another guest performance is particularly fantastic too. Overall this was a mediocre story with great performances but a weak atmosphere (something that Big Finish are normally great at!).
The Dying Room by Lizzie Hopley
I was very pleasantly surprised by this one, I liked it a lot! The Dying Room is another experimental audio, featuring some more completely original characters: Monsieur Le Duc, Herr Grau and Madame Berber. They're great characters, performed wonderfully, and I liked the story as well. Le Duc is being interrogated by Nazi officer Grau about Madame Berber and her connections to Torchwood, but Le Duc insists that he's just visiting Paris with his son. The audio jumps backwards and forwards through flashbacks and it's honestly such a fascinating era to do a Torchwood story in, I loved it, and there's some really cool moments. This is definitely a weird audio, but a cool experiment!
Series 3 is a very mixed bag. There's a lot of experimentation here with some unique settings and story formats the series ends up with about half of the stories being bad and half being great. I am very excited for series 4 though,