Still jonesing for your Torchwood fix? Well, Big Finish Productions just released a new side story audio play, Torchwood: Dissected.
Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) has been working for UNIT after she stopped traveling with The Doctor. It's been a while since she last worked with the Torchwood team. She's had a long day at her lab when Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) shows up unannounced and wants her to do an off-the-books autopsy on the dead body she brought in the trunk of her service vehicle.
That's a big ask, but Gwen hopes that their friendship might buy her that favour. Martha isn't so sure. Are they still friends? They were close once – working together and having each other's backs at Torchwood forges a bond in fire. But it's been a while and they drifted apart.
This is a character piece, and why I love audio drama. If it was a BBC Radio 4 play, it would just be a two-hander about two women who reunite to hash out why they drifted apart from each other. Since this is Torchwood, it's about two women talking. While a dead body is lying on a slab next to them.
Tim Foley's script keeps up the tension and dry humour as Gwen and Martha dance warily around each other, each trying to figure out how far to trust the other, trying suss the other's agenda. Their banter mixes an uneasy combination of inter-agency rivalry, passive-aggressive resentment, affection, mild paranoia, and professional cool. Each also has to test to make sure the other is not an alien imposter. These two are pros, hyper-competent and seen it all. This becomes helpful when the dead guy starts moving and making threatening noise. Then things hit the fan.
If this was an episode of the television show, it would be a bottle show where they save the budget by staying in one location. Special effects would be kept to a minimum and everything hinges on the actors' performances. Fortunately, Myles and Agyeman are both at the top of their game. The whole hour lives or dies on their chemistry as the story moves towards a major decision Martha makes about her life.
This is a fun hour of a television episode without pictures other than the one you create in your head. It's fun to hear Freema Agyeman playing Martha Jones again. Who knows when she'll do this again, since she's now gainfully employed in the U.S. on NBC's New Amsterdam. Funnily enough, she plays a doctor who's very similar to Martha Jones.
And the alien menace she fights is the worst of them all: bureaucracy.
Torchwood: Dissected is available as a CD or digital download from Big Finish.