Series 2 of Big Finish Torchwood has been back and forth as far as the turn of the twentieth century, but it’s somehow fitting that for the finale it’s back to the, er, present (ish?) with post-Miracle Day Gwen.
And a trip to the seaside too, following a claim that “Talmouth is dying” – suffice to say this won’t be anything like the lovely day the day she went to Bangor…
Something is in the newly-empty town, something that knows where you are and is right at the edge of your vision. But be careful – see it three times and you die, it says. Gwen don’t look, don’t you stare, is it hiding under there?
The wonderfully creepy idea at the centre of Made You Look could leap immediately from the pages of a high-concept horror movie, but writer Guy Adams sculpts it into something that is unmistakably both Big Finish and Torchwood through and through. It’s a story that benefits from headphones (noise cancelling ones if you have them!) as the focus on what can and can’t be seen lends towards a heightening of the sense of space and background sound. This is where sound designer Steve Foxon comes into his own, and even by the usually high BF standards the level of immersion provided is astounding. Blair Mowat’s musical cues are impressive without being intrusive, with some new aspects that slot into the feel of the piece seamlessly.
The voice work does not let up on the quality already evident, with Eve Myles as good as she has ever been opposite an endearing Marilyn Le Conte. But it’s Broadchurch‘s Matthew Gravelle who for me at least takes the honours with an electrifyingly menacing performance as the mysterious antagonist of the piece.
Directing proceedings as absorbingly as ever, Scott Handcock shows once again how he and Guy Adams have a deep understanding of the best aspects of Torchwood, and have clearly sunk their teeth into the possibilities offered by the concept here. There’s a tingling sense of dread underneath the thrilling storyline that is a little reminiscent of the likes of the Ringu-inspired concept films of the turn of the millennium, in particular Kairo (aka Pulse) and as the story progresses doubts start to creep in that this finale may not end happily for all involved. And boy, what an ending…
With the number of plot/arc threads introduced over the two series to date, it’s not been the intention to clear them all up here, and it may lead to complaints that there’s more left dangling than in a week-long Barrowman live stream 😉 The way the series has set up its timeline means that it doesn’t mean those elements have been ignored though, and there’s a good sense of the bigger universe that series like Supernatural build over many more years. It will be interesting to see how November’s Torchwood: Outbreak will slot in, and who knows what will be next for Jack, Gwen and the team after that.
Made You Look is a fantastically thrilling climax to a second series of BF Torchwood that has exuded quality from its first minutes. After listening, watch how you tilt your mirrors slightly to cut out that partially seen corner, or resist yourself taking that second look at a movement in a corner of your eye – that’s the sign of a powerful work. And you’ll definitely still be thinking about the ending!
Torchwood: Made You Look is available now from BigFinish.com