And yet again, Big Finish’s version of Torchwood changes gear, focusing on one of the characters we’ve not heard from in a very long time, and producing an excellent story that fits perfectly within the canon. It’s often forgotten that Toshiko Sato was the first member of Torchwood whom we met: she featured in the very first story shot for the 2005 revival of Doctor Who (albeit the one aired fourth), even if her appearance therein had to be retconned later! I always felt that she was a little bit shortchanged by the writing on the show, and David Llewellyn’s script recognises this – and even in a very sly way comments on it at one point – and indicates just how much more she could have contributed.
Naoko Mori drops straight back into the role as if eight years haven’t passed since her departure from Torchwood, and builds a credible relationship for the Torchwood agent with her Russian counterpart, similarly well-played by Krystian Godlewski. There’s also a well-constructed role for Ella Garland (which I won’t spoil) with director Scott Handcock eliciting a sometimes heartrending performance from the leads.
Llewellyn adds to our understanding of the Space Race in the Doctor Who universe – it was certainly very interesting in their USSR, given the stories we’ve had set there in the past few years – as well as adding more layers to the story of the Committee. Again, without spoiling the revelations, I’m wondering if this is going to link more closely with one of the serialised seasons of the broadcast Torchwood than I had first thought…
Sound designer Steve Foxon has some interesting challenges thrown at him in this story, and both he and composer Blair Mowat ensure that the audio environment is always helping propel the story forwards.
Verdict: Yet another strong story for Torchwood. 9/10