Written by James Goss and released in August 2017, Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy is the second episode of the first box set of Torchwood: Aliens Among Us, also known as Torchwood, Series 5. What’s this story about? Well… Torchwood goes on a hen night. Why James, why?
This story people. Where do I begin? To sum it up nicely, if I could avoid reviewing this story I would, but unfortunately so much exposition regarding the alien threat that’s invaded Cardiff gets dropped in this episode which means avoiding it would be missing out on vital information. Good thing these stories come in box sets eh?
So while episode one featured Tyler Steele heavily, Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy instead chooses to explore the other new member of Torchwood, the cynical Mr Colchester. Really, Paul Clayton’s performance as Colchester is the only thing about Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy that I actually enjoyed. Mr Colchester really is one of the best characters Torchwood has produced. His wit, his cynicism and his snark have all been highlights and this carries over the other stories in the box set as well.
Colchester and Gwen embark on a wild ride with the most annoying, most bitchy guest character in Torchwood’s history. To put this into perspective, Madrigal is like Angie Maitland.
There! That’s the comparison.
That should be all you need to know. Even the folks who love Nightmare in Siler agree the story is spoiled by those bratty children. However, unlike the Maitlands who are only in Nightmare in Silver for about a quarter of it, Sophie Colquhoun’s character is present for the entire freaking episode. The plot tries to give her some development and explore her background a bit, but I just couldn’t give a shock. If I had to describe this plot in one sentence it would be: The whiniest girl in the world spends the entire night throwing the biggest temper tantrum,
The character alone spoils most of what happens, but then again that’s not saying much. The plot, the little there is of it plays out like a cheap rip-off of Bad Mom. Not that I know why you’d want to emulate anything in that movie but here we go.
Gwen for the most part is quite insufferable here. Colchester comes across as unnecessarily insensitive and maybe even racist, but his solutions with the benefit of hindsight paint him in the right in a logical sense and Gwen in the wrong but the script will go out of its way to flip the two. Thankfully it’s not a complete loss. The last five minutes of the story drop a huge bomb about Gwen Cooper and this revelation alone almost makes the sixty minutes preceding it worth it. It’ll be interesting to see where the series takes Gwen after this plot twist but let’s hope this is the last whatever this was that Big Finish tries because it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t entertaining and it sure as hell wasn’t needed.