Written by James Goss and released in August 2017, Changes Everything is the first episode of the first box set of Torchwood: Aliens Among Us, also known as Torchwood, Series 5. You know, because the television series would rather do Class rather than a fan favourite people have been vying for for years. Well people, once again Big Finish answers the call.
Just a quick note, while I’ll not to give away any major spoilers, I will assume you’ve already seen Torchwood: Miracle Day. Okay, here goes.
Changes Everything acts as a sort of reboot to the series. It has a lot to do. It needs to re-introduce Torchwood’s founding members Gwen and Jack, introduce us to the new Torchwood team, give us a good opening story and set up the new arc for the series. Right off the bat, the series gives us our anti-Gwen Cooper in one Tyler Steel, a sleazy reporter who has come to Cardiff to turn his life around after a career of digging up other celebrities’ dirt. Tyler is the opposite of Gwen. She is determined, just, willing to put others first, Tyler is the opposite of that, but the script knows better than to paint him as completely unlikable. In fact, I quite enjoyed his character. He’s basically the sceptical, only sane man who finds himself biting off more than he can chew.
Joining Tyler is Mr Colchester, Torchwood’s new Ianto and an old civil servant who comes across as the cynic, crotchety old soldier who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, no matter how blunt or insulting. Of all the new faces, Mr Colchester is not only the most fun to listen to, but the funniest character for his deadpan snarkiness.
So where does the events of Miracle Day and Children of Earth leave Torchwood? Well, this series establishes that Torchwood is all but forgotten by the public. They don’t have any funds, they’re literally trying to rebuild from the ground up. It’s an interesting direction to take the show and it makes it easier for the main threat of the series to look more… well threatening. Cardiff has been invaded while Torchwood’s been gone and the aliens are in charge now. Hate crimes, refuge killings, these are some of the stuff that’s been going on, but the real mystery is just how far and how deep these alien invaders’ reach goes. A lot of the first episode is set up. It’s more about getting the band back together again and building this new world that Torchwood is a part of. In that respect, Changes Everything succeeds admirably.
Eve Myles and John Barrowman slip into their roles easily which shouldn’t be surprising as they’ve been playing Gwen and Jack on and off for other Big Finish titles, but pairing them up with a new team just boosts everything across the board.
There’s one particular character in this story I absolutely hated. Don’t ask me to remember her name or the actress who plays her it’s really not important enough. She’s not in the episode all that much but the scenes she is has a lot of dialogue that just feels forced. I’m not sure if it’s the actress struggling with the material or if it’s just the material that could be better. Overall, it’s not a major nitpick and the rest of the story accomplishes everything it sets out to do to the best of its capabilities.