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5.2 - Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy

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Aliens Among Us - Part 1
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Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 8/12/17 6:17 pm
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In the second part of Aliens Among Us, Part 1, Gwen (Eve Myles) and Mr. Colchester (Paul Clayton) have heard rumors of a party attended by a group of aliens. However, when they arrive, they instead find an open bar and a rambunctious bachelorette party. But quickly things start going wrong; human-eating aliens terrorize the night club, and Gwen and Mr. Colchester are forced to flee with the daughter of an alien, Madrigal (Sophie Colquhoun). What started as a boozy night will end with Torchwood finding out more than they ever wanted to know about alien life. This story felt a little lacking, compared to the first story of the set, also written by James Goss. It was more of a filler episode, and as such it somewhat disappoints in the story department. The tale of a bachelorette party gone wrong isn't exactly new, but it makes for an interesting story to start, but the ending feels rather disappointing and tidy. While the story was a little lacking, the cast of the story was pretty great, with Paul Clayton continuing to shine as Mr. Colchester, and Eve Myles continuing to impress as Gwen Cooper. Newcomer Sophie Colquhoun was fun as the drunken bride-to-be Madrigal, and had some emotional scenes towards the end of the story.

Eve Myles and Paul Clayton star as Gwen Cooper, deputy head of Torchwood, and Mr. Colchester, a civil servant helping Torchwood out. Myles got to let loose a little bit in this story, playing both a drunken Gwen and also an angry, leading star Gwen, without Jack around. Her performance ranges from the flirty and drunk to the horrified throughout the course of the story, but throughout it all, she's extremely enjoyable. I felt a little let down after her excellent performance in the previous story, but she still managed to shine here. But taking the cake here is Clayton as Mr. Colchester. He was one of the best parts of the cast for the previous story, and his sardonic, dry wit recalls the likes of Trevor Baxter's Professor George Litefoot, and Miles Richardson's Braxiatel in some ways. He shines here in his comedic role, but it's the ending of the story, where he ends up killing the aliens, where he begins to show his true colors. It's a strong scene and one of the best moments from the story, as Gwen is horrified by his actions.

James Goss, pulling triple duty, writing the opening two stories and producing the range, delivered a bit of a lackluster script for this story, especially compared to the previous one. It was a bit of a rompy tale, and it was generally fun, but it felt like the last half of the story was padded out in such a way that it left me with a rather bored impression of the story as a whole. The tale of a bachelorette party gone wrong isn't exactly a new tale; I believe there's even a movie out in theaters as I type that deals with that very topic. But it's one that, to my knowledge, hasn't been done at Big Finish yet, and Goss handles the funny parts of it well. He's at his best when he's writing the boozy Madrigal and Gwen, or when he's showing the dark humour of one of the aliens eating the stripper. But while the story is certainly a fun one to start, it hits at an emotional note about halfway through, as it's revealed that Madrigal doesn't want to marry her husband to be, as she's being forced into it by her mother as part of a political marriage. That's an interesting line of writing, that's ruined by the fact that Goss felt the need to pad out the following 20 minutes with a way to get to the destination. While the ending scene was brilliant, I couldn't help but feel rather disappointed by the shameless padding midway through the story.

Steve Foxon provided the sound design for these releases. Foxon has a number of sound designing credits under his belt, including many from Torchwood. His work is always very excellent, putting you right in the middle of the scene with very little trouble. His work here is no exception, as he crafts a very visual soundscape, making it seem effortless. I particularly liked the sound design he did for the supermarket, with the bustle of a late night store, and the paging system heard overhead, and I also found the sound effects used for when the aliens ate the stripper to be excellent. Foxon is one of the better sound designers Big Finish employs in their stable of excellent sound designers, and I hope he continues to do excellent work.

Overall, Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy was an enjoyable rompy story that started out strong, but stumbled a bit in the latter half of the story. The cast was strong and enjoyable, with Paul Clayton continuing to shine as Mr. Colchester, but also getting to show his range beyond the comedic with a dark turn in the story. Eve Myles also delights as Gwen Cooper, though her performance feels a little lacking at times. The story by James Goss was an enjoyable one, and started out with a rather strong story of a bride-to-be in an arranged marriage. However, the latter half felt extremely padded out, to account for the fact that Goss seemed to lack about 20 minutes of his script. But overall, it was an enjoyable enough story, even as it stumbled towards the end.