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Torchwood: Random Shoes

"I didn't really know what the eye was anymore, but I was damned if I was going to let it go for thirty-four pounds and a banana milkshake."

Episodes based around someone else with a minimum of regular cast tend to be chancey, and mostly, they don't work. I was impatient with this one early on, but it turned out to be rather touching.

I honestly didn't pick up on what was going on until near the end, when Eugene swallowed the alien eye and promptly got hit by a car. All through the episode, the alien eye was doing its job: it was looking behind Eugene at what came before, and allowing him to see it all from a different perspective. This was actually the first good alien artifact, because it allowed Eugene to achieve his heart's desire and have some closure to his brief, somewhat meaningless existence.

Eugene did more with his little look back than he'd done in his entire life. He was the center of a Torchwood investigation. Found out who his true friends were. Reunited his estranged father with his angry little brother. Made his grief-stricken mother proud. Saved Gwen from dying the same way that he had.

Gwen again really did seem to be the only one in Torchwood with a heart, the only one who cared what actually happened to Eugene. Owen was outright nasty to her. There was serious, angry tension between them. They must have broken up, and we didn't see it happen. Yay. On the breaking up part, that is. I would have enjoyed seeing it happen. I wonder if there was screaming and slapping.

Bits and pieces:

-- Eugene Jones, Torchwood groupie. How do you get to be a groupie of a secret organization?

-- Owen forced Gwen to do an autopsy. Has she had medical training we haven't heard about?

-- Most Obvious Symbolism was of course the photos of the random shoes. Gwen wanted to figure it out, but it really didn't mean anything. Much like life, huh?

-- Jack didn't die in this episode. Eugene just winked out in the end. Again, no glimpse or suggestion of an afterlife.


Gwen: "I just feel that there's something going on."
Owen: "Marvelous. Thank you for that Disney moment."

Josh the videostore guy: "See, a lot of people come in here. They don't want to be themselves any more. They want to be someone else. They want me to transport them." A bit pretentious, there.

Eugene: "Maybe I never quite lived up to my early promises of maths genius, but that's because I was waiting for the alien to collect his eye and change my life."

Guy: "It's a plastic eye."
Eugene: "It's an alien body part, and I'm going to sell it on eBay."

Jack: "It's useful, fun, slightly terrifying. That's why they were in demand."

Eugene: "I'd trust you with my life if, you know, I still had one."

Possibly a three. Maybe just a high two,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. The first time I saw this episode, I was really confused. At the beginning I actually thought Eugene was Owen (but a different actor) and actually got confused on the name (I also think this was the first episode I watched after the 2 hour pilot and it was a few weeks later).

    I caught up a bit later and I ended up really enjoyed the episode. I don't need the flashy alien effects, I just need a good story.


  2. If Love And Monsters hadn't aired a couple of months prior to this one in the UK, I might have liked it more.

    Eugene was sympathetic but not that engaging I'm afraid.

    I did like Gwen's role in the episode but everyone else was useless by comparison and that included Jack.

    Great music from David Bowie and Anthony as well I guess.

  3. A very cleverly written and unique episode. It was my favourite thus far. It's always risky to make an unknown figure the lead in a show like this but it really worked well.


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