Episode: Random Shoes (Series 1 Episode 9)
Written By: Jacquetta May
Original Air Date: 10 December 20061
Sentence Sum-Up: Gwen can't resist the urge to investigate when Torchwood groupie Eugene Jones dies.
Notable New Characters:
Eugene Jones (Paul Chequer): Torchwood groupie and alien artifact collector who dies in a hit and run accident. He sticks around, as a ghost, to help Gwen investigate his untimely end. He has a alien eye that turns out to actually be an alien eye. He's in love with Gwen who never payed him attention while he was alive. Adorable despite his quirks.
Gary (Celyn Jones): Eugene's best friend. Worst person ever. He pretty much caused Eugene's death and screwed him over. But we're supposed to forgive him because he's sad about it.
Eugene: [narrating] The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits, of great love and small disasters. It's made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation, and random shoes. It's dead ordinary and truly truly amazing. What you've got to realize is it's all here now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole because take it from me, life just whizzes by.
When they leave the accident site and return to the Hub Tosh says "Couldn't even cross the road without messing it up." Not only do I not recall that line I am starting to realize that in the early episodes, in addition to being quiet, Tosh is selectively catty. That was just mean and uncalled for. Was that necessary? Even if he was annoying and followed them around she had to reminisce about the dead and emphasize he was a failure? I'm not loving this side of Tosh.
I never noticed how often we see the Torchwood screen saver. But I have in these last few episodes. I sort of love it.
Eugene can't touch anything but he can sit in the SUV. I know that the idea withe ghosts in general is they can get around but they can't effect things. But it never made sense to me why they can touch the ground of sit in a seat. I was always more pleased with ghosts that float slightly. I don't know. I realize that I'm just supposed to accept it, but I don't want to!
When Gwen and Owen are having a tiff he says she should just do Eugene's autopsy herself. And he start to go over it, like he is actually going to talk her through it. And she picks up the scalpel and goes for him. I know that he's dead and she can't kill him, but I also don't think she's qualified for this. ANd really an autopsy? There was nothing suspicious about how Eugene died I'm not even sure why she's compelled to investigate what led up to it. I guess it's Eugene lingering, making her want to. But really Gwen is being unreasonable. Even if she lucks into a find.
How many people does Gwen kiss? Other than Rhys her boyfriend! I feel like she's kissed everyone! And slept with Owen as well. What for? What is wrong with her? Loose lips is officially getting on my nerves. I adore Rhys. Whatever, Eugene get's a kiss, she's handing them out!
The food in this episode. Let me tell you, every time I watch, or even think about watching I get cravings! Now I really want 2 eggs ham and chips. And then I want a banana milkshake. I cannot tell you how hard it is to get a banana milkshake in the US! I usually have to make them myself. Every time I watch. Now I'm hungry. I wonder if John likes banana milkshakes, we know he's fond of bananas. Mind out of the gutter people, he likes fruit is all I'm saying!
Ianto. There needs to be more Ianto. There are certainly episodes in the first series where he is lacking bit for some reason this one always stands out. I always spend the whole time thinking, I wish Ianto was in this scene. I know it's not a particularly team heavy episode in general but, worth mentioning. I miss Ianto.
Last night watching with the @BarrowmanDayy twitter followers I noticed a trend. Most fans do not like this episode. They don't think it feels like Torchwood and some went so far as to say it was their least favorite episode ever. I had to think about this. Going in I was feeling positive, I generally count it amongst the episodes I quite like because I did like Eugene. And so I watched it again and I listened to all the complaints and I think I've sussed out the issue.
It goes without saying that this is a particularly team light episode. Most of the story is told from Eugene and Gwen helps him along. I think it's a great idea that didn't quite come together as hoped. If I had to guess I am going to assume they were trying to duplicate the success of episodes of Doctor Who where we get a story having very little to do with the Doctor and we hardly see him. The obvious example (and it's not the only one) is Blink. Now blink is a brilliant episode and considered by many fans casual and dedicated to be their favorite. So what worked so well with Blink that was missing in Random Shoes?
I think it was the villain honestly. There really wasn't one was there? There was a mystery and a interesting character telling a story but there was no overarching intensity making us forget that we haven't seen the characters we're accustomed to. I think the weeping angels could have made us forget that Jack was missing (if only for a while). It felt a bit like a filler episode with a specific purpose. They wanted to focus on Gwen and they wanted to do it in a way where there was no real danger so it made sense she was on her own. They wanted to prove that she was capable of doing something right, but I'm not sure they even did that. While she solved the case it was more out of luck and help from Eugene. I think this could have been a great episode but just ended up OK because still green not really threatened Gwen Cooper isn't enough to hold our attention. At least not yet.
MVC (Most Valuable Character)/MVA (Most Valuable Actor):
Don't really need separate sections today. It's Eugene Jones and Paul Chequer. He really is the main character of the episode. He carries it and he manages to make us care about him in a very short time. Despite my outlined issues overall the one thing they got quite right was Eugene. He was heartbreakingly adorable and I didn't even begrudge him being in love with Gwen. He was interesting and sad and quirky and Paul acted that beautifully. He's really the hero of this episode and the best thing about it, hands down. Well there was also that shirt Jack was wearing...but no Eugene was good.
I thought this episode would grade higher going in. I remembered it fondly but I think now I am being a more critical viewer. It's a little sad that my fan goggles aren't on blinding me to weak episodes. This was a weak episode. It's not bad, it just doesn't measure up. I'll give it a B- it was slightly below par. But I liked Eugene. I was sad to see him go.
Tomorrow's Episode: Out of Time (Series 1, Episode 10). Remember, I'll be live tweeting my re-watch on the @BarrowmanDay twitter at 12:00am PST (US - West coast) and 8:00am GMT (UK). Hope you all can watch with me and chat.
That's it for today! Hope you enjoyed my run down. What did you all think of this episode? Did you notice anything new? What grade would you give it? xx
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