We warned them their experiment could wreck everything, but they wouldn't listen. The BBC were determined to push foward with the godforsaken experiment of putting Torchwood on the radio, in defiance of all the laws of physics and common sense. Did the universe implode? Well, no. Did we wish it would, so we could stop listening to this piffle? Kind of. We heard the special Large Hadron Collider-themed Torchwood radio episode... and lived. Maybe. Radio spoilers ahead. "Lost Souls" didn't really have to be this bad. I mean, Doctor Who has gone on the radio without becoming a crazy pantomime. (Well, the Jon Pertwee radio dramas were pretty dromedary-ish, I guess. But some of the Big Finish audios are pretty respectable.) Somehow, everybody involved in this production got the same memo, the one that said, "Nobody can see you, so you have to act REALLY BROADLY to make sure everyone gets a mental image."
So I guess at least it's good that there was a sort of theme here, which is dealing with the aftermath of Tosh and Owen's deaths at the end of season two. Does this mean everyone will have moved on at the start of the shortened season three? We can only hope. Actually, the real theme of this episode seemed to be: "Martha Jones is a busy-body." I lost count of how many scenes there were when someone is supposed to be examining a glowing extradimensional-attack victim or crawling through a scary particle tunnel, and Martha keeps bugging them to delve into their feelings. The team is trying to save the world from being eaten by evil Higgs Boson monsters, and Martha is like, "This is a perfect time to share your feelings. Come on, open up! Let it all out!" I started wanting to call her Deanna Jones.
And then of course, it turns out the Higgs Boson monsters are actually telepathic nasties who impersonate the ghosts of the dead, and they pretend to be the ghosts of Tosh, Owen and Ianto's glam-rock cyberwoman girlfriend Lisa. Somebody needs to get those extradimensional aliens an acting coach. As bad as the human actors were, the aliens were even worse. "Yooo hyooomans! So often undone by luuuvvv! Dream of it in the void, be ready to embrace the Dark Times! We're backkkk! We're hungry!!!" Hyooomans!!!! Ha ha yeah. I didn't actually understand what was supposed to be happening in this episode, honestly. There was a tunnel (even with their limitless ability to show anything on the radio, it's still a tunnel) and neutron-eating monsters, who can only consume neutrons from humans for some reason, and there's a hidden building where glowing people are being kept prisoner because a UNIT officer thinks they're angels... and meanwhile the Large Hadron Collider is EEEEEVIL!
That's really what redeemed this episode for me. I figured, with a special LHC tie-in, they would go the safe route and say, "Well, of course the LHC is wonderful and not at all dangerous, and science is good for you." But no! It turns out the LHC really is a disaster waiting to happen, and if we switch it on, it will open a portal to another universe, where the neutron eating monsters will swarm and eat all our neutrons. I loved the part where Captain Jack bursts in and says: "I'm ORDERING you to shut down the Large Hadron Collider!" and the scientist is all like, "but you're just the assistant to the Welsh Ambassador." (And that was a funny running gag, by the way.) And then we have 20 minutes of insane physics babble. Did anybody with an actual physics background listen to this audio? And did your head remain intact? I need to know exactly how ludicrous all the stuff towards the end was, especially when Jack is like, "We can reverse the polarity," and the scientist lady is like, "Look! It's an anti-proton!" And then they see the Higgs Boson and Jack says "Let's have a baby!" Actually, listening to Jack explaining the LHC earlier in the show, and making it sound really obscene, was a big plus as well. There are these particles, and they RAM together, and then there's a BIG BANG, etc. etc. I was surprised quite how much of Jack's raunchy side oozed out of the radio, what with all of the remarks about many-handed Venusians, etc. So, all in all, if you're one of the people who enjoys Torchwood for it's "so bad it's good" moments, then this is probably the crowning glory of your existence. Unlike the TV show, which occasionally did reach "actually good" status, I can't see any other reason to listen to this. You can listen to it here: [BBC, thanks RRich]