Torchwood Episodes

2007, TV Show

Torchwood Episode: "Random Shoes"

Season 1, Episode 9
Episode Synopsis: A man contacts Gwen for help when he wakes up to find himself dead and invisible to the rest of the world. Paul Chequer.
Original Air Date: Nov 3, 2007
Guest Cast Paul Chequer: Eugene
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 1, Episode 9
Subscription | Hulu Plus

Aired: 11/3/2007
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and VUDU
play more info

"Random Shoes" Season 1, Episode 9

Call me sappy, call me gullible, but I thought this was perhaps the best episode of Torchwood yet. It was both funny (I love the alien-fan-boy stuff about the young Eugene; the David Bowie "Starman" montage was especially good) and touching (the ending in particular). But I'm getting ahead of myself. Eugene Jones - an amateur alien collector with a wicked crush on Gwen - wakes up in the middle of a road and discovers the Torchwood team fussing over his dead body. He's been hit by a car and is most positively deceased. But he's somehow still there, and so he catches a ride in the Torchwoodmobile as an invisible passenger. Eugene recounts his life story as a series of disappointments and anticipations. It all started when he was a schoolboy, having just flubbed an interschool math competition and driven off his dad in the process. A sympathetic teacher offers to show the despondent Eugene his collection of curiosities, including a sort of glass eye that "fell out of the sky" while he was playing golf, which he gives to the boy. It becomes Eugene's prize possession; he's convinced it belongs to an alien who will return for it someday. Gwen just can't let the mystery of Eugene's death go; she feels sort of responsible for the guy and goes off to investigate what happened to him. And Eugene himself can't recall the past few days. The only clue is a series of pictures in his cell phone, of random pairs of shoes. Some overdue DVDs bring Gwen to a cocky video-store clerk, and Eugene's phone leads her to his workplace, and to his nervous-looking friend Gary in particular. As Gwen uncovers the pieces of his final days, Eugene begins to remember them as well. Eugene had learned that his long-absent dad had just moved to another part of town to work as a night clerk, and had never gone off to America on an important job, as his mother had always said. He lost faith in the grander destiny the eye seemed to promise and decided he'd pay for his pretty coworker to take a flight to Australia by selling his prized alien artifact on eBay. The winning bid was a little over 15,000 pounds - at first, Gwen learns, the bids were courtesy of Gary, who had inflated the price to try to make Eugene feel better. But then someone else stepped in with the astronomical sum, and Eugene believed the winner was his alien, come to reclaim his missing body part. But Gary - and the video-store clerk, who was the mean streak behind the operation - couldn't stand to let the joke go, so they won the auction by bidding an extra five pounds fifty. When a nervous Eugene, convinced he was about to meet his very own Starman, entered a roadside Happy Cook and discovered his quite-broke mates (it was their shoes in his phone, plus the waitress'), he couldn't quite believe the implications. But they told him the whole story, and it led to a fight over the eye. "I didn't really know what the eye was anymore," said Eugene, "but I was damned if I was going to let it go for 34 pounds and a banana milkshake." So he swallowed it. And ran out the door, with Gary and video-store guy behind him; he ran and ran until he'd lost them, until he felt more alive than he had in a long time. Only to be run down by a passing car. The mystery solved, Gwen decides to inform Eugene's dad. Earlier, when she'd been about to confront him, she seemed to hear Eugene himself telling her not to. In fact, she kept almost seeing or feeling his presence. By swallowing the eye, Eugene had been given a chance to take a look back at his life and see it for what it really was. He got to see his own funeral, including his father's return to the family, albeit 14 years late. After the funeral, Eugene manages to save Gwen from being hit by a car herself and, somehow, they can all see him, just for a moment. I guess saving her life was what he needed to do before "moving on." In his last moment on Earth, Gwen kisses him. (But that's nothing new - who hasn't she kissed?) I can't really say why this episode really worked so well for me. It's not that the concept is particularly original (revisiting the important moments of your life at the moment of death) or that the performances were so extraordinary, although I did find Eugene likable and Gwen really quite sympathetic. It was more a quality that the episode possessed, which reminded me at different times of movies like Jodie Foster's Contact and the everyman-in-space saga Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It had a compelling blend of alien, human-interest story and character development. Very enjoyable indeed. For more on Torchwood , visit our Online Video Guide. show less
Call me sappy, call me gullible, but I thought this was perhaps the best episode of Torchwood yet. It was both funny (I love the alien-fan-boy stuff about the young Eugene; the David Bowie "Starman" montage was especially good) and touching (the ending in particular). But I'm getting ahead of myself.Eugene Jones — an amateur alien collector with a wicked crush on Gwen — wakes up in the middle of a road and discovers the Torchwood team fussing over his dead body. He's been hit by a car and is most positively deceased. But he's somehow still there, and so he catches a ride in the Torchwoodmobile as an invisible passenger. Eugene recounts his life story as a series of disappointments and anticipations. It all started when he was a schoolboy, having just flubbed an interschool math competition and driven off his dad in the process. A sympathetic teacher offers to show the despondent Eugene his collection of curiosities, including a sort of glass eye that "fell out of the sky"... read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Torchwood

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: January 05, 2007, on BBC 1
Rating: TV-MA
User Rating: (240 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: A top-secret team of investigators use scavenged alien technology to solve crimes---both human and alien---in this sci-fi adventure series from the producer of 'Doctor Who.'

Cast

Shop

Torchwood: Miracle Day
Buy Torchwood: Miracle Day from Amazon.com
From BBC Home Entertainment (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $21.99 (as of 07/30/14 9:15 PM EST - more info)
Inside the Hub: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Torchwood Series One
Buy Inside the Hub: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Torchwood Series One from Amazon.com
From Telos (Paperback)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $19.92 (as of 07/30/14 9:15 PM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular