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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Daru
    August 12, 2013 @ 12:24 am

    Thanks Phil – I have to be really honest, I love this story. I actually enjoyed the contrast of hope with the bleakness of the previous episode and like the viewing of Torchwood from within the wondrous space the Eugene briefly inhabits.


  2. Col. Orange
    August 12, 2013 @ 1:36 am

    This episode expanding the options for the afterlife was a relief. Prior to this it seemed like Torchwood was telling us "When you die you go to a big, black, cold room where you can't speak to anyone and can't do anything, but are still aware of the passage of time. Oh, and something just slithered past your leg." which didn't seem optimistic enough for a series set in the same universe as Doctor Who. The fact that this episode says you go to the dark room for some reasons or get something less horrifying for others, is kinder (feck, true oblivion – no form of existence, conscious or otherwise – would be kinder).
    Maybe that was wrong for Torchwood’s theme, but it saved me from the nagging thought that “this doesn’t fit”, so I was able to enjoy the series a little more afterwards.
    (Disliked series 1 on the whole, thought it got better with each passing season.)


  3. jonathan inge
    August 12, 2013 @ 3:08 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  4. Ewa Woowa
    August 12, 2013 @ 4:14 am

    > Time is a big variable. Scoring a show as you watch, immediately after, a few days after, and few weeks after, and so on will have wildly different results.

    Sir, you have unwittingly described exaclty why I can't go anywhere near large parts of OG / GB… The number of times I'd look at the the ratings for a NuWho episode (Fear Her, anyone?) and see that 92.7% of all voters had it down as a 9 or 10 (ie, best episode, ever!) JUST LIKE THE PREVIOUS WEEKS!!!

    I just gave up going 'upstairs' on the forums in the end…


  5. peeeeeeet
    August 12, 2013 @ 6:19 am

    I can't pass up this golden opp to state that I think Paul Chequer is one of the most overlooked actors around. He's often got in to do his Michael-Caine-on-a-budget bit (as in the Sherlock episode he's on), but he can be incredibly moving and charming. And since he's the second regular from As If to get the guest star role in Torchwood S1, I may as well add that Jemima Rooper is long overdue for a meaty role in the Whoniverse.


  6. Assad K
    August 12, 2013 @ 6:25 am

    If I haven't said it before, let me say it now – I don't think i will ever, ever get behind Dr Sandifer's 'Torchwood is Quality TV' impression..
    I suppose I should see it again, but I came away from Random Shoes with an overall positive impression – I certainly found that I had enjoyed it more than 'Love and Monsters' (I'm not sure that an episode where a sympathetic supporting cast is killed off nastily and where we learn that the Doc will swan off leaving a kid alone in the house with his dead mother is optimistic, but oh well).


  7. BerserkRL
    August 12, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    I too much preferred "Random Shoes" to "Love and Monsters"; it seemed like "Love and Monsters" with the sniggering junior-high Abzorbaloff-and-paving-stone grossness removed. But I was likewise struck by the incongruity of having this follow directly from "They Keep Killing Suzie." In my own personal watching guide I insert a good-sized chunk of DW series 3 in between the two stories to lessen the problem.


  8. Adam Riggio
    August 12, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    I think one of the reasons I liked Random Shoes as much as I did was precisely because my original viewing didn't follow They Keep Killing Suzie immediately. Because I rarely marathon tv shows, and prefer to watch my catchup TV an hour per day, I sometimes go long gaps between episodes. Basically, I didn't watch most of the original broadcast past Day One, and caught up the following year in brief spurts. For various reasons, some personal and some trivial, there was almost a month between my watching Suzie and Shoes. So the contrast didn't jar me, and I don't think I really noticed it. When I thought about it, I mostly just considered the different imagery of the afterlife as serving different purposes within the story.

    I think it speaks to why I enjoyed the episode as much as I did. I could see that the production was sloppy and sometimes over-sentimental. But the thematic point of the episode is one that has always resonated with me: how someone who otherwise appears invisible and barely noteworthy actually does have an important impact on people's lives. I also see that theme as embodying a powerful thematic lesson in the contrast between Eugene and Suzie. Suzie's episode and her version of the afterlife was dark and disturbing because Suzie herself had become so villainous. Eugene's spiritual existence expressed his better life as a decent person. The imagery of the afterlife in these episodes, to me, expresses the consequences of their lives in the material world. People care about Eugene, and will be sad that he's gone. Suzie's final death brought only relief, and no one will miss her.


  9. elvwood
    August 12, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    Yup. Staying away from those areas of GB is good for the blood pressure (and the forehead, which can get quite bruised when it's banged against a wall too often).


  10. elvwood
    August 12, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

    Add me to the fans of this episode. Yeah, the ending's a bit weak and a lot sentimental; but for some reason it didn't harm the episode for me like the ending of Love & Monsters did. Wish I could tell you why.

    Watching it as part of my "keep up with the Eruditorum" marathon is the first time I've noticed the disconnect with They Keep Killing Suzie. It felt a bit odd, but again didn't affect my enjoyment.

    [But it's still worth reading your analysis – never think that the flaws not mattering to other people's enjoyment means thay are not worh looking at!]


  11. BerserkRL
    August 12, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Suzie's final death brought only relief, and no one will miss her.

    I miss Suzie!


  12. Callum Leemkuil
    August 12, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

    I really enjoy this episode, but I think it definitely has the problem, like essentially the rest of this season, of not being consistent in tone or content with the episodes around it.


  13. Mark Johnson
    August 13, 2013 @ 1:14 am

    I remember this being one of the few episodes that I really enjoyed at the time. I guess my default for Torchwood was different than what they were aiming for, but I think I liked that show better.


  14. Matthew Blanchette
    August 14, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    Um… you do know that Doctor Who is generally atheistic, right? Gods always turn out to be explainable creatures, death (in most cases) is final, etc., etc… :-S


  15. Col. Orange
    August 15, 2013 @ 12:09 am

    Yeah, and I'm happy with that. It's also largely optimistic.
    Torchwood's Dark Room is neither atheistic nor pleasant – which is why it seems out of place in that shared universe.


  16. William Silvia
    October 2, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

    Even reading your analysis, I can't see what problem there is with this episode except for the ending. The similarities to Love and Monsters are undeniable in hindsight, except that this doesn't make me want to blow out my eardrums, gouge out my eyes, and burn off my genitals to atone for watching it the way Love and Monsters does.


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