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Review of Lease of Life by PalindromeRose

23 May 2024

Torchwood – The Monthly Adventures

#048. Lease of Life ~ 10/10

◆ An Introduction

I’m currently still living with my parents in a decent sized council house, but the guttering constantly gets blocked, which means there’s a mould problem on the ceiling in my room. It’s not horrendous, but it would be nice if the council got their finger out and actually fixed the gutters!

I have a strong suspicion that this episode will make me have sleepless nights, worrying that the tiny patch of mould on my ceiling is extra-terrestrial and somewhat carnivorous…

◆ Publisher’s Summary

3 bed, 1 bath, shared house in a vibrant area with easy access to Cardiff city centre. Has a real lived-in feel.

Note to interested parties: There is a small spreading mould issue, and an investigation is being undertaken on site. Those worried are advised to contact the Council's Mould Expert, Dr Owen Harper.

◆ Owen Harper

Aaron Lamont makes his Torchwood debut, with a story that entirely takes place in a grotty house-share. An alien mould is threatening to decompose everything it touches, including human beings, yet Owen manages to keep his cool for quite some time. He is dead set on containing the threat, trying to keep himself alive, and trying to save the three terrified students caught up in this disaster. I desperately hope Lamont gets to write for Owen again, because he has done a marvellous job here.

Burn Gorman seems incapable of delivering a bad performance on audio, and that’s not about to change here. You can hear the desperation in his voice as the situation becomes more and more dire. People start dying in horrific ways, and all Owen can do is try to survive. Brilliant performance.

Owen is a little bit higher up than environmental health. Why is it that when you say the word “alien”, the first thing people think is invasion?

◆ State of Decay

Homes Under the Hammer is the definition of comfort television. A nice cup of coffee, put my feet on the bean bag in the sitting room, and just watch as some really talented people turn ruined shells into beautiful homes. I would love to see someone from that show trying to renovate the house in this episode… providing they don’t rapidly decompose!

Lamont took the concept of household mould and turned it into the stuff of nightmares. I like to think that I’ve got a pretty strong stomach, but even I felt a little queasy throughout this episode. One of the characters becomes infected by the mould and it literally begins rotting him away; his gums start bleeding, his teeth and hair start falling out, and his eyes rapidly decay in their sockets. This was a genuinely nauseating listen, but that’s because the body horror is so well executed. I had goosebumps throughout.

◆ Sound Design

Welcome to the house-share from hell, where everything is covered in bubbling mould that causes anything to rapidly decompose, including human beings!

The sound design for this release is unsettling and downright putrid at times. It paints a really vivid picture of these university students living in squalor. I would say they should contact their landlord, but the mould got to him first.

◆ Conclusion

Oh, I guess we’re not getting our deposit back then?”

Three university students get more than they bargained for when Owen comes to investigate their house-share. Surrounded by an extra-terrestrial mould that causes anything it touches to rapidly decay, they need to stop it spreading to the outside world.

‘Lease of Life’ is perhaps the most nauseating story in the Torchwood catalogue thanks to its excellent use of body horror. The mould literally turns a character into a bubbling mass of rotted remains, in a scene that made me dry-heave.

Unsurprisingly, Burn Gorman delivers yet another phenomenal performance as everyone’s favourite narcissistic medic. The guest cast for this episode were pretty good too. Special mention goes to Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo – who you might recognise from their amazing performance as the Scaramancer, from the ‘Hearts of Darkness’ box set – who does a fantastic job playing Seren in this episode.

Aaron Lamont has certainly made an impact with his Torchwood debut, ensuring I wont be able to sleep tonight for fear of being decayed by the small patch of mould on my ceiling. Again, I really wish the council would pull their finger out and sort the damn guttering!

Review created on 23-05-24