Recap: Torchwood S1 E9 "Random Shoes"
"The speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second. Pain travels through the body at 350 feet per second. Even a sneeze can reach a hundred miles per hour. And as for life? Well... that just bloody whizzes by."
Eugene Jones is having a rough day. He wakes up in the middle of a road, gets up, and walks over to the Torchwood crew investigating nearby. He notes they seem to be ignoring him and are busy examining a body. Eugene's body, to be exact. Eugene comes to the realization that he's dead and no one can see him.
Backing up a bit, we go into Eugene's childhood, and learn how, during a maths competition, he ended up having a bad day and letting his team down. His father was furious, but one of his professors took pity on him and gave him an object that fell out of the sky near him when he himself was having a bad day at golf. The object appears to be an eye with swirly... things inside. That night, Eugene's dad leaves his family.
In the present day, Eugene has become an alien enthusiast, obsessed with learning if there are really aliens. He attempts to get Gwen's attention to show her his items. Despite being unable to get her attention, he never gave up, right up to his being run over by a car. Although Torchwood brings Eugene's body into the Hub for autopsy (Eugene's "spirit" following closely behind), they then learn that the traffic accident was routine and they leave it.
As Eugene trails Gwen, who can't shake the feeling that there was something more to his death, he finds he may be able to subtly suggest her actions. He says "phone Gary", which she does, for example. Through Eugene's mobile pictures of random shoes
, she manages to track down Gary at the place they both worked. From there, she finds another colleague of his, Linda, who explained that Eugene was going to sell the eye to give her money to go on a trip to Australia. Things got interesting when the auction bid ballooned to over £15,000.
Working from that interest in the eye, Jack tells Gwen that it could be a Dogon Sixth Eye, which there's a market in. Tracking down Gary, Gwen learns from him that he actually inflated the bid himself, at first. Then, when the bid jumped to £15,000, they knew someone else was involved. A few clues and suggestions later led to a restaurant and Eugene's friends, who sniped the 15,000 bid, admitted to the gag, and then revealed that they decided the original big bidder
, who is just a regular human, could be coerced into much more. After learning that aliens are not behind it at all, Eugene flips out, swallows the eye — which, it seems, caused his ghostliness — and runs off from his friends, which is when he gets accidentally run over.
Still, after this mundane solution to everything, Eugene is able to find peace and closure when his father attends his funeral. The eye had given him a chance to appreciate what he had. At the finale, Gwen is about to get run over by a car, which Eugene saves her from by suddenly turning solid and visible. He and Gwen are able to exchange thanks (and the episode's requisite kiss) before he passes on for good.
- Danny Freaking Boy: Sung by Eugene's estranged father at his funeral.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The big buyer is a collector of alien objects, Nazi paraphernalia...and Beanie Babies.
- Artistic License – Biology: Eugene incorrectly states that the average heart will beat two million times. The actual number is closer to 2.5 billion.
- But Now I Must Go: After a Diving Save and a Smooch of Victory.
- Collector of the Strange: The big buyer. Just a regular human.
- Doomed Protagonist: Eugene is dead, and nothing's going to change that.
- Harsher in Hindsight: We're all happy that Eugene's found peace at all, but if Suzie's claim in the last episode is anything to go by, he's not going anywhere particularly happy.
- Assuming, of course, that Suzie wasn't lying to Gwen, or that due to how Suzie died or her actions on Earth, she wasn't sent somewhere else. Eugene might actually get to go someplace nice.
- In Medias Res: We begin with Eugene dead, and are revealed in pieces how he came to be that way.
- Invisible to Normals: Although it seems Eugene can make suggestions to Gwen that she picks up on.
- You Can See Me?: Spoken verbatim at the end when he somehow becomes tangible.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: After his death, Eugene can't remember the last two weeks.
- Parental Abandonment: Eugene's father leaves the family. Eugene blames himself and his failure at a maths competition.
- Posthumous Character: Complete with Posthumous Narration.
- Real After All: The eye was really an alien artifact, and it allowed Eugene to linger after his death.
- Stalker with a Crush: Of course, stalking's easy when you're an invisible spirit, isn't it Eugene?
- Whodunnit to Me: Although this does bug Eugene for a bit, turns out the answer was simple and solved early. What's more pressing is the events that led up to his death.