Season 1 Episode 9

Random Shoes

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 10, 2006 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
392 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Eugene Jones wakes up, finding himself lying on the middle of a road. He then discovers that he has been the victim of a hit-and-run incident, and is, now, not only dead, but invisible. Eugene recalls events leading up to his death, involving a mysterious alien eye. Simultaneously, Gwen investigates the suspicious circumstances around his fatality.moreless

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  • In this epi, we see Eugene, an avid Torchwood follower receive the rare and unintended invite to see the inner workings of an actual Torchwood case. We see events from his perspective and benefit from a joyful narration throughout.moreless

    This episode is a lot like Doctor Who - Love and Monsters. Even the cheery naivete of the main character recalls Elton of L&M. That said, I loved Love & Monsters and I thought that this, if anything, was a great homage to that epi. Following the character of Eugene following Gwen and the investigation of his death was fascinating, giving viewers a first-person view into not just the world of Torchwood but also that of an average alien enthusiast living in Cardiff, Wales. What is also interesting is that the episode reveals the depth of Gwen's sensitivity, not just emotional and intuitive but even a quiet, confident psychic ability- and one which she doesn't share with the others but keeps to herself, in dogged pursuit of the truth in the mystery. The adoration Eugene feels for Gwen is cute. And Gwen really shines as a caretaker/investigative cop.moreless
  • Cute third person POV story.

    It's not that strange that Torchwood would have groupies, they're not a secret anymore and they show up at every weird crime scene. Eugene finally gets inside Torchwood but he had to be dead to do it. The eye really was an alien eye and allowed him to remain behind after his death. For a boy looking for aliens, that's actually pretty cool.

    It was sweet of Gwen to go look for the truth, recreating his life to the time of his death. It wasn't really a Torchwood case but it was sort of in an indirect way.

    Eugene is adorable and liked the third person POV and voiceover.moreless
  • Eugene Jones becomes alive after death

    This episode literally brought me to tears, and that's not an easy thing to do.

    I don't really like how they just sprung this character at us, like, bam, he's always been there, in the corner of your eye. But then again, that could be the point. He's there but not important enough to show. The shoes thing bothered me too. Sure there actually were random shoes, but they weren't all that important.

    The entire storyline caught my attention and held it. I liked the way Eugene narrated, and I liked the way he saw things. His intense attachment to Gwen was heartrending, especially the window scene in her room. It was almost like the rest of the team took a backseat. This in part reminded me of 'Storyteller' from Buffy, but was in itself so good. I cried when he described how alive he felt in the field, and then got hit by the car. And I cried when his father sang Danny Boy. The only other part that irked me was Gwen as he was ascending to heaven. She was too fake, and the whole scene was a wee bit melodramatic for my taste. But all in all, superb.moreless
  • Melinda where are thou?


    This episode was about Eugene, a young man who died after a hit-and-run. Not known yet is the fact that his ghost is still around because of an alien artifact (an eye) that had been in his possession for 15 years. Even though the Torchwood team is at first not interested in his death, Gwen still starts investigating and finds out about the eye and the circumstances of his death. At the end of the episode, at his funeral, Eugene is able to materialize for a few seconds and save Gwen before she gets hit by a car. He then disappears.


    This episode reminded me of "Ghost Whisperer" all the way until its end. We had a person who died a violent and sudden death, so his spirit stayed earthbound. I swear I was waiting for Melinda to appear or for Eugene to enter an antique shop. Anyway he was able to influence Gwen a little and she felt his presence. When he disappeared after saving her it looked like he was "going into the light".

    The only Torchwood team member who got screen time was Gwen, the others appeared for a few seconds but didn't do anything interesting. The story was not tied to any other storyline in the show so I'd label this a filler. Eugene was fun and the music was great as usual so this episode still gets 6/10.moreless
  • Great episode. Really interesting.

    I can say this is one of my favorite Torchwood's episodes. I loved the plot.

    Everything starts with Eugene Jones waking up on the middle of a road and finding the Torchwood team checking over his body. He finds out he's dead. The story of his life is all told by Eugene's voice over. His life's disappointments and anticipations, the mysterious alien eye he got from a teacher when he was a kid and his crush on Gwen.

    It was very interesting to see Gwen using her detective skills to solve the mystery of Eugene's death. During the episode it seemed that Gwen was able to see and hear Eugene. I really enjoyed it.

    I really felt sorry for Eugene. The way his friends threated him wasn't nice and his death was their fault.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • As established in the last few minutes of the episode, Eugene swallowed the Eye and Gwen then has the gravedigger remove it from his stomach it at the cemetery. However, earlier in the episode Gwen performs an autopsy of Eugene's body, and analyzing the stomach contents to determine time of death and the possibility of poisoning is a standard part of any autopsy. She should have found the Eye during the autopsy.

    • The registration number of the red Vauxhall car that knocks Eugene over and kills him is P759 MFL.

    • Other locations in Cardiff used in this episode were Ramon's Cafe on Salisbury Road (the cafe scene where Gwen orders ham, egg and chips) and The Prince Of Wales pub in Cardiff city centre (where Gwen and Linda have a drink).

    • It is revealed in this episode that the Doctor's Hand actually survived the events of "Day One" after Carys smashed the jar it was in on the floor.

    • The video Eugene had on loan from the video shop was the original BBC version of 'A for Andromeda' based on the book by Fred Hoyle.

    • The interior of National Museum of Cardiff stands in as the The Aberystwyth Natural History Museum during this episode, since such a building doesn't exist.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Terry: He may have been able to square the root of the frigging root, but he couldn't cross the frigging road.

    • Co-worker: I've signed the card for Eugene.
      Gary: (Reading) "Good luck in your new job". He's bloody dead!

    • Eugene: (Voice-over) In an average lifetime, the human heart will beat two million times. You'll produce over eight thousand gallons of saliva and grow three-hundred-and-fifty miles of hair. You'll eat the equivalent in weight of six elephants. Oh, isn't life amazing?

    • Eugene: You know, twenty-eight is one of those perfect numbers. It's equal to the sum of its divisors. I'm twenty-eight. I was twenty-eight. (Pauses) I think I'm going to have to go soon, Gwen.

    • Eugene: (Voice-over) By rights, I should be well pissed off. My mates had cheated on me and I didn't get to meet any aliens. But I realised that when I swallowed the eye at the Happy Cook, I was given a chance to look back on my life and see it for what it really was.

    • Eugene: (Looking onto the road) All those cars. All those lives moving through space. All that humanity whizzing by in a frenzy of burgers and chips, Bank Holiday fun, burst tyres, screaming kids, sudden heart attacks.

    • Waitress: (After describing Josh, Gary and Eugene's fight in the restaurant) Well, that's just not acceptable behaviour. Not at a Happy Cook.

    • Eugene: Gary. Gary! I think it's him.
      Gary: Who?
      Eugene: The alien. My alien. I think he's come back to claim what's rightfully his. Gary, I'd stopped believing in him. I mean, I thought I was a total sucker but who else would be bidding this kind of money for a prosthetic eye? He couldn't contact me any other way, so…
      Gary: So he chose eBay?
      Eugene: Well, cyberspace. I mean, even an online auction has a certain elegant symmetry. I think I'm finally going to meet him.

    • Gwen: What exactly is a Sixth Eye, I mean, exactly?
      Jack: It's one in the back. Lets you see behind you, where you've been. Kind of puts things in perspective. It's useful, fun, slightly terrifying. That's why they were in demand.

    • Linda: I said I'd love to get away from it all and go to Australia. Eugene suddenly got very excited. He said, "yes, you've got to go". I said, "but I haven't got the money", and he said he'd get it for me.
      Gwen: So, he was going to pay for a ticket for you to go to Australia with him? Was he in love with you?
      Linda: Oh, no. He loved someone he said was unattainable. (Eugene looks at Gwen) He was just, trying to look after me. He said, "don't stay here and waste your life waiting for something that may never happen".
      Gwen: But where was he going to get the money from?
      Linda: Exactly.
      Eugene: (To Linda) You said "you haven't bought a new pair of socks in six years".
      Linda: I said "you haven't even had a new pair of socks in six years". He stood up and he said…
      (Gwen's phone starts to ring)
      Linda: That's, that's your phone.
      Gwen: (Shuts the phone off) Yep, he said?
      Linda: He said "I'm going to sell it". I said "what?". He said "my alien artifact".

    • Eugene: (Voice-over) Failure? Is that right? Has my life just been one big failure? I mean, maybe I never quite lived up to my early promise as a maths genius but that's because I was waiting. For the alien to collect his eye and change my life.

    • Josh: No disrespect, but Eugene had "loser" written through him like Brighton in a stick of rock. Maybe he just couldn't live with his, failure.

    • Gwen: (About Eugene) What was he doing out on that road?
      Owen: Oh, fuck knows. Categorising chevrons? He was a geek.

    • Eugene: (Voice-over) Now I had the eye and what I realised was if it fell from the sky, it probably, no, no, it almost certainly belonged to an alien. That was the night Dad went away. But it was okay, because I had the eye and the possibility of an alien encounter. I mean, if you leave something really important behind, you come back and get it. Don't you? God, I wanted that alien to come back and claim his eye more than I wanted anything in my life. I worked out the possible provenance, the lifeform and galaxy, planetary escape velocities, launch windows, necessary fuel capacities and then, I waited.

    • Eugene: (Opening narration) 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: No, I don't want you to find out what happened, I don't want this to end. (Pauses) I love you. (Gwen looks disturbed)

    • Gwen: Do you think Eugene committed suicide?
      Toshiko: There was a road accident, and there was no alien involvement.
      Gwen: See, I'm not so sure because something seems really odd. I mean, I just, I just feel that there's something going on.
      Owen: (Sarcastically) Marvellous, thank you for that Disney moment. Now who's making the tea?
      Gwen: Yeah, well I suppose Eugene's a bit ordinary and local and amateur for you, Owen.
      Owen: And why is that? Only Gwen seems to have a heart, yeah, I dunno if you've noticed but the rest of us are human, and amazingly we still manage to get on with our jobs.
      Jack: (Cutting in) Okay, you two!
      Gwen: Okay, fine, leave it, forget it. I have.

    • Eugene: The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits, of great love and small disasters. It's made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation, and random shoes. It's dead ordinary and truly truly amazing. What you've got to realise is it's all here now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole because take it from me, life just whizzes by.

    • Eugene: (Shouts) Gwen! (Jumps in front of an oncoming car pushing Gwen out of the way) Hi.
      Gwen: Hi. Eugene.
      Eugene: Are you okay?
      Gwen: Eugene, it's so good to see you. Eugene, you're on my leg.
      Eugene: Oh, sorry.
      Gwen: No, Eugene, it's fine. (Sits up, Eugene still on her leg)
      Eugene: (Looks at his dad) Can he see me? He can see me!
      Gwen: Thank you, you just saved my life.
      Eugene: (Laughs) That's okay.
      (Gwen kisses Eugene)

    • Josh: I checked the bid history; Mr. C. Blackstaff is a collector of alien ephemera and Nazi memorabilia. Also Beanie Babies. Teeny bit cuckoo, but endearingly rich.

    • Eugene: (Narrating) Now I remember. Apart from a buzzing in my ear, where Josh whacked me, I felt good. I was running across a field on a Saturday morning, the smell of exhaust and banana milkshake, a slight nausea, heart beating too fast 'cause I wasn't that fit; all the stuff that tells you you're alive.
      (Eugene is struck by a car and killed)

  • NOTES (6)

    • Eugene says that in an average lifetime, the human heart will beat two million times. It will actually reach that number in twenty days so, unless you die very young, your lifetime total will be quite a bit higher. The script should have said billion.

    • International air dates:
      Australia: August 14, 2007
      Israel: July 8, 2007
      Mexico: September 3, 2007
      Sweden: August 12, 2007
      United States: November 02, 2007
      Canada: November 30, 2007
      New Zealand: September 3, 2008
      Germany: May 6, 2009

    • In the conference room, Jack is handling an object that resembles the bolt gun from the Doctor Who episodes, "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit".

    • The premiere of this episode had 971,000 viewers.

    • The music featured in this episode:
      "Hope There's Someone" by Antony and The Johnsons.
      "Starman" by David Bowie.
      "Danny Boy" by Frederick Weatherly.

    • An alternative title was "Invisible Eugene".


    • Terry: He's not Superman, Mum

      Superman is one of the most famous DC comic book superheroes. He was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1932 and first appeared in Action Comics #1 in June 1938. Superman is an alien from the planet Krypton who possesses super-strength and super-speed as well as the ability to fly.

    • The Internet auction website eBay is referenced, although the page displayed in this episode does not match eBay's current page layout.

    • Black Holes And The Uncertainty Principle.

      Black Holes are among the most discussed features of Einstein's theory of General Relativity, which describes gravity and the behavior of massive objects on cosmic scales. They are basically cosmic objects of such a high density that they curve the surrounding spacetime so much even light cannot escape their grasp.

      The Uncertainty Principle is one of the key elements of Quantum Theory, which describes the interaction of the smallest (elementary) particles. It basically states that it is impossible to measure some variables like location and speed of a particle at the same time with absolute certainty.

      The convention in this episode is most likely about the boundaries of modern physics since Quantum Theory and General Relativity in their current form are incompatible. This does not mean that one of them has to be wrong since they govern vastly different scales (nanometers/lightyears) but that they have to be adapted to scales they were initially not designed for. This is one of the major problems in modern physics and a working unified theory is currently searched for but has not been found so far (though there are several promising approaches).