Random Shoes

Random Shoes

number = 09
serial_name = Random Shoes
caption =

show = TW
type = episode
cast =
* John BarrowmanCaptain Jack Harkness
* Eve MylesGwen Cooper
* Burn GormanOwen Harper
* Naoko MoriToshiko Sato
* Gareth David-LloydIanto Jones
guests =
* Paul Chequer – Eugene
* Luke Bromley – Young Eugene
* Nicola Duffett – Bronwen Jones
* Roger Ashton-Griffiths – Mr Garret
* Steven Meo – Josh
* Celyn Jones – Gary
* Robyn Isaac – Linda
* Gareth Potter – Shaun Jones
* Joshua Hughes – Terry Jones
* Amy Starling – Waitress
* Leroy Liburd – Café owner
* Ryan Chappell – Pete
writer = Jacquetta May
director = James Erskine
production_code = 1.9
producer = Richard Stokes Sophie Fante Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
executive_producer = Russell T Davies Julie Gardner
script_editor = Brian Minchin
series = Series 1
length = 50 mins
date = 10 December, 2006
preceding = "They Keep Killing Suzie"
following = "Out of Time"
imdb_id = 0898059

"Random Shoes" is an episode in the British science fiction television series "Torchwood", which was broadcast on 10 December 2006.


A hit-and-run victim (Eugene), obsessed with aliens while alive, realises only one person can solve the mystery of his death: Gwen Cooper. He searches for her in the hope that she can help him.


A young man named Eugene Jones wakes up to find that he appears to be ethereal, his body lies dead on the ground after a hit-and-run accident, but his memory of how he got there is missing. He recognizes the Torchwood team as they are brought in to investigate the accident; the team had several run-ins with Eugene before but had written him off as a crank. Eugene's cell phone goes off, and Gwen answers it, and explains to the caller, Eugene's mother, that her son is dead. Upon examining the phone, she finds pictures of random shoes, and becomes intrigued by it, investigating the matter further.

Much of the rest of the episode is presented as a mix of flashblacks to Eugene's past along with Gwen's investigation in the present, with Eugene following her around as memories come back to him. Eugene was an excellent student in maths, but blanked on an inter-school competition, losing it for his school, and disappointing his father; his father left that same night, and Eugene felt he was the cause, though believed his father to be happy with a new job in America. His science teacher tried to cheer him up by giving him an eye-like object, claiming it to have fallen from the sky. This piqued Eugene's interest in extraterrestrial life, and began studying and collecting such alien artifacts, even approaching Torchwood several times but was always rebuffed.

The string of events leading to Eugene's death occurred when Eugene decided to try to sell the eye object on eBay in order raise enough money to buy tickets to Australia for his co-worker, Linda. Initially, there were no bids, but the bids started to rise up to a few hundred pounds. A surprise bid of £15,000.00 bid was made near the end of the auction, and Eugene surmised it must have been the alien that had lost the eye, but was beat out by the final highest bid of £15,005.50. Eugene contacted the buyers and arranged to meet at the Happy Cook, a restaurant near where he later died. Arriving there, he found that Gary, a co-worker, and Josh, a DVD store clerk, were the actual final bidders. They had raised the price initially to get Eugene's hopes up, but when the first large bid came in from a large collector, they realized that if they could get the eye, they could resell it for that much. Eugene, realizing he has been set up, swallows the eye and then takes photos of Gary, Josh, and the waitress' shoes in case he needed the evidence for later, then flees the restaurant. He was able to escape from Gary and Josh, but unwittingly walked right into traffic, causing the hit-and-run accident that killed him. Gwen is able to follow Eugene's footsteps, and learns the truth from his mother, Linda, Gary, and Josh.

In the present, Jack reveals to Gwen that the eye was likely a Dogon Sixth Eye, which, if ingested, allows that person to gain a fresh perspective on their past life. Gwen finds that Eugene's father is actually working as a car mechanic nearby, and informs him about Eugene's death. Eugene's family and friends gather for his cremation, and Gwen is able to recover the eye from the ashes and travels to Eugene's wake with the rest of the team. As she watches across the street as Eugene's mother and father reunite, she is unaware of a car about to run her over; Eugene attempts to push Gwen aside and finds he is able to do so; to everyone's amazement he has become corporeal. Eugene knows he cannot stay without the eye in his body and that he has served a better purpose, and thus gives Gwen a goodbye kiss as his family watches on. Eugene is bathed in a white glow as he is pulled into the heavens.


*The severed hand is seen once more in the Torchwood Hub.
*Captain Jack toys with the Boltgun from "The Impossible Planet" / "The Satan Pit".


*This episode was originally titled "Invisible Eugene" up until two weeks before it aired. It was then changed to its present title. It was still listed as "Invisible Eugene" in the "Radio Times" and other television listings.
*Screenshots of Eugene's website as posted on the Torchwood Institute website suggest it to be hosted on the fictional Cheapserve webhost. [cite web| url=http://www.torchwood.org.uk/html/eugene/| publisher= BBC Online| title=Torchwood External Hub Interface - Investigation - Eugene| accessdate=2006-12-10] Cheapserve has been used before by the "Doctor Who" production team.


* The songs "Starman" by David Bowie and "Hope There’s Someone" by Antony and the Johnsons are featured in this episode.
* Eugene's father sings "Danny Boy" at the funeral.

Outside references

* This story bears some structural similarities to the "Doctor Who" episode "Love & Monsters", in particular the heavy use of flashbacks and voice-overs by a guest character as narrative devices. Like "Love & Monsters" the episode also features only brief appearances by most of the regular cast, except for Gwen Cooper.
* The Internet auction website eBay is referenced.
* The DVD Owen is watching is the 1960s version of the BBC science fiction drama "A for Andromeda".
* In the video shop the show playing is "Walking with Dinosaurs".


External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchwood/sites/episodes/series1/ep09_randomshoes.shtml "Random Shoes" episode guide entry on the BBC website]

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