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Random Shoes
Series: Torchwood - TV Stories
Series Number: Series 1
Story Number: 9
Enemy: Josh
Setting: Cardiff, 2007
Writer: Jacquetta May
Director: James Erskine
Producer: Richard Stokes
Sophie Fante
Chris Chibnall (co-producer)
Broadcast: 10th December 2006
Previous Story: They Keep Killing Suzie
Following Story: Out of Time



A hit-and-run victim, obsessed with aliens in life, realises only one person can solve the mystery of his death: Gwen Cooper.


Finding himself lying in the middle of the road, Eugene Jones makes his way over towards the police tape blocking off an apparent crime scene. As he approaches, an officer lifts the tape for an exiting officer and Eugene is able to slip past. As he approaches the scene, he recognizes the staff of Torchwood, a group he has been interested in and trying to speak to for quite a while. While the team attempts to determine what happened to the victim, Eugene realizes that the dead body on the ground belongs... to him.

As Eugene's phone rings Tosh answers and hands the phone over to Gwen to inform Eugene's mother of the accident. As the team leaves for Eugene's home, he climbs in the car and finally realizes that he is a ghost.

During the drive Eugene remembers about his childhood the point at which his father left home and the beginnings of his interest in aliens... and in a particular an artifact once given to him by a teacher... an alien eye. He finally tells of his prior encounters with Torchwood and how he never got the chance to tell them about the eye.

At Eugene's home, Gwen notifies his mother and bother, Terry, of his death while Ianto and Owen investigate the alien "artifacts" in his room. While most are fakes, there is one empty stand that interests Gwen. Eugene follows on with the Torchwood team in hopes of finding out what happened to him.

Back at the Hub, Eugene is amazed by all of the technology and true alien artifacts. Owen attempts to convince Gwen that Eugene's death was nothing but a road accident. When Owen tells her that he has too much paperwork to do to autopsy Eugene's body, Gwen prepares to do it herself. As she presses the scalpel to Eugene's body, Eugene faints, and Gwen looks up as if she noticed something. As she looks down to again begin the autopsy Ianto enters with news that a drunk driver in a red car has been pulled over and reports of striking someone near Cardiff.

Eugene awakens lying on the floor of the Hub and walks home. Seeing his mother crying he walks on.

In the conference room at the Hub Gwen cannot let go of Eugene's death while Owen and Tosh point out that there is no evidence of involvement of anything mysterious or alien.

In the morning Gwen finds Owen watching a DVD that he had collected from Eugene's room. Gwen, a little upset, offers to take the DVD back to the rental shop while she grabs lunch. As she leaves she also takes Eugene's cell phone from the evidence box.

Gwen stops at a diner around the corner from the video store and is followed in by Eugene. Gwen asks the waiter about Eugene, but he has no recollection of Eugene. Eugene, upset because the diner is his usual breakfast spot, recites his normal order, two eggs, ham and chips... only to, moments later, have Gwen place the same order with the waiter. Gwen sits down at the table and begins to flip through the picture on Eugene's phone, the most recent of random shoes. Eugene admits that he doesn't really remember anything from the last few weeks and then says that Gwen should call his friend Gary to see if he knows anything. Gwen, seemingly hearing Eugene, flips through his list of contacts and phones Gary, for whom she leaves a message.

Stopping at the hardware store Gwen meets Josh, who works at the store. Repeatedly hitting on Gwen, Josh tells Gwen that Eugene was a nice guy, but he was a loser and failure. He also asks if Eugene had committed suicide. Finally, Gwen returns the DVD, paying a £34 fine, and leaves the store.

Gwen's next stop is Eugene's old employer, a telesales business. As gwen wanders through the office she glances at the phone and the floor, trying to recognize the shoes from the picture. She finally spots the wearer of a pair of Converse All Stars from the picture, Gary. She asks Gary if he had seen Eugene the day he died, and Gary says that he hadn't. Then Gary goes off on another office worker for writing "Good luck on your new job!" on the sympathy card. As Gwen follows Gary between a row of cubes she is stopped by Linda, a friend of Eugene's that is particularly broken up over his death. Concerned that she may get in trouble for talking during work hours, Gwen agrees to meet Linda for lunch. While looking around Gary's desk, Owen calls and Gwen tells him that she's taking care of a few personal things and will be back soon.

Later at lunch, Linda begins to fill in some of the missing pieces of Eugene's last weeks. Apparently a few weeks before Eugene had been depressed, and when Linda came into work one day after an arguement with her boyfriend, Eugene agreed to help her move to Australia to start a new life. To get the money, he told Linda that he would sell his alien artifact. When he brought the eye into work a few of his friends laughed, but, he still placed it on Ebay. After a while the price began to climb to £3,000 and finally jumped to £15,005.50. Gwen's phone rings and it is Eugene's mother asking Gwen to come by. She thanks Linda and heads off.

Together Gwen and Mrs. Jones watch a video of a math competition the Eugene lost when he was a boy. Mrs. Jones explains that Eugene had received a plastic eye from a teacher as a consolation. Terry tells Gwen that the night Eugene lost the competition was the night their father left and that Eugene blamed himself. Mrs. Jones tells Gwen that the boys' father really left for a job in America, but Terry tells his mother that Eugene found their father two weeks ago working in a garage across town. Suddenly Eugene begins to remember why he sold the eye.

Gwen drives to the garage and prepares to tell Eugene's father about his death. Eugene talks about how finding his father made him believe that everything that he had hoped for was for naught and that he might as well sell the eye and get something for it. As Gwen begins to open her door, Eugene asks her not to go, and she closes the car door. He tells Gwen that he doesn't want anything to do with his father, and when he apologizes Gwen, knowing he is somehow there, tells him it is OK.

Back in the Hub, Jack confronts Gwen about turning off her phone. She tries to explain to Jack what she is feeling and mentions the alien eye. Jack believes it might be a Dogon Sixth Eye, and item that allows its user to see their past and put it in perspective. They were traded for the novelty factor. Gwen tells Jack that she has almost tracked it down, and he gives her the weekend to finish her investigation.

Gwen's next stop is a university talk at Aberystwyth University on black holes and anti-matter. There, Gwen runs into Gary who initially runs away from her. Finally he tells her that he initially bid up the price of the eye to cheer Eugene up, but that Eugene started to think that his bids were possibly the alien. In the end though Gary says that the £15,000 bid was real. When she again asks Gary if he saw Eugene the day he died, he says that he had coffee with Eugene before he went to meet the auction winning alien. Gwen asks Gary about the shoe photographs. While he says that they are random shoes he also tells Gwen that he misses Eugene.

In a hotel room in Aberystwyth, as Gwen looks through some of Eugene's belongings, Eugene tells Gwen that he took the eye and called a taxi to take him to the meeting point. As he talks he realizes that he really enjoys the time he is spending with Torchwood, and Gwen in particular, and doesn't want it to end. He tells Gwen that he loves her and again she seems to hear him. She stands and walks to the window near where Eugene is standing and Eugene blows on her hair to make it move ever so slightly. She brushes the hair from her face, closes the window and heads to bed.

As Gwen returns from Aberystwyth, Eugene recognizes the Happy Cook diner as the location of the drop off. Gwen enters and quickly recognizes the waitresses shoes. Eugene also begins to remember coming in and meeting Gary and Josh. At first he thinks they are their for moral support, but Josh makes it clear that they are the real buyers and did it as a joke and to cheer him up. And though someone real had bid the £15,000, Josh got carried away, and although they only had £34 on them Josh still expects to be given the eye so he can turn around and resell the eye. Eugene quickly uses his phone to take a few photographs of the shoes under the table. When Eugene doesn't hand over the eye Josh attempts to take it from him.

Gwen, meanwhile, is hearing the same story from the waitresses point of view. Apparently the two men began to fight over the eye. When the waitress picks it up Josh grabs it and heads for the door, only to be tackled by Eugene, who grabs the eye and swallows it whole. Josh attempts to heimlich the eye out of Eugene who eventually escapes.

As the waitress finishes her story Josh and Gary come into the diner and Josh begins to talk to the waitress and tell her not to mention anything to anyone asking questions. As Josh talks Gary sees Gwen standing off to the side. As Josh turns to run Gary tips him and tells Josh that he misses Eugene.

Eugene remembers all of what happened. Josh and Gary chased him from the diner and then lost him. Eventually Eugene stops running to catch his breath and as he walks across the road he is struck by a car. Gwen calls Eugene's father to tell him of the news.

We later find Gary, Gwen, Eugene and his family at Eugene's funeral. For the first time Eugene sees his father as a normal man and realizes that he wished he had more time with him.

At the back of the funeral home, Gwen is handed a paper bag by the mortician, a bag containing the eye. Eugene doesn't understand why he's still around now that the eye is no longer in his body, and Gwen, knowing he is there begins to talk to him when the Torchwood SUV pulls up. Gwen hands the bag to Jack and asks if she can have a few minutes to speak with Eugene's family.

As she crosses the street a car comes around the corner and nearly hits Gwen. Charging from the sidewalk Eugene yells her name and knocks Gwen to the ground. Not only can Gwen see him, but so can everyone else. And for a moment he can say thank you to Gwen before he floats up into the light.


Story Notes

  • 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. Cheapserve has been used before by the Doctor Who production team.
  • For the first 8 minutes of the original broadcast of this episode, the BBC Three digital on-screen graphic identifier was absent, with the DOG of the CBBC Channel in its place. After this, the DOG disappeared.
  • Dogon Sixth Eye
  • Dogon


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

Outside of Universe References

  • This story bears some structural similarities DW: Love & Monsters, in particular the heavy use of flashbacks and voice-overs by a guest character as narrative devices. In addition, both Eugene Jones and Elton Pope (from Love & Monsters) are lonely young men with fixations on the respective main characters of each series and both come to similar epiphanies about taking life as it comes rather than waiting for the unobtainable while confronting painful memories. Also, Love & Monsters featured an organization called "LINDA" and Random Shoes featured a woman named "Linda."
  • In the flashback to Eugene's maths contest, Rushmore are described as having 'a mountainous forty-two [points]', a possible reference to Mt. Rushmore in the United States and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • The Internet auction website eBay is referenced, although the page displayed in this episode does not match eBay's current page layout.
  • The DVD Owen is watching is the 1960s version of the BBC science fiction drama A for Andromeda.
  • The name and logo of the "Happy Cook" resemble those of the Happy Eater chain of roadside restaurants.


  • BBC3 - 1.1 million viewers
  • BBC2 - 2.3 million viewers

Filming Locations

  • The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff was used in place of Aberystwyth University. Time and financial limitations meant the journey to Aberystwyth would have been impractical, especially considering the short amount of time it appears onscreen.

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • In the previous episode, They Keep Killing Suzie, Suzie says that after you die it's just dark. Unless it was the eyes keeping him from seeing it, why did Eugene remain on Earth, and not experience the blackness? Jack states that the purpose of the sixth eye was to look back and see where you've been. Having swallowed the eye, Eugene himself states that the events after his death have allowed him to see his life for what it really was.
  • Despite his arm passing straight through Tosh when trying to get her attention, Eugene has no trouble getting in and out cars. Maybe he can't interact with sentient objects, unlike cars.
  • It is stated that Eugene's father works nights at a garage, but Gwen calls the garage in the daytime and is able to speak to him. As Gwen phones him on the way back from Aberystwyth, it is likely the phone call was made in the early morning, when he could have been at the end of his night shift. Apparently it is also impossible to think that Eugene's father has a mobile, or a house phone.
  • It is established that Eugene's father left in 1992, and Eugene narrates at his funeral that his father is "14 years too late", seemingly placing the story in 2006. However, Gwen joined Torchwood some time after the Battle of Canary Wharf, which took place sometime in 2007. The fact that no specific dates are mentioned, plus the possibility of Eugene merely rounding the figure to the nearest year could account for the differences.
  • The flyer states that the talk takes place at Aberystwyth University, but when the episode was made in 2006 it was officially known as the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. The name did change to Aberystwyth University in 2007 however, when the events of this episode are set. The flyer also states that it takes place at the 'Science and Natural History Museum' and is hosted by 'N. Wales Astronomy Society', neither of which exist.
  • In the Happy Cook, Gary says that they failed to catch up with Eugene because Josh was wearing new shoes. However the shoes in the picture on the phone do not look new. Josh may have bought the shoes second hand, and referred to them being new to him.


External Links

Torchwood Series 1
Everything Changes  • Day One  • Ghost Machine  • Cyberwoman  • Small Worlds  • Countrycide  • Greeks Bearing Gifts  • They Keep Killing Suzie  • Random Shoes  • Out of Time  • Combat  • Captain Jack Harkness  • End of Days
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Random Shoes. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "Random Shoes" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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