The twenty-first century's when everything changes


Controversial Dr Who spin-off Torchwood‘s most recent episode featured an eBay sale at the heart of its plot. If you missed it, you have another chance to catch it tomorrow.

Eugene awakes to find himself both dead and invisible. Though the rest of Torchwood dismiss him as just another loner obsessed with aliens, Gwen feels drawn to him and his collection of ‘alien artifacts’. Together, they reconstruct Eugene’s last two weeks alive, hoping to discover just why he’s still here.

The answer (and if you haven’t seen the episode yet, look away now), is a Dogon’s sixth eye, part of Eugene’s collection, which he’d put up for sale on eBay. Bid up to £15,005.50 by two of his workmates for a joke, there’s a strong hint that the underbidder might have been genuine. Could Eugene have sent a second chance offer to an alien? Sadly, the program didn’t go there.

Though it’s tempting to point out that Eugene’s friends bidding on his auction is in violation of the shill bidding policy, and bidding with no intention of paying is also against eBay rules, really it was a great indication of how ingrained eBay has become in popular culture. “Sold online” and “sold on eBay” were synonymous as far as the programme was concerned, and the writers found no need to explain what eBay was or how it worked.

Sadly, it wasn’t the most thrilling episode of the series so far. The most exciting part was probably the live-updating eBay bid amount: how cool would it be to watch your high bidder hit £15,000 without having to sit hitting the refresh button? Now *that* would be a excellent new feature.

2 Responses

  1. Aliens bidding on eBay? Explains quite a lot…

    Anyone know the cutoff date for Christmas deliveries to Raxacoricofallapatorius?

  2. Oh, you Sliveen always leave your Xmas shopping to the last minute don’t you? The last shipping date for Raxacoricofallapatorius was last week, so don’t be paying me for surface shipping now…

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