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17 March 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

1.10: Out Of Time

What would you do if you suddenly went on an airplane to find yourself in a completely different timezone? Well three very unlikely time travellers didn’t have to imagine for very long.

 

We start with the Torchwood team waiting for an airplane to land however, it’s not a modern aircraft, but the Sky Gypsy plane which appears to be a vintage twin-engined aircraft, landing on the runway. Three passengers, John (Mark Lewis Jones), Emma (Olivia Hallinan) and pilot - Diane (Louise Delamere) appear to be very confused when Captain Jack asks what year it is. When they answer the year is1953, the whole team know something is seriously wrong.

 

What is really interesting about ‘Out of Time’ is that the episode is very much split up into 3 subplots which come to their separate and very different outcomes for our newly discovered time travellers. The episode really focuses on the mental health aspect of being stuck in a completely different timezone, something Captain Jack knows all too well. However, this is a theme that has never been explored in ‘Doctor Who’ before, dealing with the idea of how people would cope with the thought of never being able to return to their own time. It’s again what ‘Torchwood’ is best at, exploring mental health aspects as it has more adult themes in comparison to ‘Doctor Who’. It tackles them by dealing with the grief of losing their parents, families, friends and even their pets, which makes for thought provoking and upsetting moments.

 

The first thing the Torchwood team needs to do is help the time refugees in their new lives. Each person is set up with a member of the team to help them deal with missing 50 wish years of time. Their attitudes and the way they deal with John, Emma and Diane, speaks volumes about the Torchwood Team characters.

 

John is your stereotypical 1950’s dad, who seems to be the breadwinner of his family, working as a shopkeeper and demonstrates very protective qualities over Emma as if she was his daughter. Emma is an18 year old girl, with only one ambition of settling down with a husband and having her own family, as she’s been told that’s what girls of her age do. Whereas, in stark contrast, we also have Diane, a pilot who has strong ambitions in life and doesn’t want to be tied down or limited by other people, something which will definitely be divulged later in this episode.

 

The Torchwood team take the time refugees into a safe house to help them establish their lives again. It seemed like a good idea for about two seconds, then John has a very heated argument with Emma after finding her getting drunk with two more girls in the house. Who are the other girls? Who knows? It’s never explained apart from being a plot device to move the story onto Gwen and Emma moving in together. This does however really delve into what happens when Gwen takes her work home?

 

Gwen who has a softer approach than Jack or Owen to situations, takes on a motherly/older sister attitude towards Emma, as she has to lie to Rhys about Emma being a semi-distantly related cousin, in order for him to feel comfortable having a stranger in the house. Gwen really comes into her own by showing Emma there’s more to life than just settling down with a husband, as time has moved on and there are more possibilities for women in life. What works for Emma, is being a younger more adaptable person; this allows her to accept and come to terms with how times have changed e.g. from getting her own career to being able to have sex before marriage. It becomes quite a comedic moment when Gwen delves into the lovers she’s had in the past, before Emma asks if it’s ok for her to do it. Gwen’s attitude immediately turns as she suggests the first time sleeping with someone should be special, but realises her rational behind this is a bit lame, as Emma asks if having sex with Rhys is the best, to which Gwen says ‘Well…’. It’s the moment Gwen knows she isn’t the most convincing person to tell someone to settle down with just one man. However, Emma ultimately wants to wait for “Mr Right.” Emma takes the final option of moving to London to pursue a career in fashion design. It’s a lovely send off scene, as Gwen looks on tearfully as she’s sending her almost daughter away into the big wide world after a week. It’s a bold move, however it shows how strong and independent Emma is, even after the 1950s wanted her to stay in that stereotypical bubble. It’s such brilliant character development in just a 50 minute story.

 

We then move swiftly over to Owen, who has taken it upon himself to look after Diane. He fancies the pants off of her, of course. I think this is the first time as a character I’ve liked Owen. His love and devotion to Diane in just a week is quite impressive. The moments of the past and the present mixing, is something that really shines on their relationship, from their attitudes of going out to dinner together and Owen pulling Diane’s chair out, to Diane’s attitude towards sleeping with Owen, suggesting that sex should never be casual. There’s a moment when Owen suddenly has an epiphany that he doesn’t want to sleep around with loads of women anymore which is somewhat sudden, but a real character development after sleeping with not one but two Torchwood employees. Is Owen finally finding some stability in his life? The relationship between Diane and Owen does work so well, as Diane can really swap the gender roles. The prime example for this is when Diane takes the decision to leave Owen, something that really breaks his heart for the first time. It’s a moment that really echoes the film “Casablanca" as Diane hands her scarf over to him, she decides she can’t live in a time in which she doesn’t belong. There’s an adventure out there in the sky which she loves and it calls upon her to go and find the rift to get home. The final shot of the plane in the sky, is a true homage to the films of the 40s and 50s but with a slight 2006 twist of the pilot being Diane.

 

For John, life doesn’t adapt to 2006 quite so easily. The troubled moments start as soon as Captain Jack forges new passports for all of them and changes their names, something John immediately calls Jack out on and quite rightly so. For someone who has lost everything, his family and his own time, having his own name is the only thing that establishes his identity and self worth. John and Captain Jack have some emotional bonding moments, as they both reminisce over their lives in the 50s and how Jack came to terms with being stuck in one time. John trying to act like the father figure, finds it hard to maintain that persona. John finds out his son is still alive and goes to see him in a care home in Cardiff. Time travel can be a cruel and wicked thing to use, as John’s son is much older than him and has Alzheimer's disease. You can really see in John’s face this is when he loses all hope for the world and this sparks a very controversial scene in my eyes. John takes it upon himself to try and commit suicide in his car at his original home address. Captain Jack races to his aid and stops him. Jack with all his good will and intentions, tries to convince John he can live a new life, start a new family, see another day; however Jack’s words seem so empty to John. John says “Don’t condemn me to live” which is a sentence that really impacts on me. For me, I wished Jack became the figure of hope and actually showed John what life could have been like. A moment of weakness is only brief and will pass, but it’s the people around you who make the difference. The moment however is played out really well, as Captain Jack looks on in shock and despair as John slowly lets go of Jacks hand as he passes away. 

 

At the end of this whole episode, I admired what Jack, Owen and Gwen were trying to do. The casting and themes of the episode, is how I remember Torchwood from watching it the first time around. From the moment where they’re running around Asda buying everything they can set their eyes on, brings the comedic light hearted moments to Gwen finally being discovered having lied to Rhys (Kai Owen) about her job. It’s the juxtaposing position that Torchwood as a series is good at, and really leaves a cliffhanger between Gwen’s predicament of being part of the team, while trying to maintain a stable relationship. The series itself, is finally finding its feet and I can’t wait to see what kind of resolution takes place at the end.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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[Source:
DWO]

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