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14 April 2020

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

1.13: End Of Days

Here we go ladies, gentleman and everyone in between. If you want a proper Russell T. Davies era finale, look no further. Written by the current Doctor Who show runner Chris Chibnall, we look on how the whole of series 1 is summarised into the most climatic and emotional episode we’ve had of the series. 

 

The episode starts with everything seeming quite normal. Gwen watches Rhys as he sleeps and it all seems a calm morning until Captain Jack calls Gwen to watch the news. It appears as if a weird cascade of events are occurring, as if people and aliens are falling through the cracks in time.

 

Back in Torchwood, Ianto reads apocalyptic accounts in order to find some resolution to what has happened to the world. (Quite an apt thing for Torchwood to face, as we battle our own troubles in 2020. Owen and Jack aren’t convinced by the readings as they abruptly interrupt Ianto describing a creature known as Abaddo, but that won’t appear, will it? Captain Jack brings the conversation right round to the point in hand, and that is if the splinters in time are anything to do with them? Well, yes but more to the fact, it was Owen. Owen denies any responsibility for his actions, as he proclaims he opened the rift to save Jack and Tosh. This may be partly true, however as the audience ,we know he was doing it to prove whether he could go back and see Diane again. Captain Jack can’t even respond to Owen’s claims or even thank him. The conflict between the team and Jack becomes even more visible during this episode.

 

Despite the cracks in time affecting the world, Captain Jack and the team appear to have it all under control. In Doctor Who this would be a good laugh to try and get everyone back to their own time zones, however what happens if the people who fall through the cracks, end up brining something with them? Owen and Tosh have a harrowing shock when they discover a person who has fallen from the 14th century, has infected a whole hospital with the black death. The Doctor (no not that one) in disbelief, shouts at Owen “You’re Torchwood! You’re supposed to fix all this!” However as Owen knows he’s responsible for this outbreak, all he can do is manage the situation and leaves it in the Doctor’s hands.

 

With the cracks in time becoming more and more apparent, Tosh is suddenly stopped in her path, as if she has seen a ghost and more importantly, the ghost of her mother. The shock on Tosh’s face, shows her mother had possibly died sometime in the past, as she has blood running down her forehead. Her mother claims only “It’s coming, out of the darkness.” A series arc that has followed through with people who have died seeing some thing which is too scared to describe. But what is it? What are they afraid of? Not only does Tosh have this ‘vision’ but Gwen also stumbles across Bilis Manger sitting in the cell of the police station. Gwen appearing to be hypnotised, stares at Bilis as he telepathically says “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Is this a coincidence that he appears at the same time as Tosh’s mum? It all seems to be a tangled spiders web and Bilis is in the centre, a spider waiting for his prey.

 

What raises even more questions, is while Ianto is in the cell block of Torchwood, Lisa appears in front of him. No cyber conversation, just as she was before the battle of Canary Wharf. She proclaims opening the rift will save the lives of everyone on Earth.

 

This scene hits home quite hard at the moment with what’s going on in 2020. Owen arguing with Jack, as he says they need to be more prepared for the eventualities of a new virus or plague coming through the rift, as Jack wants Owen to fix it. Jack appears to be taking a step back from the role of leader, to force Owen to come up with a solution as he was the one to cause all these problems. Owen feeling guilty wants Jack to take control, but Jack proclaims “this was never meant to happen.” He has no resolution to his problem and it’s at that moment we see Jack being vulnerable for the first time. At this moment he may have turned to the Doctor for help, however he needs to be that leader, delivering guidance. The situation quickly escalates as Jack fires Owen. The Torchwood team stand motionless as they can’t believe what they’re hearing, as their leader isn’t who they thought he was. Owen questions Jack, as they found out his secret past from the World War. How can anyone trust a leader who lies? Owen staggers away as he knows he’ll be RetConned in 24 hours and can’t face the fact he won’t remember Torchwood or being able to fix the devastation of the rift.

 

The Torchwood team need to find what Bilis is up to and quickly. They track him down to an antique clock repair shop in Cardiff. Bilis explains how he can walk through time, however it comes at a price. He claims to see the past, as well as the future and suggests to Jack and Gwen the only way to save the world is to open the rift. Jack errs on the side of suspicion but Gwen looks on slightly convinced by Bilis’s words. Bilis in what he portrays as an accident, shows Gwen a vision of Rhys, horribly murdered in their flat. ‘Cue Murray Gold running music’

 

Gwen reaches the flat, but all seems well. Rhys is cleaning the oven without a care in the world. Gwen in a state of panic tells Rhys to come along before tasering him to the floor. I do feel sorry for Rhys, first drugged, now tasered, Gwen has really changed her attitude to dealing with her home life / Torchwood situation.

 

After everything that has happened to Owen, he is now face to face with his vision of a love, long lost - Diane. She claims she is lost within the rift and begs Owen to open it. Now you’d hope by this point all the Torchwood team would have spoken to one another about seeing these visions and being highly coincidental, but the team are now too broken to fix any of their problems. 

 

Just as the team think they have some kind of control by keeping Rhys locked in a cell, a security breach opens the door and lets him out. Rhys spots Bilis and asks what’s going on, before Bilis brutally stabs him, killing him. Eve Myles plays Rhy’s death brilliantly. You can feel the pain of grief and guilt from Gwen as she knows she’s failed him. It’s a heart breaking scene that makes me cry every time I watch it.

 

Bilis’s plan all seems to be falling into place as Owen comes back to open the rift, no matter how much Jack convinces the team their visions of their loved ones are too strong for everyone to think clearly. In a last attempt to stop the team, Jack becomes almost the villain as he plays on their weaknesses. Jack takes it one step too far when he attacks Gwen “You’re so in love with Rhys you spend half your time in Owen’s bed.”Gwen in a fit of rage at losing her loved one, punches Jack in the face as Owen takes the gun from him. It’s a dramatic scene with fast cuts and close up on the team members and it really becomes claustrophobic. Jack ,in one last attempt to stop them is shot down by Owen to the horror of the team.  

 

There’s no turning back.

 

The Torchwood team open the rift with Captain with Jack reviving just as the rift opens to the shock of the team. Their whole world is turned upside down as the Torchwood hub is blown to pieces. It’s a brilliant build up as as Bilis Manger is waiting for them to unleash the evil onto the world that has been living under the rift. Abaddon. Now I know this is 2006 GFX and need to take this into consideration, however I believe there is too much happening right now. Bilis should have been the central villain or Abaddon. Abaddon does feel like the cousin of the demon in Doctor Who, The Satan Pit For me, seeing less of the monster, creates more of a sense of threat, as what you imagine can be more powerful than what is shown on screen. The shadow cascading over Cardiff killing everyone, is a brilliant and terrifying scene, as you don’t see what the beast looks like.

 

In the final battle between Jack and Abaddon, I take my hat off to John Barrowman for playing the role so well. He really makes the final sacrifice of his life so convincing and emotional, that you can feel the love he has for his team and the duty he shows in protecting them. It’s a powerful scene as Jack appears to have finally used up his remaining life force given to him by Rose.

 

Gwen doesn’t give up on Jack as he doesn’t revive as quickly as before. As the Torchwood team give up, Gwen accepts that Jack is not coming back. She kisses him on the cheek before only taking a few steps before Jack’s very weak voice says “Thank you.” It’s a complete fist bump in the air moment, which gives hope for the team and the audience. 

 

The final scene is very much silent. Tosh runs over to hug Jack.  Ianto in a comedic light goes to shake Jack’s hand before they kiss,  which makes for a sweet final moment between them. There’s one last resolution to fix as Owen steps in front of Jack. When Jack says “I forgive you,” you can feel all the pain and guilt just wash away, ready for the Torchwood team to come back stronger than ever.

 

Jack goes on one last trip with the Doctor, as we faintly hear the TARDIS landing in the distance. We as the audience know what happens, but for the Torchwood team… well they’ll just have to wait and see.

 

There’s a lot of things that need tying up in End of Days but I applaud the ambition of what it achieved with the limitations of both the budget and 2006 effects. With its flaws, it's a well paced story and filled with brilliant character development and emotion. It has to be said it’s a great conclusion for the first series.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

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