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25 February 2020

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

1.7: Greeks Bearing Gifts

We finally have our Tosh specific episode and it's about time.

 

The episode starts off in Cardiff 1812, with what appears to be just a young woman running through the forest with her solider boyfriend. Not quite… It appears she is a prostitute winding up the redcoat solider, as it seems he is a virgin or as she jokes about her name “My name’s Mary, like the Virgin.” The teasing of this doesn’t seem to settle with the soldier as he slaps her viciously across the face before Mary sees an ominous light through the trees, It's something straight out of an alien abduction film. There’s a brief chase before the solider goes to shoot Mary stating “Do whores have prayers?” - bit extreme in the circumstances - before making a harsh cut in the edit and going straight into present day. 

 

The Torchwood team are sent out to a building site (which if you look in the background you can see the filming vans.) as there is a skeleton found with mysterious wounds. It’s the team working in these situations that really show the difference between Doctor Who and Torchwood. It brings a sense of realism around death, the consequences of it and the investigation work that happens afterwards. Owen claims the body is a woman with a single gun shot wound to the chest. However in contrast to the discovery, the camera pans over the crime scene to what appears to be Mary in 2006 watching over them. Spooky.
What happened? Why is Mary still alive? All will be discovered.

 

Ever felt like a third wheel? Well Tosh is the perfect character in this moment as Gwen and Owen play around like a couple of teenagers in love. To Tosh’s horror she discovers they’ve accidentally kicked out the computer plug ruining her alien translation. Gwen and Owen are the perfect example of opposites attract, as Gwen apologises for damaging Tosh’s computer whereas Owen doesn’t seem to own up to any kind of responsibility and in fact becomes defensive by asking Tosh “Does the stick up your ass have a stick up its ass?”. Tosh understandably annoyed by this, goes out on the town on her own.

 

Tosh sitting all by herself still reminiscing about her interest in Owen, isn’t alone for very long as suddenly Mary walks up to Tosh claiming a random man is trying to hit on her. It’s interesting as an audience, knowing that something is amiss with Mary as she was alive 200 years ago and almost feel a need to protect Tosh. The mystery around Mary becomes more apparent as she suddenly knows Tosh’s name without Tosh telling her. As Mary explains the situation of knowing how she knows Tosh, it becomes clear from Tosh’s expression there's a deep trust now between them, over Torchwood and alien tech. Sound familiar between Gwen and Owen?

 

There begins a touching moment as Tosh in mid conversation starts spilling all of Torchwood trade secrets to Mary as they’ve had a glass or two of wine. It's a very quick bonding session which as an audience makes you question has something happened to Tosh, until she realises she shouldn’t divulge such confidential information. Has this plan of Mary’s failed, or is there a lack of trust again? To solidify this uncertainty, Mary gives Tosh a gift of a pendant which innocently she tries on, to shockingly discover she can hear everyones thoughts in the room. Tosh seems completely overwhelmed by this situation, however it would have been nice to see her come to terms in a more scientific approach, as she is the go-to woman for working out how alien technology works. The moment makes for a good bond between Tosh and Mary, but does it make Tosh too dependent on Mary too quickly? The close ups on the camera and the sound that closes in around Mary’s voice, makes it a compelling and intimate scene, that makes Tosh question her sexual identity, before Mary claims “That I want to kiss you.” Is it the pendant that makes it so irresistible to Tosh or the alien herself, Mary? There seems to be a lot that is not divulged or explained in this episode.

 

Ok, so this is where the alarm bells ring. Mary comparing herself to a god, while giving away a so called family heirloom, I don’t know about you, but that just sounds a little creepy to me. 

 

Tosh with all her common sense and justice is dissuaded from showing the Torchwood team the pendant, however instead uses it to read her friends thoughts. Is this a good idea? Maybe not around Gwen and Owen. This scene is a great way in showing how through a voice over of their thoughts, the tone and expression in their voices gives away how they’re completely hormonal for each other, while keeping composed in their facial expressions in front of Tosh. The way everyone keeps themselves so composed is a true testament to their characters as finally Tosh has to break it off as it all becomes too overwhelming for her.

 

As Tosh walks home, who should be waiting right outside her front door but Mary. Now if someone came to me in a bar, knowing who I was and then waited outside my house after work, I don’t think I’d be the person leaving the door wide open for them to walk in. However this very uncharacteristic trait of Tosh, allows Mary to walk straight into her house and then sleep together. Again it's never explained if it’s the power of the pendant that makes Tosh fall for Mary or Mary herself. There’s some very unusual camera transitions and angles that suggest some force is at work but again is never explained on screen. Mary finally bows down to Tosh to reveal her real name, Philoctetes.

 

The whole episode seems to be a theme of fun and games about who wants to sleep with who and peoples thoughts about being a James Bond villain, when it suddenly takes a dramatic turn as a man wants to kill a group of people and himself. Time for super Tosh to come to the rescue. The scene is a huge juxtaposition to the story, which would have been a great theme to stick with rather than the alien manipulating Tosh. You could have Tosh become this power hungry superhero who the team have to help, rather than the school playground scenario with the 'who likes who' narrative. This side plot is very quickly resolved and does feel very out of place in terms of how it affects the main story.

 

Back in Torchwood, Tosh can’t read captain Jack’s mind and the secret of the pendant is slowly being revealed to the team. Gwen, Owen and Captain Jack are playing around whilst trying to discover what happened to the skeleton found in the pre-titles. In another Cardiff arial shot later, Gwen is working out why Owen doesn’t want to look at her, whilst Jack is observing an alien object found at the building site and talking to the prime minister. Torchwood has a very good reputation of squeezing in as much plot minute by minute every time.

 

Mary in a last minute attempt to not face the Torchwood team reveals her true self as a ghostly purple skeletal alien in front of Tosh, in some kind of hope that Mary won’t have to face them as she fears she’ll be locked away. This is kind of true if you’ve watched the last 6 episodes so far. (Also anyone recognise the alien from The Sarah Jane Adventures here?) This again is where my mind wonders as to why Mary is still alive? Is she now just Philoctetes? Or both? Again a question never explained or as to why she stole Mary’s body.

 

In true Torchwood style and an aerial shot of Cardiff later, Owen quickly discovers his analysis of the body is completely wrong and is in fact the murdered remains of our redcoat soldier at the beginning of the story. The tangled web of this story is slowly unravelling itself as Tosh seems to be losing control of her own thoughts, as the camera spirals around Torchwood as if we’ve entered a nightmare. 

 

Mary contradicting herself now wants to get into Torchwood to retrieve the transporter. Tosh again agrees out of the blue; even with this being a very light Captain Jack story, he comes to save the day by showing how much of a fraud Mary is. It’s a nice touch to see that Jack can still have a huge impact on concluding complicated situations even when he’s not majorly involved in the whole story. It gives a sense he’s always watching and not as gullible as the villainous aliens make him out to be. Tosh focusing on Jack’s voice shows the true loyalty to the team and no matter what mistakes happen, Torchwood will always have their backs.

 

The final reveal of Mary being the person ripping out people’s hearts and getting her comeuppance rounds off the story in a neat little present with a bow on top. Jack tricking Mary into doing it herself makes it even more perfect.

 

Tosh owning up to listening to everyones thoughts makes a difficult but touching scene between the team. Tosh being completely apologetic about invading their personal space is equally balanced with Gwen apologising about how they are not the ones to take the moral high ground. It shows that actions have consequences; no human is perfect and that what the series is all about. Gwen telling Tosh “Love suited you,” is such a heartwarming place to finish their friendship at that moment.

 

Now I understand why Tosh smashes the pendant but it also makes me slight saddened. It would have been a perfect moment for her to stand up to her fears and explore them, however it's just metaphorically trodden on, to be forgotten forever.

 

Overall this episode has been very mixed in terms of themes and characters. Some didn’t live up to my expectations but there are moments which work so well and a key highlight for the series. We’re now half way through the series and moments are now becoming more established with the Torchwood teams friendship and Captain Jack’s mysterious personality.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

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[Source:
DWO]

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4/7/2020 12:04:59 PM #

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4/7/2020 1:05:48 PM #

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4/8/2020 6:26:20 PM #

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