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28 April 2020

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

2.1: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

We kick series 2 off in true Torchwood fashion, with a Blowfish driving a sports car in a high speed car chase. I laugh at the fact that the Blowfish lets a little old lady cross the street before speeding off, then Gwen pulls up in the Torchwood mobile asking if she has seen a blowfish driving a sports car? The lady points in the general direction of where the car drove off towards, shouting "Bloody Torchwood” at them. Torchwood is meant to be a top secret organisation, so to then have a little old lady know who they are, If that doesn’t set the theme of what Torchwood is about, I don’t think anything will.


It’s all feeling like a very typical scenario, as the Blowfish holds a family hostage to try and get away from the team. This part does feel slightly clunky as the Fish recounts all the characters flaws. Without having Captain Jack with them, it’s almost like having a ‘Previously on Torchwood’ mid episode to remind the audience of who the team are. However just as the Blowfish vindictively taunts Ianto about not being able to kill him, who should pop up in the knick of time, Captain Jack himself with probably one of the most iconic lines of the show; “Hey kids. Did you miss me?”


We cut back to the famous Cardiff rooftop carpark, where an altercation is taking place. However at the same time, a sparkly rift appears with a very distinguished looking man appearing in a redcoat military uniform to confront the attacker. As the audience, you start thinking oh great, here we have another person who could join Torchwood, before he grabs the attacker by the throat and throws him off the top of the carpark. This mysterious anti-hero becomes more and more intriguing as the story progresses. He swiftly moves onto the local club for a celebratory drink.


Meanwhile back at the Torchwood hub the team are not happy with Jack’s disappearance. It’s never clearly explained for how long Jack left the team. It could be months, or even years? With time being reset in “Last Of The Time Lords”, this is another time, when we as an audience know a lot more about what happens with Jack and the world, than the Torchwood team itself. Is Jack keeping the meeting with the Doctor a secret because he doesn’t want to explain the trauma he had to go through to get back here? But there’s no time to confront this before the team zoom straight off again as Jack’s vortex manipulator beeps for the first time. Then, who should be leaving a message, but the mysterious redcoat man himself. There’s a great reference to ‘Star Wars’ before Jack shoots off again. This person seems very familiar with Jack, however maybe not the best of friends, as Jack doesn’t want the team to follow him. The Torchwood team have learnt too many times not to do this, as Ianto quickly whistles for a Taxi as soon as possible.


The bar scene is brilliant. It carries all the connotations of a true western movie, as Jack walks through the saloon style doors with the redcoat stranger at the other end of the club. Both of them have pure hatred in their eyes as they walk towards one another. You think this is going to be a full on fight before suddenly, they start kissing! It’s a moment that makes you think, why is Jack so familiar with such a brutal character, before they end up in an all out fist fight. It’s almost like they have a mutual level of respect, in a weird way, as they stop the fight once the guns come out. After a heavy drinking session, we see Jack’s face, hilariously showing his disgust and the Torchwood team nearly getting fired upon. The myserious man finally reveals himself as Captain John Hart (James Marsters) a Time Agent and former partner of Captain Jack. Again it’s a reference into Jack’s past. Is this something that’s going to be divulged more as the series goes on? 


Captain John explains the reason why he’s come to this time and place is to find three radiation cluster bombs, before they go off affecting the future of the world. Captain Jack has the look of a man who is going with this story, just to find out what’s going on, however the Torchwood team seem pretty convinced by it. I mean with everything that’s happened in the previous series, would you really dispute it?


The Torchwood team are still very cautious of this new stranger, especially Gwen. There’s a nice moment when Jack holds Gwen’s hand for comfort when he realises she’s got engaged. It’s a moment when you think, yes she listened to Jack about keeping some normality in life when Gwen actually says “No one else will have me.” It creates a sombre mood, as Gwen has not only been rejected by Owen but she’s lost that love she once had for Jack.


Jumping back straight into the action in true Torchwood fashion, they locate all three canisters for Captain John and split up to go and search for them. Now again if anyone has watched Scooby Doo, you know this is not a good idea. Surprise, surprise, Captain John quickly poisons Gwen once they found the first canister, smacks Tosh in the face and shoots Owen in the hip. Now I'm not saying it was stupid to leave Gwen on her own… but it was stupid to leave Gwen on her own. 


We then find Captain Jack and Ianto searching a very bland office, which Jack surprisingly treats  like a winter wonderland. There’s a lovely moment between Ianto and Jack as he finally asks Ianto on a date. Ianto agrees, but does it in a shy school boy way as he doesn’t look at Jack through embarrassment. It doesn’t take long for Captain John to find Ianto before shoving him in a lift to have Jack all to himself.


Captain Jack up on the roof (I mean where else would you find him), finds the last capsule. Jack having none of John’s game ,mocks him, calling the capsules “radiation cluster bombs” John in this scene, genuinely wants Jack to come back with him and there are moments that you think, oh Jack, don’t trust him, it’s a true conflict of emotions. John’s failing conviction in his speech, makes Jack throw the canister over the edge. It’s a moment you finally feel that Jack has one up on John but suddenly with a push and a “Whoops!” he shoves Jack off the roof. Now this moment is shocking, with pure dark humour, as you cut to a shot of Jack almost split in half on a concrete bench. This is the moment you know, nothing will stop John.


Tosh and the team use her tech to find Gwen in one of the containers and honestly this moment really shows how close and united the Torchwood team have become. They all use their skills to save Gwen before her organs shut down from the nerve toxin gloss.


We then go back to John in the Torchwood hub, putting all the pieces of the canister together  where it almost seems he’s won a swift victory, before the Torchwood team rock up in a bad ass fashion. It’s a moment when AC/DC Back in Black could start playing. John seeming surprised isn’t put off by this, until Jack rocks up. John really acts as if he’s just seen a ghost and in his disbelief seems to be out of his depth this time. It’s a fantastic contrast between the cocky man we saw at the start of the episode.


So what’s this episode about? John wants to steal one of the most precious gems in the universe, kills his lover and his lover takes revenge. It’s a moment that feels triumphant before he kidnaps Gwen, nearly killing her with a bomb. However, in true Torchwood fashion, they find a way to save her and the anti-hero gets away. It’s a feeling that this won’t be the last time we see him. 


It’s a brilliantly, well balanced episode and a strong starter for the second series. Welcome Torchwood series 2.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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