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18 August 2020

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

2.11: Adrift

We start off the episode with a young lad walking home, and he’s running a bit late. His mum played by the wonderful Ruth Jones, sees him walking on across the bridge and he appears to be safe. This is until she averts her gaze for a second, and in a flash of light, Jonah disappears, remaining unseen for a period of 7 months. The episode starts with this brilliant build of mystery and we also get to see the wonderful PC Andy played by Andy Davidson, once again. There is a wonderful moment as we get to see what Gwen left behind for Torchwood and this really makes me wish we had some more Gwen and PC Andy adventures, especially during the first series of Torchwood. It really establishes their love/hate relationship as they exchange a bit of banter about Rhys etc, and it demonstrates the tension they share since Gwen left their partnership in the police force.

 

What this episode plays so strongly with, is Gwen being the main protagonist once again after we’ve followed the escapades of Owen for the past couple of stories. It really showcases how far her character has developed and changed as PC Andy confronts Gwen; she dismisses the case as insignificant, whereas if she was still working with the police, she’d be straight on the case. The words appear to resonate with her and the next thing we see is that she heads straight round to the mother’s flat. Gwen’s character has developed so well through the series, confronting the way Torchwood works; the way in which she works as an ex-police officer really demonstrates a good balance, coping with all the otherworldly situations, whilst also maintaining her humanity surrounding the situation. 

 

However, this can also be her downfall. As Gwen takes up the task of finding Jonah, we get a lovely scene of Gwen using her detective skills along with Tosh. It’s a nice moment to see them both working together, as they later discover people are going missing due to negative rift energy spikes - the same case with Jonah. Captain Jack is very quick to dismiss the whole situation, which immediately raises alarm bells with us as an audience and Gwen, however the other members of the Torchwood team stick by Jack as they always have done, to Gwen’s annoyance.

 

With this whole situation overwhelming Gwen, she tries to take comfort in Rhys, who at this point is getting fed up with how Gwen has been treating him. There is a very clunky scene to begin with, that gives a huge amount of exposition as Rhys and Gwen begin talking about babies, Gwen changing her personality, PC Andy still fancying Gwen and it all feels very odd at the start of the episode. It only becomes clear about their argument, as we rejoin them later in the park as Rhys and Gwen both can’t cope with their incredibly different lives coexisting simultaneously.

 

Getting back to Gwen and her sense of justice and humanity, she doesn’t let Jack stop her from investigating  Jonah’s disappearance. Gwen and PC Andy team up and find out that the missing people appear to be living on an island in the middle of nowhere. Gwen tricks Andy and goes on the boat on her own. It’s a moment that appears showing she just wants to save Andy from the horrors she’s witnessed whilst working for Torchwood, and wants to keep him safe. We get to the island to discover that Jack, in a not so shocking twist, knew about the whole situation of the rift taking people. However, it’s what has happened to Jonah that really makes the episode the brilliant thing it is.

 

Jonah has aged 40 years. He is no longer the young lad who disappeared only 7 months ago, as he’s now an older, deformed figure, as if he landed on a burning planet. It’s a harrowing situation to witness, as Gwen has to decide if she tells his mum everything that has happened. Gwen confides in Jack for advice, which he ultimately says is not a good idea, but never explicitly says why. This is why I like Jack and Gwen’s relationship. Jack has lived through these moments before and he can only guide and advise. If people go against his advice, they have to face the consequences and this truly happens when Gwen brings Jonah’s mum to see him.

 

The scene is a very difficult watch, as Jonah’s mum faces what has become of her son. It’s the level of emotions she goes through of denial, hatred, fear and eventually acceptance that really pulls on your heart strings. However, just when you think all is right with the world, the carer suddenly mentions he’s relapsing into a bad moment, as Jonah lets out a primal scream -  they can’t do anything but cover their ears to try and block the noise. It transpires that Jonah had looked into the heart of a dark star, which has driven him completely mad, screaming up to 20 hours everyday.

 

The consequences of every mistake in this episode really hits hard, as Jonah’s mum confesses that whilst he was missing, that one day he would turn up unchanged. However, with Gwen revealing the true situation, all that hope has gone. It’s those kind of moments that Torchwood is so great at addressing and confronting,  something that Doctor Who could never do. 

 

So overall, Adrift is an odd one to me. The whole theme behind this episode, is one of pure Torchwood Sci-Fi genre and themes, so it should be the perfect episode. However, it’s only perfect in the last 10 minutes, making all the themes tie in for the pinnacle moment. The first half seems to be really disjointed and some of the dialogue seems very clunky in what it’s trying to address, however this has been one of the more stand out episodes and I can’t wait to see how series 2 finishes.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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