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16 June 2020

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

2.4: Meat

Meat” is an episode that guides you towards a pretty simplistic story line, well simplistic in terms of Torchwood, with an alien being chopped up and being sold to distributors to sell as cheap meat to go in all kinds of food. However, “Meat” throws the curve ball of Gwen having to finally make her choice of staying with Torchwood or choosing Rhys.


I always feel sorry for Rhys. He’s the boyfriend who always seems to be 5 steps behind not only the Torchwood team but the audience as well. As the series has been going on, we’re finally getting to terms with the Torchwood team and their dynamic as Gwen finally seems to be settling in, but there’s always been this niggle at the back of Gwen’s mind and that is Rhys. Coincidently, as one of his lorries has an accident, Rhys finally gets his chance to call Gwen out on her job, as he sees her investigating the accident.


The argument scene between Rhys and Gwen is the build up we’ve all been waiting for. The tension and the rapid cuts and zooms in the scene create the heated tension of their relationship. The one moment that makes me slightly annoyed is when Rhys asks if Gwen has been sleeping with Jack and she replies “all I ever asked, is for you to trust me.” Now this should have been the moment Gwen confesses about sleeping with Owen; it’s a moment from series 1 that seems to be completely glossed over with no consequences to her actions. However, it is finally nice that we have got over the secrecy between Gwen and Rhys, as it allows his character now to develop within the series.


Rhys’s plan was to find out what Gwen was up to and thereby he inadvertently becomes involved with the alien meat trade. What I think would have made this episode interesting, would have been if Rhys was directly involved with this illegal alien meat trading. It would have raised a great conflict in Gwen, deciding if her duty of working for Torchwood outweighed her love for Rhys, rather than just being coincidental involvement because  of the gang running the alien meat operation with Rhys’s distribution company.


With Rhys being involved, we get a kind of Scooby-Doo plot, finding out who these people are, why they’re selling the meat and trying to stop them. In true Torchwood style, it really tries to create a sense of relatable moments of humanity as again the Torchwood team face the decision of saving the poor alien whale that’s being used for the meat, or to end it and the horrific life it’s had to endure on Earth. Tosh does have what seems quite a throwaway line of ‘Its sentient,’ -  how does she know? It’s all brushed over very quickly. Unfortunately, the special effects haven’t aged too well as time has gone on, I always still believe less is more. The eye has been animated so well and you can really feel the true pain of the sentient creature as it’s being cut into. However when the camera pans back, the emotion is somewhat lost, as it gives it a cheapened look.


The whole episode is very quickly resolved as it turns out about only 5 amateur gang members are involved with this crime and are very quickly taken out. It leaves loads of open questions such as, how did they know this meat is edible and would grow back again and again? This is a very relationship centred story, more than anything before, and does explore how dysfunctional the Torchwood team really are at the moment, even to the point where Gwen would volunteer to be Retcond if it meant she would stay with Rhys. With all its’ flaws, it’s a great episode for the development of the characters of the team; with Rhys knowing more about Gwen’s life, what is now left in store for the both of them?

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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