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14 July 2020

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

2.7: Dead Man Walking

The themes of this storyline, compare very closely to the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit”.


From the  experience of the dramatic cliffhanger concerning Owen’s death in “Reset”, I was ready for the emotional impact of losing another Torchwood member. Even with Owen’s problematic traits, the other Torchwood members have a strong connection with him. You feel grief on their behalf, that is until Captain Jack comes running through the door claiming he has a way to save Owen.


The character I do feel most sorry for in this whole story is Martha. I was hugely excited as we finally had the chance to see her use her skills as a UNIT doctor to help the Torchwood team grow and develop into an awesome team. However, she’s sidelined in Owen’s story and then turned into an old woman by the resurrection glove. 


I do like the way Ianto has a sassy joke about there being another resurrection glove, as they usually come in pairs. It’s a throw back to series one where they tried to bring Suzie back and are now using the same technique with Owen. Miraculously Owen is back, and again he stays alive after the 30 seconds -  but what energy is keeping him alive? It turns out it literally is Death itself that is keeping Owen alive, using him as a portal to get through to earth to take it over again. The event leads to quite a dramatic cliffhanger style event, which is very oddly cut away from as Death goes to attack everyone; suddenly we’re in the hospital to look after Martha? I am assuming there must have been a scene to tie these together, but it leads to a somewhat abrupt and very confusing episode that feels very clunky in its story telling. 


The themes of death have been a recurring aspect from series one, as you can’t have a main character who is immortal without addressing the consequences of cheating death. In terms of Owen, he’s not like Jack. All his bodily functions have stopped working, leading to a somewhat revolting scene as he throws up beer in a police cell as he can’t digest the alcohol. It’s a really weirdly comical scene for the tone of the episode which is meant to be quite sombre with Owen trying to take everything in about being alive again. Its conflicting themes, tend to leave the scenes in this episode somewhat jarring and pardon the pun, leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


Unfortunately for me, the character of Owen hasn’t been that likeable, so it’s been really tough trying to feel sorry for him as the episode progresses. I found this especially in the scene when he emotionally hugs Gwen. It reminds me of the time Gwen drugged Rhys for cheating on him with Owen and eventually leads to no real consequences for either of those actions. It is also the case for Tosh who finally confesses her love for Owen, something which is cruelly dismissed by Owen. Again she is sidelined for the rest of the story.  


I really wanted to like this story as series two of Torchwood has made a vast improvement with its story telling over the last couple of episodes. There are some elements to this story which are very quickly glossed over or too easily resolved. This is where we come to the hugely clunky part of the story, the fight between Owen and Death. So Death needs 13 souls to transfer his energy to the Earth and live permanently there. So the resolution to the story? Owen, in a very awkward wrestling match, throws Death around for a bit as he’s a man with nothing to lose, quite literally as he’s not alive and somehow that defeats Death once again. There’s no real explanation to anything that has happened in this story, not even a throw away line of some techno-babble. The only thing that continues with the series arc, is there is something to the darkness of death that is coming. Does Jack know what it is and has he seen it himself?


How long will the Torchwood team be able to keep Owen safe or will this end up being a tale like the film “Death Becomes Her”? Only time will tell.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 



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