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Roderick Donald

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27 April 2021

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

3.5: Children Of Eath - Day Five

So, this is it, the final day of the most epic proportion in Torchwood’s history. With the death of Ianto, the whole Torchwood team has been ripped apart.

 

We start the episode with Gwen talking to camera on a crude video camcorder, saying she finally understands why The Doctor avoids the Earth, and would turn away in shame if he knew about their own children being sacrificed in such cowardice to the 456. The Government spread a message saying the children needed to be vaccinated and sent back to school, however, the families were not so easily fooled when only a select few were called upon to have this “vaccination.” In present circumstances in writing this review, it does reflect somewhat real-life scenarios that make your hair stand up on end and that is why Russell T Davies is so brilliant at as a writer, by creating that sense of realism, even in the most Sci-Fi universe.

 

When you think things can’t go from bad to worse, they do. The Government go ahead with their plan of kidnapping school children who they see as being “underachievers” and they are scarified for the planet. It’s a choice that should never be made or validated as a course of action. UNIT being curious as to what the reasoning is behind the kidnapping of school children, makes your heart drop to your stomach. The children are not being used so that the 456 can survive, they’re being used as a kind of drug induced “hit” that makes them feel good. With that knowledge, you realise just how all this sacrifice isn’t to save two species, they’re doing a drugs trade with planet Earth and that makes you feel sick.

 

The families start getting suspicious as their kids are taken away in coach loads and in a state of panic, the Government forces Frobisher to film his kids being taken away. With the knowledge of what they do to them, the harrowing scene of Frobisher reaching for a gun and taking his family into the kids’ room, before closing the door and hearing 4 single shots fired, is a moment that is so heart wrenching. This man only wanted to do good under the most manipulative system and he has to pay the ultimate sacrifice for it. Peter Capaldi excels in this scene and it makes for incredibly upsetting and hard to watch viewing. What cements this scene so perfectly, is when Bridget Spears is talking to Lois Habiba about the life Frobisher led, his passion and ambitions and no matter what happens after that scene in his house, he will always be a “good man.”

 

Children of Earth never lets you down in pace and action. We quickly swing back round to fixing the equilibrium of this whole saga in Torchwood style. Captain Jack works out that the kids and the 456 all work on the same frequency (due to the fact the 456 killed Clem in the previous episode) and if he can get the right tone, it would essentially blow up the 456 and kill it for good. The only problem is one child needs to be used as a beacon for this signal and who should be the only child in the area, but his own grandson. Torchwood likes to make these epic grand statements of impossible choices, something that is very closely related to Doctor Who with the Fourth Doctor deciding if he has the right to kill the Daleks. It’s a moral conflict that Jack feels he needs to take upon himself, maybe because he believes he owes The Doctor some kind of debt for his immortal status? In the end, Jack makes that final choice and kills his grandson to save the world. This isn’t the big celebratory ending we’re so used to; it reflects the world in a true way showing that not every story has a happy ending.

 

Just to add more heartbreak, Alice Carter (Jack’s daughter), can’t even face Jack and turns away in anger, and shame as she sees Jack sat in the corridor. How would you ever get over the fact your own father killed your child, even for the sake of saving the world. In this moment, Jack realises he can no longer stay on earth and decides to hop on a spaceship flying past to get far away as possible. It’s a heart-breaking scene as you can see the scared and upset look on Gwen’s face as it appears she will be taking over the role of saving the earth on her own.

 

The whole saga of Children of Earth has been an epic ride from start to finish. It’s still for me the perfect example of what Torchwood is all about. 


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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10 March 2021

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

3.4: Children Of Eath - Day Four

It was bound to happen in this review; we have now reached “that” episode in this series of Torchwood. Grab the tissues, this one is going to be incredibly emotional.

 

Things are not looking great as Captain Jack realises the implication of his actions by sending the kids to the aliens. Clement, in a frenzy of fury towards Jack, shoots him dead on the spot. Gwen really comes into her own here as Rhys says, “The man is dangerous,” but really, he is just terrified by the whole situation and Gwen can immediately see this. It’s a nice character development as even through all the sci-fi wonders in the show, she still has to rely upon her police instinct to sort situations and keep the peace. Jack reveals the reason why Clement was specifically chosen to be sent to the aliens, was due to the fact they wouldn’t be missed by anyone. It’s a real emotional twist revealing Jack’s reasoning and logic to fighting an unknown menace when The Doctor isn’t around - something Torchwood has become very adept at, explaining the consequences of actions in the Doctor Who universe. 

 

The 456 also clarifies the situation as to why it wants the children of Earth. In this very harrowing scene, it allows one person to enter the poisonous tank revealing a child hooked up in an entanglement of wires to the 456 itself; it’s a scene that could have been taken straight out of the movie “Alien.” It’s pure Torchwood sci-fi horror that makes your skin crawl and Peter Capaldi reacting to the news, really hits hard as you can see the pain, horror and anguish in his eyes. The final threat is made when the 456 says they have to hand over the children or the whole of the human race will be destroyed. It’s the impossible choice that has become the pinnacle theme of Torchwood through the series. 

 

There’s a touching scene between Ianto and Jack, as Ianto realises he doesn’t know the man he fell in love with and works with, at all. Ianto claims he’s only just scratched the surface of the truth behind his long life, to which Jack opens up, revealing he has a daughter and grandson who are captured at this moment. The scene really shows that Jack keeps a lot of secrets and acts as if the situation is under control  so as to not panic the people he loves, but it always comes at a cost later down the line. This is very heavy foreshadowing for future events that, when re-watching Torchwood, you realise how many clues are left for the audiences to pick up on and that’s down to some incredible writing by Russell T. Davies.

 

This is when everything starts to unravel with the world. The Government starts to seriously consider how many children per country as a “camouflageable donation,” otherwise known as people who they feel aren’t important, to give to the 456. Torchwood as a series, really reveals how through manipulation and exploitation, how the Government in their cowardice, try and resolve a situation. It always reminds me of the quote ‘The Doctor must look on this World in shame’ and in these situations you can see why. In a surprise role the wonderful Nicholas Briggs plays the not so wonderful character of Rick Yates. With some kind of reasoning, he convinces the Prime Minister that losing 10% of children per country would do the world good for its resources. Russell T. Davies always does a wonderful representation of realism in sci-fi when it appears any situation can be resolved by putting a monetary value on things. Lois Habiba, recording the whole conversation for Torchwood, makes them immediately aware of the situation and they know action needs to be taken without delay.

 

Now for Lois Habiba, the Torchwood agent that never was, this is her moment of heroism as she stands up in front of the whole board and announces with such confidence, Torchwood had been recording everything that had been said. It’s the pure, punch in the air moment, that really turns the tides of fate for a moment as they try and regain control of the situation. The music, the fast-paced editing, Jack sauntering into Thames House, we’ve gone straight back to the stylistic themes of Torchwood series 1 and 2 and it feels like home.

 

And here we are, we have reached the final chapter in Ianto’s adventures with Torchwood. Jack and Ianto enter the room where the 456 is currently being held. Jack appears to come to a revelation after their conversation in the warehouse that this time, the 456 will not be getting the demands it requires. There’s no holding back in the argument as Jack and Ianto take the final stance and ultimately again have to face the consequences of being a hero once more. The 456 not giving up so easily, release a virus into Thames House that will kill everything within it. 

 

Ianto’s death is one of the most shocking and brilliantly performed scenes in Torchwood. For Jack and for the fans of the show, Ianto was that anchor that kept everyone stable while the whole world seemed to change with every episode. Ianto was always the hidden hero in the background and in the toughest moments he always knew he would die for his service. It’s a brave choice to make to kill off such an iconic and long-standing character, however it shows that the world and Torchwood is an unpredictable place and no one is safe.

 

Tomorrow is the final day of the most heart breaking and intense week the Torchwood team has ever had to face. What will happen next? Well, we’ll soon find out.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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2 March 2021

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

3.3: Children Of Eath - Day Three

So we’ve finally hit the half way point through this most epic week of episodes and episode three  changes the pace of the series in a way that shows how the team are really bonding together again.

 

Hiding away in Torchwood One, Jack, Gwen, Ianto and Owen become the master criminals; they’re being treated as such to re-establish the old equilibrium of the team. Using stolen technology, Torchwood quickly delve into what the Government are hiding and why they’re so desperate to kill them all. This feels like a slightly slower paced style of episode, but it’s done in an ideal way, as there is a lot of information that is gathered in this part to really build up the dramatic tension of the last couple of episodes.

 

The Torchwood team work out Frobisher has a huge part in the whole 456 coming to Earth and that’s where the amazing Lois Habiba also comes into her own. Gwen gives Lois contact lenses which can read lips and because she’s built up such a strong relationship with Frobisher and Bridget Spears, it’s no guess that Lois becomes a key part to infiltrating the whole mystery behind what’s going on. The plan is all falling neatly into place for the team.

 

With how fast paced the previous episodes have been, it’s nice that we get a moment of calm and reflection about the whole situation. This is very apparent during the scene between Jack and Ianto, where the sudden realisation hits, that Jack will keep going even after Ianto has died of old age. It’s that moment of foreboding, that once you rewatch the episode, really pulls at your heart strings, knowing they will never have the life they were expecting to live. This is the curse of working for Torchwood.

 

While all this is going on, Jack’s daughter makes the mistake of trying to find out what happened to him after the explosion and inevitably gets kidnapped, just to add more heart breaking developments for Jack.

 

With all the kids pointing towards the sky, the 456 makes its grand entrance in London as it decends into a poison gas chamber which the government has created. The orchestral music, mixed in with the alarms blasting through the building, make this scene a pivotal changing moment, however all of a sudden it goes quiet. It really adds gravitas to the situation as the world has changed in a blink on an eye. The silence is gripping, as it is suddenly disturbed by acidic slime being thrown against the glass. It’s true Torchwood gross humour and creepiness that the series does so well.

 

Frobisher trying to do what’s right, has the whole world against him. Jack confronts him on the situation and reveals the fact that he knows the 456 has been here before. Clement McDonald is living proof of this, as with a sudden revelation he recognises Jack from 1965, when the first group of children were handed over to the 456. It’s a moment of reflection, as just like The Doctor, Jack has a dark and dangerous history that he continually hides from his team. It creates a great moment when Jack and Frobisher talk, as Jack can give his experience on the situation. However that’s not how the Government see it.

 

The whole story is tied into a truly impactful cliffhanger, as the 456 demands they hand over 10% of the children of earth. This most dramatic and brutal style of the 456 has revealed its face at last, but to keep everyone gripped, the reason still remains a mystery.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

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9 February 2021

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

3.2: Children Of Eath - Day Two

There really is no letting up for the Torchwood team. With Captain Jack now seemingly killed in the blast that ripped through Cardiff Bay, Ianto and Gwen make a daring escape from it as as well as the assassins on their trail. Gwen really comes into her own this story as a fake paramedic tries to kill her, Gwen really shows she has things to lose now, especially with her recently finding out she’s pregnant.

 

While all of this is happening in Wales, we shoot back to the unfortunate Frobisher who finally gets the details of the message being transmitted through the children, which is in fact being broadcast through the 456 frequency. The prime minister seemingly washing his hands of the situation, makes him a person not to be anyones best friend. I do feel for Frobisher’s character as he appears to be a man who just wants to do his job well, but has some horrible influences contradicting him at every turn.

 

Ianto brings his life more into the foreground, as he talks to his sister about the events circling around his life, from his dad pushing him too hard and Ianto just wanting to protect his family at all costs. This is something that becomes very apparent later on in the series.

 

Gwen and Rhys flee from Cardiff as soon a possible, heading for London. They stow away in a lorry full of potatoes, which provides the perfect location for Gwen to pluck up the courage to announce her pregnancy to Rhys. They all seem remarkably happy about it, including Gwen, almost making the whole Owen and Gwen affair from the last two series, completely forgotten about. However this does throw a few curve balls into the team dynamic, as there is more of a sense of risk not only to Gwen, but to her future baby.

 

You can’t have Torchwood without some good old body horror gore can you? They find Jack, well most of him, and it is some of the most toe curling stuff in the shows history. The people out to kill Torchwood, place his remains in a vault in a secret location, which seems extreme until Jack’s remains start glueing themselves back together in the body bag. John Barrowman really plays Jack coming back to life so well, as you can hear and feel the pain through the television screen. When you think all is well, to stop him from talking yet again, the assassins then pour concrete over Jack to silence him once more.

 

While all of this is taking place, for Lois Habiba her second day has been, well she has definitely thrown herself into the deep end. With her curiosity surrounding the happenings with the 456 and Torchwood itself, it appears she has now become a vital member for the Torchwood team. In a dodgy cafe, over a pie and chips, Lois meets Gwen and Rhys for a vital talk.

 

We then swiftly move onto the big breakout plan for Jack, which in true Torchwood style, has Ianto in a forklift truck throwing the big block of cement that Jack is encased in, over a cliff edge. Cliffhanger ending, anyone? Jack, like many other times, brushes the whole situation off as the Torchwood team finally reunite to fight their unknown foe.

 

The vital moments in this episode, are primarily what happened in 1965? What does the 456 want from Earth? Mr Dekker seems to be awfully calm about the whole situation and that creates a sense of being highly uncomfortable. 24 hours is all they have, but how bad can it possibly get?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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19 January 2021

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

3.1: Children Of Eath - Day One

Well, where can I begin with this one? What an absolutely jam packed episode. This is something we wholeheartedly expected from the writing talent of Russell T. Davies.

 

We enter day one of the 5 day episodic adventure with a school trip in Scotland. However, this doesn’t appear to be the typical trip to your local landmark. The whole opening of this story is very much an homage to the film “Close Encounters” as the kids are guided by a group of adults as they walk into the mysterious light, never to be seen again.

 

In true Torchwood style, we’re immediately swept to modern day Cardiff, as the Torchwood team (or the remains of them after the passing of Tosh and Owen), are in full action dealing with alien menaces in a hospital. However, their interference doesn’t go unnoticed as a curious Doctor Rupesh Patanjali catches Jack and Ianto in the act as they try and extract an alien artefact from a corpse. He seems very interested in the Torchwood team and after the events of the end of series 2, it feels like the team could do with an extra pair of hands and Gwen agrees.

 

Whilst all this is taking place, the children on Earth appear to have suddenly stopped. Gwen feeling as confused as the rest of us, goes to investigate the issue. It’s quite an ominous scene as the camera lingers on the lifeless eyes of the children. Suddenly, after a minute or so the kids suddenly spring back into life as if nothing has happened.

 

As this is all taking place, we are transported to the Home Office, where we’re introduced to Peter Capaldi - not as the Doctor, but as John Frobisher. Colonel Oduya (Charles Abomeli) tells John all about the incident with the children and how UNIT and Torchwood can contain the story - how wrong he was. We are also introduced to Lois Habiba (Cush Jumbo) who is on her first day and surpassingly is given some highly confidential information on a Post-it-note. To be fair with UNIT’s security sometimes, this doesn’t surprise me.

 

We zip to and from multiple storylines in one episode; we quickly head back to Gwen and Rupesh talking about aliens and how they impacted the world. Suddenly the children start screaming. It’s a horrifying scene as you see parents yelling at their children trying to get them to stop, before they start proclaiming “We are coming” all in unison. If that isn’t strange enough, it isn’t just the children, but a man called Timothy, who we later discover is called Clement McDonald, who was one of the original children in the opening scene, who also shouts into the distance. It's a fabulous establishing episode, gearing up to what feels like the Torchwood team's biggest challenge that they have had to face so far.

 

Not only do we have the main premise, but we also find out Jack has a daughter, who in Torchwood style is older than him. It’s a turn of events we didn’t expect to see, delving into Jack’s past once more, while Ianto has the Torchwood mobile stolen and Gwen finds out she’s pregnant. Also, Jack has a bomb implanted into him that blows up at the end of the episode and yes this all does fit into a one hour episode.

 

The episode is beautifully directed by the wonderful Euros Lyn, who has done many iconic Doctor Who stories during the Russell T. Davies era. It really builds up the whole premise of the grand scale of the situation and how the Torchwood team need to adapt and change to their new way of working. With Captain Jack seemingly gone, what are the team going to do now?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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6 October 2020

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

2.13: Exit Wounds

So here we go, we have reached the finale of series 2 and oh boy, this one will make you cry.

 

Chris Chibnall has really shone with the writing in this episode as the Torchwood team finally face their biggest adversary, and it’s not Captain John.

 

We start the episode with an end of the world/end of Cardiff style threat as loads of Weevils escape the sewers to attack the police station causing chaos across Cardiff, but what for? Amongst the commotion, John Hart kidnaps Jack and takes him back to Cardiff 27AD. In a shocking little twist, it turns out that John himself is under the control of Jack’s missing brother Gray, who has vowed to seek revenge against Jack after he let go of his brother’s hand as they were escaping an alien invasion. In a horrific turn of events, Jack is buried alive to suffer the equivalent fate that Gray faces himself, always on the verge of death. A slight criticism is when Torchwood finally find Jack again in 1901; he seems remarkably calm about the whole situation and going back to sleep for another 100 years. The whole issue about being buried alive seems like a whole story in itself without the sibling rivalry involved.

 

This episode shows the true skill and determination of the Torchwood team, as Gwen immediately takes command of the situation as Jack is taken away. Her police officer duties really display themselves, as she orders everyone to do their job the best way possible. However it’s also touching to see her vulnerable side, as the whole situation becomes overwhelming and she seeks Rhys for that little bit of security as he always has done. The scenes with Tosh and Ianto are precious, as it’s nice to seem them working together to take down the so called ghosts in the Cardiff server room, which turned out to be people dressed up. 

 

The whole situation seems to be clearing up quite nicely, as the Torchwood team take down the Weevils and try to keep a nuclear power station under control (after a huge explosion rips through Cardiff). Torchwood never fails in slowing down the pace in its 50 minute time slot. However, this wouldn’t be a good old fashioned episode without something going horribly wrong and this is when we’re faced with Tosh getting shot by Gray.

 

The whole episode revolves around the death of Tosh and Owen. Tosh whilst not telling Owen that she is also dying, tries to save his life from being obliterated by radiation. This is why Tosh is such an incredible, bold and down right legendary character. She’s stood by all of her team, even when they’ve treated her like the outsider and she followed her duty to her very last breath. The scene between Owen and Tosh as they both die, is beautifully written by Chris Chinball, as they reminisce about the times they should have taken the opportunity with life. It really gives a true display of their relationship with one another and actually shows that Owen really does care about life. Tosh dying in the arms of Jack, just proves how much Jack wanted to take care of Tosh even after her problems with UNIT, she was family and he wanted to protect her, but Torchwood is just too dangerous.

 

The finale scene of Jack, Gwen and Ianto watching the video of Tosh really gave her character the closure she deserved. It’s a different perspective watching how the audience would have felt during the time, not knowing if the series was going to carry on etc. Torchwood has its' happy and its’ sad times and in a weird sci-fi sense, really reflects the world we’re living in right now. 

 

Finishing this series, with everything that has happened and developed with everyone, what it really comes down to is Tosh. And you know what…


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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15 September 2020

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

2.12: Fragments

We start this episode again in true Torchwood fashion as they’re on a mission to find a mysterious message originating from an abandoned warehouse. In a twist of events, it turns out the team have been lead straight into a trap and a huge explosion happens as a bomb goes off. Buckle in for this one as all their lives flash before their very eyes.

 

The first person to have the flashback is Jack and references how he ended up becoming a part of Torchwood today. It’s still never clear how Jack managed to get back to Earth, however we see him during the victorian era getting brutally killed again and again by what turns out to be some of the earlier Torchwood agents. After experimenting with Jack and finding out he can never die, they take the opportunity of convincing him to join Torchwood, more for the sake of a stable job and money. In addition, his future is read to him and he finds out he won’t be seeing The Doctor for at least another 100 years, so by joining Torchwood, well what does he have to lose? It does throw a few paradoxes into the works, such as; what did Jack do during the war when he knew he had already encountered The Doctor and Rose? Also how did Jack not meet previous incarnations of The Doctor when UNIT were fighting the Yeti’s, Cybermen and even The Doctor being their scientific advisor? It would have been nice for some explanation as to why he had to meet The Doctor at a specific point otherwise consequences could happen. Moving on, Jack is eventually forced to take charge after his commander commits suicide after killing the entire team in 1999. It was an atrocious way to gain ranks in the team, but explains hugely why Jack is very protective over his Torchwood team now.

 

We then move onto Toshiko’s introduction to Torchwood and what a twist and turn of events takes place here. You could write an entire episode on what Tosh had to go through. Her mum is kidnapped by a criminal organisation, who force Tosh to build an alien weapon -  the sonic inducer - which is then taken down by UNIT themselves!? Tosh goes through absolute hell whilst locked up in the UNIT cells, with all of her basic human rights taken away. No wonder she has such a close bond to Torchwood as a company, as Jack comes in to save the day, with the caveat that she has to use her skills to benefit the Torchwood team. It again does leave a huge question as to why Tosh can’t see her mum after all of this? She had been retconed to save her sanity, so why can’t Tosh keep Torchwood secret just as Gwen did with Rhys?

 

Next, we have Ianto Jones. We all know that Ianto used to work at Torchwood in London. This was before moving to Cardiff to use the facilities to save Lisa as she was partly converted into a Cyberman. However, we get an almost comedic style approach as to how he transferred from London to Cardiff. He bumps into Jack and helps him fight a pterodactyl, brining him coffee sporadically before Jack finally gives him a job. It gives a bit of a reason as to why Ianto didn’t have a more technical role at the beginning, as the only job Jack could think of  for him was making coffee. Unfortunately the style in which it’s done, feels like it undermines the implications of why Ianto wanted to join Cardiff Torchwood, when we all know he was doing it from serious intentions.

 

We then finally get Owen’s backstory. This is the one that shocked me the most, as we find out that Owen was actually going to get married. It was a plot twist I didn’t expect to see. Unfortunately Owen’s fiancé has early onset alzheimer’s, which is heart breaking to see and explains why he was so passionate about becoming a doctor in order to help seek some kind of a cure. However in Torchwood style, it turns out that an alien being inside her head is causing the condition which inevitably kills her before Jack can get there in time. Jack tries to help Owen overcome the situation by making him think his fiancée died in a peaceful way, but the horrors were too great. Jack and Owen have a confrontation in the graveyard before Jack takes Owen under his wing like a father, and takes him away to start his new life in Torchwood. It does reveal why Owen keeps a lot of his emotions bottled up and his relationships have been far from straight forward.

 

So as we reach the end and the Torchwood team escape with minimal damage, which is a little bit unbelievable with the massive explosion that happened, they find out it’s Captain John Hart who was behind the attack. In true Chris Chibnall style, the villain has returned for the last episode to face the final fight. Overall this episode is a great insight into the Torchwood team once again and it gives a sense of impending doom, as we finally know what these characters are all about.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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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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11 August 2020

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

2.10: From Out Of The Rain

From Out Of The Rain feels like a true Torchwood episode once again. This time around, we’ve left behind the very heavily character driven stories which we’ve had recently. It was nice for the series to step into the weird and wonderful themes of horror once again. With this episode written by Peter Hammond who wrote the amazing Small Worlds, it was no surprise that it was very reminiscent to series one.

 

The start of the episode builds up the creepily dramatic flare with the Ghostmaker, a stereotypical showman with his top hat and big moustache, welcoming all people into his circus. It’s a true classic horror in the way it is filmed, feeling as if you’re someone wondering around the circus, as everyone looks towards the camera. The Ghostmaker hands a girl a ticket to the circus when all of a sudden, the whole circus disappears, leaving only the girls mother behind. This story feels like it could be straight out of a Sarah Jane Adventure series.

 

In true Torchwood style, they are already on the case, as Ianto finds some rift disturbance at an old cinema he used to go to as a kid. As they watch the film believed to be old footage of Cardiff, the Ghostmaker mysteriously appears, gesturing to the audience to come up to the screen. The themes of the circus living within the film is a truly horrifying concept, as it suggests the possibility of the circus performers eternal life. In a shocking twist, it turns out that Jack went undercover to find out what these circus performers were up to 80 years ago, when many people went missing when the circus came to town. This would have been an amazing path to take to delve into Jack’s history once more as he tries to cover up who originally sent him. That would have been the moment to develop Jack’s character just a little more, but unfortunately was missed.

 

What’s nice about this story, is it’s very heavily lead by Ianto as he seeks to find out who these people are and why they’re taking the souls and the very essence of their being. It really gives Ianto a leadership side which we haven’t seen previously in stories. If we wanted to go down the more character driven route as with Owen previously, this would have been Ianto’s time to shine.

 

Another missed opportunity was with the Ghostmaker and Pearl. The idea of these two going around capturing life essences from people is great, but the threat of the whole situation seemed incredibly mild in comparison to other events the Torchwood team have endured. What would have been amazing, was if the circus had already re established itself travelling around the country and everyone started to disappear again; it would have created more of a deadly impact for the team to sort out. However, the resolution to this episode is a quick finale as if they were running out of time for the episode. 

 

The Torchwood team quickly work out the only way they can stop the night travellers from taking the life of any more people, is to destroy the film they were living in. It’s a great concept, but it would have been more amazing if the team had to work this out in a last minute escapade. It’s never really explained why the circus people are doing what they are doing - they just seem to appear and not do all that much. What would have been amazing is if they turned out to be some kind of alien water vampire, or was that the plot of “Waters of Mars” I’m thinking about? Instead, we get a very speedy, Jack saves the day again ending, which has become a repetitive problem throughout Torchwood as a series.

 

Overall From Out of the Rain had a great concept that could have been helped with maybe this being a two part story. There are so many opportunities to establish character and plot, however it was all very rushed to fill the 40 minute time frame. There is a great little twist at the end of the episode. Just as Jack is about the put the flask away that captured the souls for the circus performers, a boy and his dad find another film canister with the same logo as the flask has on it. Has Jack really defeated the night travellers?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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28 July 2020

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

2.9: Something Borrowed

We start the episode with a flash back scene to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang where Gwen announces her engagement to Rhys. It was about time we finally faced the family of Rhys and Gwen, as keeping their lives and Torchwood separate couldn’t last much longer.

 

The best way I can describe this episode, is a more adult version of “The Wedding of Sara, out to kill Gwen who has been impregnated by a murderous shape-shifting alien - pure Torchwood. It’s a great way to make fun of soap opera style weddings which always end in some kind of disaster but with a sci-fi element to it. Gwen wanting the marriage to take place no matter what, really shows a strength of character and the love between Rhys and Gwen.

 

I do have to mention the issues of Gwen’s relationship with Owen, as again the affair from series 1 is never brought up, even at the key moment when Gwen has to be honest with Rhys about getting married because she loves him. What makes the situation even more awkward is in fact that Owen is there at the wedding with the pair of them. I do feel hugely sorry for Rhys in the series, as his character gives so much love and dedication, even to the point of marrying someone who is pregnant with an alien. He’s given no kind of redemption story arc for everything that has happened without his knowledge. This has been a problematic theme throughout Torchwood, but I’ve come to terms  with the fact that it’s something that will never now be resolved.

 

This episode reinforces the Torchwood cheesy storylines we’ve come to know and love. The shape-shifting alien mum out to kill Gwen, almost feels as if it was toned down in respect of the blood and gore which would fit in well with a “Sarah Jane Adventures” story line. To have the shape-shifting alien hide in between their relatives and even taking the form of Rhys’s mum, does create a somewhat comical effect as in a lot of Scooby-Doo style chase scenes that would work perfectly with the “Doctor Who” episode “Love and Monsters.” Again the problems are very quickly resolved with the Singularity Scalpel as it zaps away the alien baby before the mum can tear open Gwen’s stomach to get to it. The Singularity Scalpel is becoming as common as the sonic screwdriver from “Doctor Who.”

 

A lovely final moment for the relationship between Jack and Gwen is when Jack finally takes out the shape-shifter and he picks her up as a trophy. Realising that Rhys is there, Jack places her on the ground and puts Rhys and Gwen’s hands together saying “The hero always gets the girl.” Again it’s the final resolution that is needed for their relationship now that Gwen is committed to Rhys and loves him, so he should be the man with whom she celebrates her victories.

 

It does start to feel that Torchwood has found a truly good balance between the gore, sex and violence from its previous series. This is very prominent with Phil Ford’s writing, as he creates some fantastic one liners throughout the episode - “That’s what I love about Torchwood. By day, you’re chasing the scum of the universe, come midnight, you’re the wedding fairy.” It’s a wonderful send off, as the Torchwood team retcon the entire wedding so nobody will remember the event thats happened. That will be fun to explain when the wedding photos are finally developed. 

 

We finish the episode with a touching scene of Jack looking through all his past photos, which appear to date back to the late 1800’s. One is of what appears to be a wedding photo, as Jack softly smiles, reminiscing about his past life and why he feels so comfortable letting Gwen marry while she’s working in Torchwood. It’s a nice send off to the episode as the camera pulls back, and the world is right once again. 


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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21 July 2020

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

2.8: A Day In The Death

A Day in the Death is a very solid story about what I’m calling the how Owen is coping with being dead saga. This episode heavily surrounds the character development of Owen, from being the arrogant man we saw in series 1, to a more understanding but still problematic character in the way he now has to come to terms with being dead.

 

The story delves into the world of death and the problems that surround life and how those two should intertwine. The great way in which this story is depicted, is because it’s from the narrative view point of Owen, as he sits next to Maggie, a woman who is about to take her own life. But what’s Owen doing there? Was he there first or was he there to help Maggie? 

 

We experience this story as a historical event, so whatever happens as the story progresses, Owen will always end up on the rooftop. It’s quite worrying to see his character stripped of his Torchwood duties as Jack is worried about Owen’s more fragile personality and physical state. Again in a retaliative response, Owen gives up everything that makes him seem human; his food, booze, aftershave and even the loo roll. He throws it all away as if he’s giving up all his material possessions and facing the harsh reality that he won’t be able to enjoy life the way he does anymore. The music progresses to a repetitive tune as he faces these facts. Owen not taking this very well, lashes out at Tosh yet again, as she pops over with a pizza, just to make sure Owen is ok.

 

Owen finally giving in, heads towards Cardiff Bay, runs and jumps into the bay to try and drown himself. However, he suddenly opens his eyes and pulls himself out as he realises he can’t drown if he can’t breathe. Captain Jack, conveniently in the same area at the time it happened, watches Owen as he pulls himself out of the bay and queries for how long will this keep going? 

 

The whole theme of Owen being dead, heavily impacts the story, as millionaire alien artefact collector Parker (played by the wonderful Richard Briers) has a device that’s going to blow up the whole of Cardiff. Again, we have the typical Torchwood Mcguffin, as this alien device must be stopped. Owen is the only man who can stop Parker using the device, but he has to get through the heat sensors in the house without being detected. Owen and Parker have quite a nice but short bonding session over the themes of death and the resemblances it has with being alive. Being in a dark room, all alone, it all seems to be working well until Parker has his fourth and final heart attack, dying in front of Owen. To Owen’s horror, he can’t give him CPR as he doesn’t breathe and therefore can’t save Parker.

 

So this appears to be why Owen is on top of the roof with Maggie. It also turns out that the alien device is called the Pulse and it isn’t actually a nasty bomb but a message from beyond the stars, from aliens Torchwood haven’t met. Owen uses this symbolic moment to help Maggie, who we later find out is trying to kill herself as her husband died on their wedding day. It’s symbolic of a message of hope for the both of them, to carry on living and reflect on their past, which they’ve both done in this story.

 

What this story does so well, is it finally gives Owen some kind of resolution. He accepts the fact that he is now dead, because to be fair, for how long could the woe is me storyline play out before the audience themselves find the repetitiveness of the themes uninteresting. The major flaw for me, is not a reflection on this specific episode, but  the overall issues of Martha returning. Unfortunately, I feel for the past three episodes she was in, her character was heavily underused as it played under the Owen accepting death story arc. I wish we had one more episode with Martha after this, to establish her relationship with the Torchwood team, as Jack says she can come back at any point.

 

With the Torchwood team back to their usual antics, where will this take the final few episodes of the series? Only time will tell.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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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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7 July 2020

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

2.6: Reset

We start the episode with a mysterious VIP visitor who Jack is very excited to see and who would Jack be most excited about? Well it had to be Martha Jones played by the wonderful, Freema Agyeman.

 

What’s amazing about this episode is that you can feel and see the love and friendship Martha and Jack have from their time travelling with the Doctor. It’s the kind of chemistry you get when you see a friend to whom you haven’t spoken for a long time, and when you finally meet, it’s just as if hardly a day has passed. Martha has gained a job at UNIT as a doctor and this makes you cheerfully punch  the air. You know Martha  has just got on with life after The Doctor and has become a hugely successful person in the process. It’s a great piece of character development which is amazing to see in the spin-off series that’s so highly regarded.

 

Back to the story, Martha is drafted in by Jack and she’s found a connection of mysterious deaths that appear to be unrelated until you look at the finer detail. It’s nice to see Martha use her medical knowledge in ways we didn’t get to see in “Doctor Who.” Owen and Martha quickly form a partnership as they’re working together to find out what’s been injected into the victims bodies to kill them. Naturally, it would turn out to be an alien threat, manipulated by humans for their own gain. In this case, it’s small bugs that appear to cure all kinds of cancers, diseases etc in the human immune system. But what doesn’t make sense is why people are being injected with bleach to hide the evidence. Just before one of the victims dies, she tells Martha and Owen about this place called The Pharm, that is using volunteers in their clinical trials to help with their medical history. Of course, where there’s a cure, there’s some kind of money making scheme behind it and that’s when we meet Professor Aaron Copley, the chairman of the whole operation.

 

Martha volunteers to spy on the medical trials to find out what is going on and to recover the missing medical records from the victims that were killed. During the process, she is quickly discovered after being chased by one of the alien creatures being used to create the miracle cure. What’s also great in the episode, is Martha is still affected by what happened to her on her travels with the Doctor - her blood cells having unique properties manipulated by the Time Vortex. This could be a theme to a whole episode in itself. Torchwood usually has its famous McGuffin’s, as Owen luckily has a device which can get the alien creature out of Martha just in the knick of time, before it bursts out of her stomach in “Alien” style. 

 

Reset delivers the very conventional Torchwood plot of the big baddy who needs to be stopped no matter what. The narrative of this episode parallels that of “Meat” where the alien meat was being chopped up to be sold on the  open market for money. What makes the difference, is Professor Aaron Copley thinks that experimenting on aliens and humans is ok if the outcome means he can save the world in the future with this new cure.

 

Just as you think the Torchwood team has just saved the day once again as they shut down the facility, Professor Aaron Copley steps out from the darkness with a gun, ready to take vengeance for destroying his life’s work. Owen, no stranger to facing a gun, steps forward to disarm the situation. As the audience, you believe he’ll come out fine as they always do in Torchwood, until he takes a fatal shot to the heart. It all doesn’t seem real until Martha confirms “He’s dead.” It’s a moment that really is shocking as we’ve just got Martha back and everything felt like it was becoming a bigger family unit; it’s all cruelly taken away in an instant. Jack immediately fires back in anger killing the Professor on the spot. The camera then appears to be flying higher and higher into the air, as if it were following Owen’s soul to heaven.

 

Knowing how Torchwood deal with scenarios, I don’t think this will be the last time we see Owen.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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23 June 2020

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

2.5: Adam

We begin with the Torchwood theme, but hang on a minute, there’s a new addition to the team, who we as the audience, have never seen before. I love that the opening has immediately smashed the 4th wall perspective by adding this new team member, Adam, to immediately create a sense of confusion, implying he had been there since the beginning of the series.

 

The whole concept of this episode is the theme of, “What If?” What if Tosh became a more confident woman; what if Owen was more of the reserved nerd. It’s an interesting twist we’ve seen a fair few times with superhero/ Sci-Fi genres, to really change the dynamic of the team and how they’re going to combat this. I love that with Rhys being more involved with the team, there’s a sense of gravitas and consequence to their actions and how they need to keep the team safe. The whole first half of this episode does leave a long trail of what does Adam want and why has he decided to become part of the Torchwood team in this way? Again as the audience, we’re treated as the people who always know more than the team and for me, I find myself shouting at the TV as soon as you know they’re being used or put in imminent danger. It’s a kind of weird,out of body experience watching the episode. 

 

Adam is an alien existing by living in other people's memories. Everything all seems fun and games as the team carry on as normal, up until Gwen fails to recognise who Rhys is. After a very intense fight between Gwen and Rhys, Jack turns the tides and there is a compromise between them both. Rhys almost has built a slight sense of trust, despite everything else.

 

In an interesting turn of events for this story, we delve into Jack’s history and where he’s come from. Adam tricks Jack into remembering his past which he has long forgotten. With Adam’s alien powers, he’s able to access Jack’s memories of losing his family when he was younger and we as an audience, start to get that understanding of why Torchwood means so much to him. The scene of Jack letting go of his little brother’s hand, is heart breaking. Jack Montgomery, who plays young Jack, puts so much into showing the pain of his mistake and the burden this places on  himself as the older Jack. Torchwood is the stable family he found enabling him to recover from his past.

 

You feel Adam is almost helping the Torchwood team until - well let’s just say Ianto is the character who takes a considerable chunk of heartbreak and emotional torment in this episode. We’ve seen up until half way through the episode, that Adam has given the team good memories, as well as exploring forgotten memories; but what happens when things don’t exactly go Adam’s way? Ianto in his dorky way, kept a diary of all the teams adventures and finds that in a not so shocking twist, Adam isn’t in any of the entries. This is where the episode becomes incredibly dark and twisted. Adam not only has the ability to provide good memories but also bad ones. In a horrific montage of images, he leads Ianto into thinking he’s a predatory murderer, making him believe all the false memories. It turns into a scene which is incredibly uncomfortable to watch but Gareth David-Lloyd really puts everything into the emotions and you can feel the pain and anguish.

 

This is the last straw for Captain Jack. He takes Ianto to a lie detector to prove he didn’t murder anyone and also convinces the team that Adam can only exist by using their memories. They realise the only way to get rid of Adam, is to retcon themselves. However, Adam is not quite done yet. He convinces Captain Jack to relive family memories and the good times they had, however, Adam tries to distort them and leaves Jack with a conflict; he either lets Adam live by remembering these memories or  he has to forget everything he’s discovered about his family. In the end, Jack makes the ultimate sacrifice for the team by forgetting the last 48 hours as if nothing happened.

 

The ending has a sombre tone as the team wake up after taking the retcon and can’t remember anything. At the end, Jack finds an open box which belonged to Adam showing the sands of Jack’s home world;  however, with Jack’s memories gone of his home world, in confusion, he places it back where it was found. It’s an ending that breaks your heart completely.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

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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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