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Feigning normality since 1973

Torchwood Series 2 (spoilers)

Filed in: Doctor Who.

James Marsters, I suspect, is trying to do a tour of the major SF franchises. So far he's been in Smallville, Torchwood (which is as near as spit to Doctor Who) and ISTR he has a non-speaking appearance as Tarkin in Episode III. Watch out for him in the new Star Trek movie! So, now Torchwood series 2 is over, I give you the ultra-short episode guide...

"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang"
In which Angel's old friend Spike visits Wolfram and Hart and causes trouble for our immortal hero and his friends. (Ianto = Wesley, Owen = Gunn, Tosh = Fred, Gwen = Cordelia?)
In which we learn there's a deeply rooted alien infiltration which will rise up and attempt to wipe out the human race. (Someday, just not this season. Of course, global warming will probably get us first.)
"To the Last Man"
In which Torchwood shows it can recycle plots from its own previous season as well as plots from Joss Whedon shows. (Also, anyone Tosh fancies will die. Look out, Owen!)
In which we learn that strawman arguments aren't a great way to argue your point about becoming a vegetarian. (Although I guess at some point someone must have looked at a cow and thought "Hey, I could probably eat that!")
In which we discover that the end of episode reset button also comes in pill form. (I hope they remembered to retcon Rhys, or he's going to have a lot of questions for Gwen.)
In which Tosh's curse finally catches up with Owen. (Also, there's Martha and some alien bugs.)
"Dead Man Walking"
In which Owen becomes a zombie, only without the decomposition and reduced brain function. (Does that mean his immune system is still working? But that relies on blood flow, surely. Also, if he doesn't eat or drink, where's his body drawing energy from?)
"A Day in the Death"
In which Zombie Owen misses his bodily functions. (It could be worse - he could be staggering about going "Braaaaaaaains".)
"Something Borrowed"
In which we learn that being impregnated with an alien chest burster is no reason to postpone a wedding. (If I was Gwen, I'd blame the hormones.)
"From Out of the Rain"
In which we learn that PJ Hammond would much rather be writing Sapphire and Steel. (And that Jack's been part of a sideshow before.)
In which we learn that the rift works both ways and sometimes scoops people up and deposits them on alien planets. (You'd think Jack might have mentioned this earlier. Heck, you'd think He Who Shall Not Be Named might have mentioned it.)
In which we learn that standing right next to a bomb when it blows up results in minor abrasions and possible a broken rib (if you're unlucky). (Toshiko obviously wasn't holding a grudge against UNIT, considering she wasn't at all hostile towards Martha a few episodes back...)
"Exit Wounds"
In which we discover that family reunions can be more trouble than they're worth. (And also Cardiff looks remarkably unscathed after having been bombed the night before.)

In all? A pretty good season. Started getting a little shaky towards the end, with the likes of Fragments (the flashbacks were good though) and Something Borrowed, but the rest of the episodes were actually quite good, despite my remarks above. My favourite was "From Out of the Rain", which seems to have received somewhat of a critical panning, which I suspect is largely due to the fact it's the supernatural with a slight scientific dressing and shares a few plot points in common with PJ Hammond's other famous contribution to the genre of cult television. And if I can accept Owen being dead and yet walking around without starting to stink up the place with his decomposing, I can accept weird circus people who hide in old films.

I'm going to be honest and admit that I liked it more than I liked series 3 of Doctor Who. I hope series 4 is as good.

Posted April 6, 2008 1:45 PM


Some good episodes, Adrift being the best by some margin, but the final episode has far too many obvious plotholes to work. And that's ignoring the 'things happen even though they shouldn't, simply for plot convenience' rubbish about Owen in that final episode. Something Borrowed was just ghastly anti-comedy - apart from Rhys, the only genuinely likable character (whose light comic stylings work so well because they arise naturally and unaffectedly from his portrayal), Torchwood does comedy very VERY poorly. Out Of The Rain was lazy, unfrightening and screamingly pretentious. Just a big dollop of 'Don't bother giving any sort of scientific reason - a wizard did it' self-plagiarism on PJ Hammond's part. Sappahire & Steel was cancelled 25 years ago, mate...accept it.

Fragments would have you believe that a Cardiff-wide total power cut leaves *all* the streetlamps and building lights on, that a loss of phone and cell networks means that battery-powered walkie talkies and emergency receiver units (mandatory for all UK police detachments) magically stop working, and that the whole city is policed by about eleven officers.

Posted by: Jeff Stone | April 16, 2008 5:13 AM

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