Sunday, April 06, 2008

Torchwood: S2E10 - S2E13

Oooh, a lack of blogging of late means that I have four episodes of Torchwood to review in one go... here goes. Probably spoilers in here, so tread carefully.

Episode 10: From out of the rain
Hmmm. A genuinely creepy episode. Or rather, the characters and concepts were really creepy, but the actual plot was a bit dull. I wish the character of 'Pearl' had been fleshed out a bit more, what actually did she do at the circus? What exactly was her affinity with water? And Jack was in there somewhere, but we never really found out why. Argh, so many questions, so few answers. A strange mix of interesting and disappointing.

Episode 11: Adrift
It seems that Ruth Jones is in every BBC Wales/BBC Three production at the moment. She's in Gavin & Stacey, was in Little Britain, Nighty Night, Saxondale and now here she is in Torchwood. Playing a character she isn't yet old enough to play (actually, I just checked, she's 42, so I guess she is actually old enough to play the parent of a 17 year old boy, must be me getting old...). She did a good job too.

Quite a moving episode, lots of what passes for emotion in sci-fi and a bit of a moral grey area dilemma, which is always good. Jean Luc Picard would probably have violated the prime directive here too. Everything was good up to the point when we saw part of Jonah's 20 hours a day torment, which was when it went silly. Nevermind, good effort.

Episode 12: Fragments
Four explosions (how did Capt John know that they'd split up and Gwen wouldn't be there?) result in four members of the team having life-flashing-before-their-eyes moments. Except only those bits of their life when they joined Torchwood. So finally we get the story of how Jack joined Torchwood. Good. And I suppose learning how the others joined was vaguely interesting too. But the Ianto story was just silly and is rewriting history, because he didn't have an interesting character in Series 1, so how come he had an interesting character before Series 1?

Episode 13: Exit wounds
And so it ends. In most end of season sci-fi episodes you need explosions, plot twists, the return of characters from earlier in the series and the unexpected writing out of a recurring character. Usually the entire world is in danger, or possibly just Cardiff if your budget doesn't stretch to the world. So nothing greatly unexpected here. I've been waiting for them to finally kill off Owen since he became undead about 5 episodes ago, so they finally did it. Good. It would have just got too annoying if they hadn't.

And now the yo-yo character of Captain John. He's good, he's bad, he kills Jack, he loves Jack, oh I don't care anymore. Please don't bring him back for Series 3, if there is a Series 3.

Now let me get this straight, Jack was buried about 6 or 10 feet down in the soil for 2000 years. During that time presumably he died quite a lot of times. But how come he couldn't manage to dig himself up even just an inch each time? Surely in 2000 years he'd have managed to get out? Didn't quite ring true... for a given sci-fi value of true, that is.

And finally the bad guy. 'Gray' is such a bad name for a character. How did they come up with that one? And I just didn't buy it. Sorry, but the explosions and mayhem were good, Gwen being a hero was good, the deaths of major characters were good, the Toshiko from beyond the grave bit was good, but the basic underlying plot was pretty rubbish. I suppose on balance that comes out as better than average, but it still disappointed.

Doctor Who next though...

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At 10:21 am, Blogger Marcus G said...

I've been out of the country for most of the series, and your blog and another friend have led me to believe this was a frustrating series and a bit of a let down.

So when I sat down to watch it all, I was really pleasantly surprised. The first episode was excessive, but then we settled down. And the stories were better than last time, the characters more lived in, everything worked OK. Not the best TV ever, but I actually enjoyed it, even when it didn't all add up.

It's problem? Hmm. There you are up in Scotland. And my other friend in the heart of England. This show is stunningly Welsh at times. I wonder if it is too Welsh? I mean, I love it for that - it felt like coming home, listening to the rhythms of the speech and seeing where they were. But I wondered if sometimes the meandering of plot and charcter and conversation were just a bit too localised for this show to translate well everywhere? It isn't just set down here, it really lives in this world. I don't know how it would have to change to work in Edinburgh, but it would not just be the scenery that changed.

They aren't saving the world. Just Cardiff. And if you can like it for that, try watching it again as a Welsh local programme and see if it feels any different. I think it may be better than you remember.

Alternatively, having had my expectations so effectively lowered, it simply succeeded in surpassing them!

At 10:26 am, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...


Sorry to have lowered your expectations (and given what you thought of series 1, I would have thought that would have been near impossible). Actually I thought series 2 was much better than Series 1, the characters were better fleshed out, the plots were generally interesting and there was plenty of humour when it was needed.

And yes, it is very Welsh. But that's not a huge problem for me. I did live in Aberystwyth for 4 years, remember?

A whole series review is coming sometime soon...



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