Urgh. Even the name of this episode makes me shudder. This is shit, I don’t want to be writing a Torchwood blog. I don’t want to even watch Torchwood any more. Bring back the recons, at least then I could imagine some good television taking place. On the plus side, I remember this episode being the absolute nadir, so it might ease up from now on. It strikes me that so far, the very worst episodes have been the ones written by Chibnall. This does not bode well.
Owen is absolutely at his worst whenever Chibnall’s in charge, and he’s absolutely nauseating here. The gang’s little team-building game of revealing the last person you snogged was always doomed to fail with him around, and the mess that it descends into just highlights what a dysfunctional bunch of horrible people Torchwood are.
This is then followed by a moment so nauseating, it’s stuck with me for over a decade, absolutely word for word, despite only ever seeing it once before tonight. I’m not even going to say it, but you know which bit I mean. The only thing worse than that line from Owen is the fact that it fucking worked. I simply don’t buy that an otherwise smart and self-respecting woman like Gwen would find that scumbag so irresistible.
It makes her just as horrible as the rest of them. Rhys has so far been portrayed as nothing but nice, doting and understanding; a normal show would have portrayed him as oafish, controlling or unpleasant, so that the lead character is justified in ditching him for someone else. Not Torchwood, with its golden rule that absolutely nobody in the team is allowed to be remotely likeable.
Isolated moments of stupidity like this dominate my memory of the episode, because the rest of it is not a great deal of cop, and it doesn’t even try to hide the contrivances at the heart of the plot. It’s not enough that the SUV gets nicked because that prick Owen left the keys in the ignition, but when they discover it’s been parked at a nearby village, they point out that this is obviously a trap… and then they start walking towards the trap. Rather than, say, walking to somewhere with phone signal and calling in reinforcements.
There’s some tense and creepy moments to be found when they get to the village, but very little substance. The twist that the real monsters were people all along would be interesting were it not so predictable and well-worn, although the disturbing performance from the lead cannibal was quite good. The snag is that the show is effectively saying that Owen’s prejudices against countryfolk were right all along, which isn’t a great message.
Plus, of course, it ends with Captain Jack driving a tractor into a house, then leaping out and shooting a dozen people in about ten seconds, like he’s Bruce Campbell or something. I laughed, and I don’t think I was supposed to. Pathetic episode, pathetic series, pathetic writer. I’m a bit fed up with Torchwood.