Apologies for the extended delay. I must admit it’s been rather pleasant not having to watch Torchwood every night. At least now that I’m back at it, the end is in sight, and it’s not long before I can go back to talking about a show I actually like. The latest line of chalk on my wall represents an episode which is the Torchwood equivalent of Love & Monsters, where the slightly annoying man-baby with unresolved parent issues and small-scale alien connections is an obsessive fanboy of Gwen Cooper, rather than The Doctor.
This is a much less realistic, and more creepy, proposition for a character. As with most Torchwood episodes, there’s the makings of a good story there somewhere, but it makes too many mistakes along the way. The portrayal of Eugene did little to placate the feeling that the man was your standard stereotypical weirdo, with no hint of nuance whatsoever, and a back story that we’ve seen a thousand times before. I didn’t like the character, and I certainly didn’t like him sleeping in Gwen’s bed without her knowledge. His mate from the video shop was a complete twat as well.
I enjoyed the slow release of information as we followed Gwen going about her business, and I did find myself getting into the mystery at times. But I could have done without quite so many patronising voice-overs about how life is short but beautiful and we should make the most of it and not abandon our children just because they fucked up a quiz in primary school. I don’t care about this man, and I don’t need to be lectured by him. This is also the reason why the sad scenes of his grief-stricken mum fell flat – if you’re going to have a one-off character as your protagonist, they need to be at Sally Sparrow’s level in order for me to feel emotional about what happens to them.
I would call it a bold experiment, except that it was less experimental than the earlier Love & Monsters, and not as good. I wasn’t left clear as to the purpose of the eye – was it the eye that caused Eugene’s memory loss? He didn’t seem to learn anything extra about his past during his ghostly Gwen-stalking, only the things he’d recently forgotten, so what’s the point in it? And how exactly was he made physical again in order to save Gwen’s life when his body had been cremated?
And did he literally just float up into the sky and out in to space afterwards, in front of all his friends and family, after they’d just come back from his funeral? Because that must have been a bit weird for them.