Torchwood: Combat

Mickey The Idiot gets a go at writing an episode, which I distinctly remember watching at the time – it was Christmas Eve, and the start of a very busy period for Doctor Who and its soon-to-be-multiple spin-offs. Unfortunately, I also distinctly remembered the big twist that this is Fight Club With Weevils, and can now report that if you take the mystery away, the bones are pretty bare.

I remembered it being fairly tense and exciting by Torchwood standards, but this time round there was nothing to distract me from the toxic masculinity that permeates the script. Owen is the worst thing about this show, and all of a sudden there’s two of him. Twin wankers. It’s unfortunate, but in the time between the original broadcast and now, the Tyler Durden-lite soundbites that the estate agent spouts have been appropriated by neo-Nazis and rapists. Add to that seven years of Tory government and I have very little tolerance for privileged middle-class men whinging about how hard their lives of luxury are.

A recurring problem with this show is that everyone’s a bit of a prick. I despise Owen, so I’m not going to feel sorry for him just because he finally met a woman who he couldn’t control, and his descent into despair is a total overreaction anyway. Elsewhere, the only other character to potentially empathise with in this episode is Gwen, and I’ve got big problems with the way her character has developed.

I’ve disliked her ever since she started sleeping with Owen, and the tale of the series so far is her slide from innocent naivety to immoral selfishness. She crosses the line once and for all here, as she drugs Rhys so that she can confess what she’s done, and then becomes slightly unhinged and begs him for forgiveness. I believe it’s called the moral event horizon – once a character has acted so despicably, there’s no going back.

You can say that it’s the influence of Torchwood that’s corrupting her, and she’s inevitably going to have a good old shout at Captain Jack about this at some point. But it goes back to another point that I feel like I’ve been making virtually every time – a belligerent organisation of arseholes who ruin every life they touch is not a good thing to base a series around.


Good news: Tomorrow, I don’t have to watch Torchwood. Bad news: Tomorrow, I have to watch Donna Noble.


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