Back to Torchwood for the first half of what was originally a double header to end the series. As we’re approaching the business end of this first run, it’s becoming a lot more serialised – there’s still always a mystery of the week, but the series arcs and overriding themes are much more pronounced than they are in proper Who. The show’s often at its least rubbish when it’s doing these long-running subplots – they’re the only bits that feel properly thought out, as the main storylines are so inconsistent.
But this had a good A-plot too, with Jack and Tosh sent back in time, and evoking memories of The Empty Child in the process. We’re also introduced to Bilis Manger, who’s so effortlessly creepy, he feels like a refugee from an old black and white serial. The twist of introducing the real Captain Jack Harkness is a good one; I remember being disappointed at the time that the explanation didn’t teach us more about our Jack, but this time round I just enjoyed getting to know the other Jack. He’s going to have some explaining to do after kissing a vanishing man in a packed dance hall in 1941.
It was nice to see Toshiko given more to do than usual – she’s never been this proactive before. She also seems to have taken on the role of Jack’s confidant, and it works because she’s just about the only one of Torchwood you can trust. As usual, I had little time for Owen’s selfish, twattish antics. Ianto, bless him, doesn’t really suit being too dramatic – it tends to make his face contort in most unnatural ways – so their scenes of constant bickering were starting to derail the episode.
Until Ianto shot Owen in the back. Now he’s my hero, and I can finally understand why they built a shrine to him.