Torchwood: End of Days

The nightmare is finally over. The relief is comparable to when I finished my last recon, slightly tempered by the fact that there’s more Torchwood to come within a month or so. But for now, I’m finally free, and like Bilis Manger, I spent much of the last hour willing the team to hurry up and open the rift already, just so it would be over. But actually, it wasn’t too bad – it still had the trademark Torchwood stupidity and complete lack of joy, but it was fairly exciting and suitably ramped-up for a finale.

I hit it off with this episode early on, when Jack made the point of publicly bollocking Owen for breaking the world and generally being a twat. The glimpses of the chaos outside were good, but you could tell that they didn’t have the budget to show too much. The sequence in the hospital was great, but it was just a vignette – you could have had a whole episode about how to contain an ancient disease, but it was no more significant than the Roman soldier or the spaceships over the Taj Mahal.

The meat was in the visions the team experienced, and they were pretty effective. I may not have enjoyed any of the things that were back-referenced at the time, but I liked it all being brought back and tied up. It’s one of the few times this series where it’s felt like there was a coherent plan from one episode to the next; I think the show would have benefited from being as serialised throughout as it has been for the last few episodes.

Not that everything lined up neatly, of course. When Jack got shot, I was distracted by how long it took him to come back to life; it’s previously happened in seconds, but here they had time for a whole opening-the-rift montage. Also, I don’t really see how opening the rift prevented Rhys from being killed – fair enough that the people who’d been displaced from time just pop back, but his stabbing was merely something that happened at the same time as all this rifty stuff was going on, it wasn’t part of it.

I obviously enjoyed Owen being sacked – he didn’t deserve it on this occasion, but it’s like Al Capone getting done for tax evasion. I wish that just one person other than Jack had been able to spot that the whole thing was obviously a trap – I know that they’d all had their minds messed with by Manger, but surely this is exactly the sort of thing they ought to be trained against. But no, they have to go and Torchwood it up by doing the thing that they’d been told to never do, and what’s the result? A bad one. (Abaddon).

Yes, Abaddon, who’s The Beast from The Satan Pit, but without any of the interesting philosophical debates, or any of the tension in the build up, or just anything other than being a big stompy monster. It was all dealt with in around three or four minutes, which felt like a hell of an anti-climax and kind of undermined all the stuff about how catastrophic opening the rift would be. Pretending that Jack was dead-for-real-this-time was the very definition of false jeopardy – you know the whole way through that he’s going to wake back up, so why bother getting emotionally involved?

The excitement of the very ending, when the hand starts bubbling and we hear that oh-so-familiar noise, was extremely apt and made me empathise with Jack more than anything else this series – after hanging around with the Torchwood team for so long, I can’t wait to get back to The Doctor either. The strange thing is, looking back, that it doesn’t quite tally with the start of Utopia – it’s heavily implied here, with the paper flying around and the clear indication that Jack didn’t leave via the doors, that the TARDIS landed in The Hub and picked Jack up. Which would not have been as good an opening as Jack running over and clinging to the outside of the TARDIS as it dematerialises. Honestly, they can’t even tie in with the main show properly.

RATING: 7

SEASON AVERAGE RATING: 4.92

  • Torchwood series watched: 1 of 4
  • Torchwood stories watched: 13 of 37
  • Individual Torchwood episodes watched: 13 of 41
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2 thoughts on “Torchwood: End of Days

  1. Surely that shouldn’t be 37 Torchwood stories? Two series of 13 episodes, and then a further two that both focus on one long story… that sounds like 28 to me. Which would mean you’re nearly halfway through the whole show by story count! On the other hand, I’ve also been struggling through Class and I don’t envy you having to go through that eventually.

    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed reading your withering assessment of Torchwood. I thought it was fine at the time (but I was 14), and the Alzheimer’s scene in Out Of Time made me feel weepy last time I saw it. There’s only two other moments in the Doctor Who universe to do that to me, Donna’s ending (despite the dubious ethics) and Vincent and the Doctor (where I actually did cry and cry last time I saw it).

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  2. I agonised long and hard over the story count! It’s true that neither Children of Earth or Miracle Day really comply with the straightforward definition of a story that applies to Doctor Who and SJA. In the end, I decided that Children of Earth is one story (it’s effectively labelled Parts One-Five), but I’m going to treat Miracle Day as a series of separate ones. Mainly because otherwise I’d have to wait and deal with it all in one blog entry, which would have to be several thousand words. Neither solution is ideal, admittedly.

    Thank you for your kind words, it’s reassuring to hear that I’ve not put everyone off with a fortnight of relentless negativity! And yeah, I’m not looking forward to Class either – I never got round to watching the first episode when it was released, then I read the reviews and decided to put it off for as long as possible…

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