I seem to have very little memory of this episode whatsoever, which is surprising considering some of the extraordinary sights it contains. I’d remembered that they find a second resurrection glove to bring Owen back, and that he somehow stays as a zombie for the rest of the series, but nothing else about the plot beyond that. I’d assumed, for example, that the “something waiting in the darkness” that Suzie mentioned was the big baddy from that year’s finale. Nope.
This was a mostly enjoyable exploration of an interesting idea – what happens to a corpse if a brain is brought back to life, but the rest of the body isn’t – but with an additional, more conventional monster-of-the-week story bolted on towards the end. It does the first part well; it’s entertaining, well thought through, and even well performed at times. But I wasn’t so convinced by the other stuff, and it weighed the rest of it down.
When I went through the list of common Torchwood pitfalls yesterday, I forgot one – comically stupid things happening. Things that are so bizarre and incongruous, and often so spectacular, that they’re the only things you end up remembering. You can have as much nuance and intelligence as you can muster for the majority of an episode, but it’s so frequently undone by one minute of madness.
It happened so often during this one that I decided to make a list. This is my list of the stupid things that take place in just one episode of Torchwood:
- Captain Jack going to a speakeasy to meet a little girl, who tells him where to find the resurrection glove by consulting tarot cards.
- Captain Jack strolling up to a church and kicking down the sign for no reason.
- Owen being filmed exclusively in Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Cam for a full minute.
- Owen projectile-vomiting an entire pint of Guinness.
- John Barrowman attempting to deliver the line “I guess I was hoping for a miracle. I still am.” with a straight face.
- The resurrection glove coming to life and attacking the team by flapping about at them.
- Ianto attempting to defend himself using a hockey stick.
- Martha getting Sara Kingdom-ed.
- Owen projectile-vomiting the Smoke Monster from Lost.
- Owen grappling with a giant smokey skellington.
- Martha getting better again for no adequately explained reason.
- The episode ending with Owen looking like he’s about to say something profound in response to Tosh asking what they’re going to do now, and then just not saying anything.
This episode was almost all nonsense, but hey – it was entertaining nonsense. I enjoyed it, and I’d take this over the po-faced, self-consciously serious nonsense of last year. I am, however, finding my tolerance starting to drop the longer this series goes on. It’s got to be nearly over now, right?