On the version of the DVD I’ve got (bollocks to forking out on the Bluray for this), each episode is preceded by a minute-long introduction from John Barrowman and RTD. I don’t even want to watch Torchwood, let alone some people banging on about Torchwood. More amusingly, it seems that the episodes themselves now start with a bit of introductory text that says: “One day, no one dies. The next day, no one dies.” The next day, no one dies. The next day, there was the incident with the pigeon. The next day, no one dies. The next day… I mean, I could go on.
As you may have already gathered from my choice of subject matter, this episode was really boring. It wasn’t egregiously bad, but it’s just a lot of talking, most of which was done by people we don’t know and who don’t seem to have much about them. It’s no longer a series about a bunch of Welsh people fighting aliens once a week, it now seems to be a show about how various American institutions – the CIA, the healthcare system and the media – deal with a crisis, shown through the microcosm of bureaucracy, brainstorming sessions and nonces.
I mean, I wasn’t opposed to ripping up Torchwood‘s format and starting again, but this episode felt so far removed from the old show that it might as well have been called something else. It’s certainly even further removed from Doctor Who – more so than ever before, this feels like an unrelated interruption to my watch-through that must be overcome, rather than a part of the whole.
Nevertheless, document it I will, and whatever the fuck this is, it featured a woman from Dollhouse as a bad CIA agent, and Claire from Six Feet Under as a dodgy PR woman, who is presumably setting herself up to be a regular character. She doesn’t seem to be a very good PR woman, judging from her statement that “you were trending on Twitter, and the hashtag was ‘forgive'”. Yes, because each trending topic is allocated a hashtag apiece by way of a summary, which is democratically chosen by the userbase.
This brings us on to the subject of Oswald Danes, the new supporting character who also happens to be a paedophile. It’s been proven time and time again that if you put terrible people on TV shows and give them the opportunity to show off another side to themselves, it humanises them, and that’s when they become really dangerous. We’re told that Oprah is apparently complicit in giving Danes a platform, which makes her the Jimmy Fallon of this scenario.
The rest of the episode mostly concerns Esther getting ghosted out of the CIA by your man from Jurassic Park, and Jack being poisoned on an aeroplane. This was clearly supposed to be the big dramatic centrepiece, but it was just faintly annoying – he’s obviously not going to die in episode two of ten, so all you’re left with is Gwen shrieking on a plane, and some tonally-strange quips about the air steward being secretly gay.
I’ll admit the woman from Dollhouse coming back, post neck snap, with her head on backwards was quite good. That’s about it. I can’t call it an awful episode, as it’s nowhere near as low as the lowest points in Series 1, but it was just plain dull. My only hope is that so far, they’ve just been getting everything in place, and now that the new gang’s together and on the run, like in Children of Earth, things will settle down and the proper storytelling can begin.
It’s the hope that kills you.