The Wedding of River Song

Prequel: That bloody nursery rhyme is playing again, as a pair of eyepatch-wearing soldiers inspect some Silence in a water tank. Then we see River, also wearing an eyepatch, lurking menacingly near an Egyptian sarcophagus. It’s all very atmospheric but a little bit dull; it’s more of a mood piece than a preview of the plot.

After a series like no other, with its various long-running storylines and the bloody great gap in the middle, comes a series finale like no other. For a start, it’s only one episode long, but at the same time it feels like the final chapter of a story that’s been going on for ages, finally tying up threads that have been dangling since the premiere. It’s a different way of telling The Doctor’s story, and one that’s not universally popular, but of which I am a big fan.

Besides, it’s not all heavy complicated stuff – this alternate universe where all of history is happening at once looks like great fun. Steam trains coming out of The Gherkin, Charles Dickens on BBC News, and even the pterodactyls from Torchwood having their render files dusted off. Churchill’s back again, he’s got a Silurian doctor and he’s keeping a bearded Doctor locked in the Tower of London. What’s not to love?

There’s also one of those big, varied, expensive-looking montages that Moffat likes to wheel out for the important episodes, which includes a tiny Dalek cameo and a heavily made-up Mark Gatiss as some sort of alien viking. It feels epic and exciting, but then the mood is punctured by news of the Brigadier. It’s a fair indication of Courtney’s standing that he’s the only actor whose off-screen passing has directly impacted the plot of a Doctor Who episode. I’m glad that Sarah Jane is still out there saving the world, even if Elisabeth Sladen isn’t, but with the Brigadier, being that much older and having lived a full life, it feels right to give his story a full stop. It’s so heartbreaking that the Doctor wanted to see him one more time after all these years, but couldn’t.

This moment also provides the impetus for the story to kick up a notch, leading to a glorious return for the Ponds, or at least alternate, eyepatch-wearing versions of the Ponds. The fact that those eyepatches turn out not to be a straightforward evil-person-indicator is a clever twist, as is Amy remembering far more than The Doctor expected her to, causing him to cut short his big timey-wimey speech. It’s a reunion that’s played for laughs rather than high drama, and it works – those two are such good friends that they’re just happier when they’re together, regardless of the circumstances, or the fact that they’ve never actually met in this universe.

The Rory stuff is cute too. I was all poised to update the Rory Williams Death Counter – even The Silence comment on the fact that he’s always dying – until Amy realised who he was in the nick of time. She then kills Madame Kovarian in cold blood, which she’s later somewhat tortured about, but I reckon it was probably fair enough. She did steal her baby and turn her into a psychopathic killing machine. That’s not cricket.

Then the eponymous wedding happens and time is put right and The Doctor dies. He’s careful to point out to us that River won’t remember killing him, which is mightily convenient but does help to sort out any confusion I had as to her timeline. Her later chat with Amy clarifies that she often has to lie in order to avoid giving spoilers to people from her relative past – again, convenient for storytelling purposes, but I buy it.

In retrospect, including the Teselecter in the ‘Previously’ recap rather gives the game away. I can’t remember whether or not I figured it out in advance originally, but either way it’s a good, satisfying conclusion. It leaves the series at an intriguing crossroads, with The Doctor’s vow to stay in the shadows coming across as very McCoy, as does the notion that he planned this whole thing for his own mysterious purposes.

Like I say, not your normal finale – it’s more like a victory lap for the series, the magician revealing how he pulled off the trick. Luckily, I really like the series, and the wrapping-up this story provides is meticulous. It’s a shame it doesn’t end with Amy and Rory back on the TARDIS, but having previously moaned about too many questions being left unanswered, we’re left with just one. A big blue head in a box shouting “DOCTOR WHO” over and over again should be the final image of every series.

RATING: 9

HALF-SERIES AVERAGE RATING: 7.5

SERIES AVERAGE RATING: 8.18

  • Seasons/Series watched: 32 of 36
  • Stories watched: 224 of 275
  • Individual episodes watched: 783 of 839

So yeah, the second half is not quite as good as the first, but not by as big a margin as I remembered. I think it’s improved by watching the two parts in much closer proximity; it’s a shame I had to sit through Torchwood in the middle, but the momentum still carried far better with a two-week gap than a two-and-a-half month one. Even so, this portion of the project seems very stop-start, veering wildly between various spin-offs and specials, without the stability of a big block of proper episodes for comfort. I’d best get used to it.

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Closing Time

I wasn’t looking forward to this one, despite not being too put off by James Corden last time round. That’s because in the meantime the Emmys happened, and now I actually hate James Corden, rather than merely intensely disliking him. You won’t kiss the Doctor but you’ll kiss Sean Spicer?

Consequently I found it much harder to like Craig this time, and it didn’t help that he was reinforcing the patriarchy with his useless dad stereotypes. Luckily, the Doctor speaking baby is a very rich seam, and his interactions with Alfie/Stormageddon were the highlight of the episode. That and the fact that Lynda Baron turns up, more than forty years after singing that bloody song.

Much like The Lodger, it’s a light and comedic palate cleanser before the big finale, only this time there’s Cybermen in it. Well, they’re barely in it, but that’s probably for the best at this stage. It’s such a shame that this era of Cybermen are so rubbish, as actually, a small band of survivors rebuilding themselves from scratch, using bits of kidnapped humans, is a brilliant premise for a Cyber story, but it lacks any of the visceral body horror that it would have had in the 60s, or which was so brilliantly reinstated in much more recent times.

I wasn’t sure about the Cybermats having big pointy teeth, nor with Craig once again saving the world via the power of love. The thing of Alfie crying being enough to snap Craig out of a Cyber-conversion, and Alfie subsequently “telling” the Doctor how proud he is of his dad, seems like it’s a lovely thing. But if the message is that it takes actually saving the world for babies to love their dads as much as they love their mums, what chance have the rest of us got?

Meanwhile, Amy and Rory turn up for about a minute, and they don’t even get to speak properly. Amy is a celebrity now, either a famous model or a perfume maker, or some combination of the two, it’s not quite clear. It’s also not quite clear when exactly any of this takes place. For the Doctor, it’s a day before he gets shot in Utah, so two hundred years must have passed for him since he dropped them off, but how long has it been for them, given that she’s had time to become famous? I thought at first that this episode could take place a few years in the future, but the newspaper says 2011, so I can only conclude that the Doctor (accidentally?) dropped them off a few years in their relative past, and that for a while there must have been two Amies and Rories knocking about.

Much neater is the segue into the finale, which involves the Doctor acquiring his stetson and his fancy TARDIS-blue stationery. The subsequent River scene left me slightly confused about her personal timeline – even when you’re watching it in order at a decent pace, it’s still bloody complicated – but I think that ought to be cleared up once I’m reminded of exactly what happens at Lake Silencio. Madame Kovarian and the Silence turning up was suitably scary and exciting, but the only improvement I’d have made would be to have the creepy nursery rhyme sung by Lynda Baron. The Doctor’s in a cowboy hat, it would have been the ultimate call back.

RATING: 6

The God Complex

Yep, it’s another one where I had absolutely no idea which episode this was in advance, and even after I’d ascertained that it was the one with the creepy hotel, I barely remembered a single detail from six years ago. If you’d have asked me prior to today whether David Walliams had been in Doctor Who, I’d have had to really wrack my brains, and then I’d have said that I didn’t think he had.

So I was excited at the prospect of uncovering another hidden gem, but it really wasn’t to be on this occasion. It’s clearly a good idea for an episode – escape from a creepy run-down travel tavern with someone’s personalised hell behind each door – but in practice it’s just a big mess. The idea of the hotel changing its layout is again good in theory, but it ends up being a real hindrance, with the inconsistent geography making it all vaguely incoherent whenever the monster emerged. It jolted from one freaky nightmare sequence to the next, which soon became tiresome and repetitive, leaving the plot aimless.

We never really care about the guest characters either. Walliams does a decent job at playing the amusing concept of an alien who is bred to surrender, but he’s just the comic relief. The Doctor quickly becomes infatuated with a young woman who becomes this story’s surrogate companion, and as Rory points out, that’s obviously going to end badly for her. But because the progression of the story is so confusing, I didn’t feel like I went on a journey with that character – it was more like I was just seeing fleeting glimpses of her journey – and so I didn’t really care when she snuffed it.

I ended up feeling a bit ripped off by the concept too, like they didn’t use it to its full potential. It was great to see the Weeping Angels make a cameo, but they were very quickly revealed to just be a projection. But given that the image of an Angel becomes an Angel, then surely they should have been there for real? And the most obvious question that you want the show to answer (ie. if everyone’s room contains their greatest fear, what’s in the Doctor’s room?) is skimmed over, with just an enigmatic “oh, it’s you” in reaction to someone or something that we’re not privy to seeing. What a swizz.

And if we’re being pedantic, how come only the Doctor could understand what the monster was saying? Where was the translation circuit? Because there’s a reason that the baddies usually speak English, and it’s to make them more interesting to the audience. I already had very little investment in the episode, and then it lost me completely when they started talking about faith being a form of energy. Sure it is, pal. And sure, the monster is a distant cousin of the Nimon. I can see the family resemblance – they’re both incredibly boring and they both star in tedious and barely coherent stories.

So I was already fairly down on this episode before the final scene. Maybe this is the reason I couldn’t remember this one – my brain has rejected it, because it refuses to accept that the Doctor would just dump Amy and Rory like that. Just as I was saying this is one of my favourite TARDIS dynamics of all time, it gets unceremoniously chucked away. I know they’re not actually leaving the show for some time yet, but things are never the same again from this point on.

I’m strongly against the idea – which has been the norm for the remainder of the show to date – of companions living separately from the Doctor. If you’re a companion, it should be all or nothing; lurching from one journey to the next, sharing every waking moment with this amazing madman, being as important to him as he is to you. Not getting picked up when he needs help and then dropped home in time for tea. Companions are our way in to the Doctor’s world, and they can’t do that for us if they’re not a full time part of it.

RATING: 5

The Girl Who Waited

I have an impressive showbiz anecdote regarding this story. The day before it aired, I was in Brian Dowling’s dressing room, recording his video blog ahead of that night’s Big Brother eviction. He had a small entourage of friends and family with him, and as I was setting up, he said “you like sci-fi, don’t you?” (I can’t remember how he knew this, given that it would be another few months before he remembered my name.) “This is my friend Tom, he wrote this week’s Doctor Who“.

“You must be Tom MacRae”, I exclaimed, and he seemed surprised and pleased that I’d know that. I told him I was really looking forward to seeing his return to the series, although secretly I was worried and slightly disappointed that he was back, because I thought his previous episodes were shit. I didn’t mention that to him.

Anyway, turns out I needn’t have worried, because this is a superb episode; one of those that doesn’t necessary spring to mind when you think of the classics, but is still somewhat of a favourite. What I hadn’t remembered in the last six years was that it was the cheapo episode, which says a lot about its quality as a story. It’s perfectly apparent as you’re watching – two sets, a couple of corridors and a garden, plus it’s virtually a three-hander which saves on guest cast – and yet in my head it’s this huge epic tale.

It’s also a Doctor-lite story, but it doesn’t feel like one, as they used their Smith time well to ensure the Doctor is a constant presence, even if he is working from home. And you don’t really notice that he’s taking a back seat, because this one’s all about the Ponds. This is my favourite TARDIS team of the new series, and perhaps even of all time, due to the extra dimension the strength of their relationship gives to the dynamic. They are, as I believe the cool kids say, relationship goals, and most definitely Doctor Who‘s OTP.

You have to say that the Amy from 36 years in the future is looking well on it, and her hair is amazing for someone who’s been living alone in an engine room for all that time. But nevertheless, Karen Gillan does an incredible job at creating a whole new character – a few changes in the voice and posture and suddenly she’s a distinctly different person, while still recognisably Amy. And even when this older Amy is so traumatised that she utterly despises the Doctor, she can’t bring herself to feel the same about Rory, as what they had is still there, deep down.

That’s what makes Rory’s dilemma so heartbreakingly effective. It’s clear what choice he should make, but it’s hard for us as an audience to condone it because of the dire consequences. Obviously you want Amy to be young and happy and with Rory, and to have never gone through this horrible ordeal, but at the same time Older Amy has a right to exist. Who are we to say which life is more valuable, and how dare we make the choice to take one of them away?

I was completely gripped, and so I have but two further notes. Firstly, the Handbots have the same walking sound effects as The Wrong Trousers and the Mondasian Cybermen from Series 10. And secondly, how the hell did Amy and Rory have their first kiss to the Macarena? Apart from anything else, you’re supposed to turn 90 degrees at the end of every chorus. Episode ruined.

RATING: 9

Night Terrors

This is a very rare thing indeed: an episode that I’ve definitely seen, because I’ve seen all of New Who, but that I can’t remember at all. There’s a handful of titles – this, The God Complex, Hide, The Crimson Horror – that I see in lists and absolutely no memories, images or opinions spring to mind. I would have only sat down and watched this six years ago, but until the Next Time trailer jogged my memory a few days ago, I had no idea what was coming. It didn’t bode well for the quality of the episode.

Turns out that it’s the one with the creepy dolls, Daniel Mays from off of Ashes to Ashes (and, more seminally, Patrick Nuffy in Fist of Fun), and the constantly-terrified child who looks like a little ginger David Mitchell. And it also turns out that it’s pretty good, which was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps it’s just that the setting and design, while decent enough in themselves, weren’t all that unique – I seem to remember a spate of similar-looking episodes followed over the remainder of the Smith era, and they all sort of merge in to one.

It’s also pretty standalone, with no major pieces of mythology being set up or developed, and only one very minor tie-in to the big series arc. It’s probably a by-product of this episode being shunted from the first half of the series to the second, but it’s actually quite nice to take a rare break from the heavy stuff to tell a self-contained story. I’m all for the big complicated plots, and I think a lot of the criticism Moffat gets for it is vastly hyperbolic, but it’s also nice to keep it varied, and it makes the big twists more exciting if there isn’t one every week. If there’s always biscuits in the tin, where’s the fun in biscuits?

The Doctor and his companions are separated rather arbitrarily – they only split up in the first place to locate the boy, so why didn’t the Doctor tell them he’d spotted him when they bumped into each other? – but I really enjoyed Amy and Rory’s adventures in the dollhouse. It’s very old-school; it feels like something that would happen in Hartnell’s day, sort of a cross between Planet of Giants and The Celestial Toymaker, but better than either.

The Doctor’s half of the story might have been a bit dull in comparison, were it not for a virtuoso performance from Matt Smith and a high-calibre guest star in Daniel Mays. The script is hardly covering new ground, with its slightly patronising working class clichés and the rather on-the-nose ending where the day is saved by a parent’s love, but the performances sweep you along.

That ending is somewhat sickly, but I commend it for the allegory about how it’s OK to be adopted, and indeed to adopt, which is weaved in relatively subtly. It was nice to be taken by surprise with an unexpectedly decent episode, and Series 6 continues to be much better than I’d remembered.

RATING: 8

Let’s Kill Hitler

Prequel: A little mini TARDIS scene, in which Amy leaves the Doctor an answerphone message to ask if he’s any closer to finding Melody. It’s then revealed that he’s been listening the whole time, and the look on his face tells us that he hasn’t. It’s quite effective both as a reminder of where we were up to before all this Torchwood nonsense, and as a quite touching little character piece. And it turns out that the title “Let’s Kill Hitler” flashing up in big letters is still funny, even if it’s only at the end of a prequel.

Ahh, it’s good to be back to Who, with the last couple of weeks serving as an equivalent to the infuriating gap between the two halves of this series. But in the same way that the split gave the seventh episode a much more epic feel than your average seventh episode, they’re using the format to their advantage again to create a whole new type of Doctor Who story.

It takes the big heavy mythology stuff that Moffat excels at, but presents it in a comedic way. A regeneration is played for laughs, which is (almost) unprecedented, but it never strays into parody. Even the act of River Song murdering the Doctor is dealt with in a light-hearted way – huge, important things are happening in this episode, but the tone is unyieldingly fun and entertaining. It’s a joy to watch because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and lets you know that it’s OK to just enjoy the ride.

Never is this sense of fun more prevalent than in the scenes involving Hitler. What an innocent time 2011 was, back when people punching Nazis was something that only needed to happen in time-travel stories. The sight of everyone’s favourite weedy nurse sticking one on the leader of the Third Reich is simply wonderful, as is the dialogue about putting Hitler in a cupboard.

It was little more than a cameo for the Fuhrer in the end, with the episode title something of a red herring to cover the humongous River-based revelations. It really did a thorough job of filling in as many gaps as possible, and a welcome side-effect was the chance to see Amelia again, along with a tiny little Rory. It was no surprise that Mels would be short for Melody, so it was for the best all round that the switch to Alex Kingston happened early, before Mels strayed too far from rebellious youth to annoying brat.

It was disconcerting to see River in the role of villain, but the weirdness was enjoyable. The only snag is the speed at which she switched from brainwashed Doctor killer to the River we know and love. It’s an unfortunate habit of Moffat’s that he leaves a little too much to the imagination at times. It would be nice to know what the Doctor said to River while he was dying, as whatever it was clearly helped to undo all her conditioning – that’s fairly important, and as it is it feels like we skipped a page and it’s harder to buy the change of heart.

I love the concept of the Teselecta – it’s like The Numbskulls from The Beano, with all the tiny people controlling the big person, each one controlling a different function. My only other beef with this episode is that their motives were left unquestioned – under what authority do they jaunt around history torturing people, and who decides which people deserve to be punished? I mean, they were right about Hitler, but even then they nearly cocked it up by doing it before the War had even started, which would have played havoc with the timeline.

But these are quibbles in an otherwise cracking start to the second half of the series. You can’t help but love an episode that takes the time to dismiss the idea of the TARDIS’s temporal grace as “a clever lie”, and explain why River looks younger the older she gets. Plus, Rory punches Hitler and puts him in a cupboard. I can’t state this enough.

RATING: 8

Torchwood: The Blood Line

I HAVE FINISHED TORCHWOOD. This makes me so happy. I am thirty-one years old, and I will never watch an episode of Torchwood ever again. I’ve now seen them all at least once, and most of them twice, and that is more than enough times. This feels like a significant milestone in the latter stages of this project – from this point on, everything I watch will be stuff that I actually want to watch.

For what it’s worth, this final episode was slightly above the average – having taken so long to get everything in place for the end of the Miracle, they did a decent job of making it happen. Mind you, a lot of the big plot revelations we were waiting for came through the woman at the Blessing just telling Jilly everything for some reason. An attempt at excitement came through a quite extraordinary number of bombings – the Category One count is very high in this episode, with Jack and Rex happily snapping people’s necks willy-nilly to bring the total up.

It gets quite dramatic towards the end, and genuinely gripping in places as the upper hand flits between Torchwood and the Families. But the trademark Torchwood silliness is never far away. The climax of a season-long story being John Barrowman’s guts spilling into a gorge is clearly very silly indeed, and his face doesn’t exactly help you take it seriously. Also, I’m no doctor, but Miracle or no Miracle, I’m pretty sure you can’t just swap your entire blood supply with someone else’s and continue walking and talking.

Then there’s Oswald Danes. I’m still not quite clear what the point of his character was. If it was satire on the way the media works, or a parable about how dangerous it is to give terrible people a platform, then that still doesn’t account for why he had to join the team for the last couple of episodes. His usefulness to the mission was accidental – they found that suicide vest after they’d already broken in, it wasn’t pre-planned – and at no point could I shake the knowledge that there was a paedophile in our midst. Even as he sacrifices his life to seal off the Blessing, he reminds us of his crimes by recalling his “shoulda run faster” catchphrase. There is no redemption here.

Naturally, not all of the Torchwood team could survive the adventure, and it was Esther who drew the short straw. She did so fairly consistently over the course of the series, with her character being far less prominent or interesting than any of the others. She seemed entirely defined by her devotion to Rex, which is never a good sign for a female character. Speaking of Rex, him gaining Jack’s healing ability made me chuckle, but he’s the last person you’d want to live forever. He’s a tit.


Having finally seen this ten-part story in full, I’m left to conclude that there’s something seriously wrong with the pace and structure. In part one, a big mysterious bad thing happens. In part ten, they solve the mystery and fix everything. The middle eight parts were a series of diversions, dead ends and deviations, which would have been fine if they were brilliant, but they weren’t.

That leaves four fifths of the series looking suspiciously like padding. At times it was mildly entertaining padding, but it rarely did more than pass the time. It’s no surprise, but they failed to live up to the story-telling potential that the Miracle provided – too often it got bogged down with the latest relatively trivial problems befalling our heroes, leaving the big world-changing events to be conveyed via news reports and intelligence briefings, rarely impacting on the various characters we followed.

I suspect the whole experience would be much better if you just skipped episodes 2-9 and watched it as an RTD-penned two-parter instead. There’d be bits which didn’t make much sense, but probably no more than in an average Torchwood episode, and you really wouldn’t miss too much vital information. Crucially, it would have only wasted two hours of my life, not ten.

I like the way they left a sequel hook, with Jilly being informed that this was just the first part of the Families’ plan, along with the aforementioned Rex immortality. Nice try, but come on, the show was already on borrowed time. I stand by my earlier statement that Torchwood really ought to have ended with Children of Earth. Miracle Day concluded with a far more open path to new stories, but it left us with far less appetite to see them.

RATING: 6

SEASON AVERAGE RATING: 5.1

  • Torchwood series watched: 4 of 4
  • Torchwood stories watched: 37 of 37
  • Individual Torchwood episodes watched: 41 of 41

TORCHWOOD DONE. Now, finally, let’s kill Hitler…

Torchwood: The Gathering

We’re so nearly there guys. We’re on the final disc of the complete Torchwood boxset. Thank Christ. The most annoying thing about this series is that it’s not complete and total shit. At least the first two series almost always gave me something to talk about, but there isn’t even anything to tear to shreds here. It’s mostly just about fine, but it’s pedestrian and tedious.

Setting this episode two months after the last one was a sure-fire way to lose the momentum of that cliffhanger. Oh no, Jack’s going to die, oh wait he’s fine now. They try to distract you from this by having RTD make a cameo as a newsreader, but this only serves to remind you that one of the finest TV writers of his generation is attached to this show, and even he can’t make it work.

The world has changed considerably in the two months we skipped; borders are closed, category ones are being rounded up, and Oswald Danes has got a job delivering bread. He was always going to become more central to the plot towards the end, and it seemed somewhat inevitable that he’d join the team. It kind of works with him as an outsider, pointing out where people are going wrong and making quips from the sidelines, until you remember who he is, and that Torchwood now has a nonce on their books.

After a brief interlude for Gwen’s dad to be incinerated, the gang finally got somewhere in their investigation, and it was fun to watch the pieces being put together. The stuff with Jilly being quite literally Shaghaied was fairly exciting too, although I was distracted by the location of The Blessing looking exactly like the alley where the Seventh Doctor was shot. The secret behind the Miracle seems to be a big hole down the centre of the Earth, running from Shanghai to Buenos Aires. What, is someone going to turn the planet into a vehicle and fly it through space?

By the end of the episode, we finally have everything in place for the gang to fix this whole Miracle Day problem, but there’s still quite a lot to be done in the final hour. We still don’t know what the Blessing does, who’s controlling it, or why, or how it can be stopped, all of which needs to be answered before Torchwood can start defeating the baddies and fixing the world. It’s a lot to ask to squeeze all that in and leave room for any satisfying exploration of the aftermath, or emotional resolution. What could possibly go wrong?

RATING: 5

Torchwood: End of the Road

You know what’s really annoying? I could have watched Doctor Who tonight. The last few episodes of Miracle Day overlapped with the start of Series 6B, so if I was sticking to strict broadcast order, I’d be killing Hitler right now. But alternating between the two for a while would be a bit annoying, and I’d rather just get this nonsense out of the way once and for all, so I decided to crack on with Torchwood and get it over with.

My decision was instantly punished with quite possibly the dullest hour of television that Torchwood has produced so far. Perhaps I was in a bad mood with it because it’s not Doctor Who, but I spent the last fifty minutes taking in everything that was being said and done, and not one bit of it affected me emotionally or stimulated me intellectually. I’d have got an equal amount of enjoyment from reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, and it would have been much quicker.

The appearance of your man from Breaking Bad raised a smile, and your man from Jurassic Park blowing himself up raised an eyebrow. That was about it for the bulk of the episode. Angelo, like PhiCorp before him, turned out to be another red herring, and instead we’re introduced to yet another mystery in the form of “the families”, and only two episodes in which to explore it. We’re 80% of the way through, and the identity of those behind the Miracle is no closer to being revealed – we’ve always known it was some shady people in the background, and that’s still as far as we’ve come. All we learn here is that they were apparently responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis.

The worst thing was that Jack has got back into his old habit of withholding information from his fellow team-members – and therefore the audience – in order to look mysterious and brooding. When the one thing you want from a series is for it to answer some of its mysteries, it’s so frustrating when you know the answers are right there, but they’re arbitrarily choosing not to tell you. It’s also far less dramatic when you know for a fact that the situation could be resolved by one character simply telling another what he already knows – any jeopardy is false, generated solely by this wilful schtum-keeping.

Meanwhile, everyone’s favourite right-wing paedophile is back, and we get to enjoy watching him bully his female employee and intimidate a prostitute. We’re then seemingly supposed to feel sorry for him when he’s condemned to a new type of death sentence and forced to go on the run. I mean, I’m against the death penalty in all circumstances, but it’s hard to make that argument when you then see Danes slapping and punching a woman. Send the fucker to the module.

I’ll admit that I did have one moment of genuine surprise and intrigue: when (the now mortal, remember) Jack got shot. Not for the first time this series, it’s a great cliffhanger that serves to raise the stakes for the next episode and take the story in a new direction. It’s just a shame that you could have cut the preceding 48 minutes or so out and still got the same effect.

RATING: 4

Torchwood: Immortal Sins

It’s time to take a little break from all these Miracle-based shenanigans, as the seventh episode of this over-long story turns out to be a little cutaway that only ties in to the main plot at the start and the end. This is basically The Feast of Steven all over again, but worse because it’s Torchwood.

It very much feels like the old Welsh-bound version of the show, both in the style and subject matter of the flashbacks, and the fact that it barely features Rex and Esther, and for the second episode in a row there’s no Danes or Jilly at all. Half of the time it’s just Jack and Gwen being horrible to each other in a car, and the other half is just Jack on his own, but in the past.

It was inevitable from the moment Past Jack tackled Angelo to the ground that the two of them were going to end up shagging, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly, and I could have done without John Barrowman reading out bad porn while I was trying to eat an ice pop. When Jack later started to talk about Angelo as his new “companion”, I assumed that this was a death sentence, but it later turned out to be quite the opposite.

The companion stuff was part of a rare shoring up of the links to the main show, with what was the first reference to the Doctor himself this series. It was clearly trying to re-establish Jack as an equivalent figure, but saying “run” does not a Doctor make. But the reminder that this is all vaguely relevant to the overall project was welcome. There was even a reference to the Trickster, of all people, and an alien, again for the first time this series.

The fact that Miracle Day is barely recognisable as being part of the same show has been a big contributor to why it’s been such a slog, so in many ways it was quite nice to have an episode that was a bit old-school. Then again, I didn’t like the old show. But if you’re going to watch something that’s a bit crap, you might as well watch something that’s familiar and crap.

Thankfully, it did all tie in with the Miracle stuff at the very end, as I was conscious throughout that what was unfolding, entertaining as it was in places, might just be a complete waste of time. In that sense it wasn’t, but then again surely if the woman at the end had just told Jack in the first place that Angelo was alive, connected to the Miracle and wanted to see him, he would have come running. Kidnapping Gwen’s family, and thus the entire episode, was entirely needless. Ah well.

RATING: 6