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.
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…