Torchwood Series 3: Day One Episode Review

Posted: July 20, 2009 in actor, bbc america, entertainment, Review, scifi, scifi series, torchwood, tv series
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torchwood series 3

At 8.45am, every child in the world suddenly stops, chanting the words “we are coming” again and again. Whilst investigating, the remaining Torchwood team face greater personal and professional challenges than ever before, having to work with their numbers depleted.

Source: IMDB

Let me begin with this comment, having seen the first two series, I was worried about the reduced Torchwood cast down to just a trio. Rest assured, seeing them again, Captain Jack, Ianto, and Gwen, they carry the Torchwood mantle just fine. With just five episodes, everyone has their fair share of screentime to pull on our emotional heartstrings which feels very genuine and not forced.

When we see Gwen arrive into Torchwood, we see her say good morning to pictures of Owen and Tosh. Those who followed Series 2 will know of their demise. I found myself quite surprised and sadden by their loss. Gwen is our way into the Torchwood organization from Series 1 and allowed us to experience this hidden world through her eyes. Gwen is the heart of Torchwood and as such she will always care about the people closest to her.

Captain Jack and Ianto, “the couple” will be a running theme. Ianto enjoys the idea whereas Jack is in the relationship and yet not in the relationship. In fairness to Ianto, he loves the idea of being with someone of Jack’s stature. Aside from the homosexual aspect, if you look at the actual feeling between them I can totally see Ianto’s side. Have you ever wanted to be with someone that when you are together you can’t believe you are? In fairness to Jack, he has been more than around the block. While Jack is not giddy as a schoolgirl, we know Jack cares for Ianto very much. However, he has to wear the Boss hat when they are at work and their personal lives have to be put on hold. Ianto knows this deep down but wants to have his love be acknowledged 24/7 and wants the world to know.

Encountering Dr. Rupesh Patanjali at the hospital where Jack and Ianto removed the alien hitchhiker was a fun scene. They planted enough seeds of curiosity for the Doctor to track down Torchwood’s base of operation. I was really looking forward to this see this new doctor join the group. I loved the pseudo interview Gwen had with him which she recognized the same energy and drive she had when she first joined the group. At times, I was reminded how similar Dr. Patanjali was to Dr. Bashir when he first arrived on DS9. Later no my surprise, he was dispensed off by the very government he was working for as an infiltrating agent.

The hidden back-story of Jack and his daughter Alice and grandson Steven is quite a major reveal. More importantly, his past history will come to light on the current situation with the 456. Those two situation collided in a way I did not want to see. Most of the time, as a leader, we are to believe Jack, being immortal and from the future, has seen it all and is aware of the big picture. We may not understand why he does certain things but we have to trust him. A perfect example is the “Adrift” episode from Series 2 where Gwen was investigating on what happened to the people who came back from the Rift. She thought that Jack was hiding something from her until she realized that Jack was doing the right thing by not notifying the next of kin to these found people and that there were better off as being seen as missing. From that moment, Gwen and us as an audience will now believe Jack when he says something that maybe off kilter, there is a reason. However, during the course of this series, we find ourselves perhaps not liking Jack after all.

I remembered reading in the Torchwood magazine Barrowman (Jack) gave his impressions reading the script.

At first I was a bit taken aback by some of the things that happen in the story, and how they reflect on Jack. It seemed to be a return to the darker, troubled Jack from Series 1, and I thought: is he still going to be likeable after this?

When Barrowman said this I understood this sentiment until after the series was over. I am mixed about my feelings about Jack as this series was a real rollercoaster ride of emotions. In the context of real life, we do keep secrets from friends and family. If those secrets were to be revealed would those around us see us in a different light? Yes. Over time we may be forgiven and relationships altered but we will always be reminded of those hidden secrets. Jack’s secret and his actions are so huge that he may not be able forgive himself even if the world forgives him. This is a tough pill to swallow.

Since there was a great deal of set up in this episode, the pace at times was very slow but I was fine with this. The reveal of the 456 is very minimal but effective using the children to broadcast their arrival. Kudos to the kids for delivering an unnerving and unemotional performance while being under the influences of the 456.

A minor disappointment was the lack of Martha Jones. While we hear Jack relay the news that Jones was unavailable because she was away on her honeymoon, I seriously doubt she would not be aware of the situation back home since this will become a global issue. At least on Dr. Who we had seen in Series 4 Sarah Jane, Torchwood, and Martha with the UNIT group. Again, this is minor and just me griping  as a fan; nothing more.

The ending of this episode as to what happened to Jack was huge. This also reminds of the Angel series where the lead character was encased in an underwater coffin for a true horrific living death. In the next episode, what happens to Jack would rival Angel’s imprisonment several times over.

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