Finally, after a couple of months, we have some fresh spanking new podcasts coming your way. Many apologies on the delay as I had wanted to do this much earlier when Children of Earth came out. This podcast is just part 1 of 2 in reviewing Torchwood Series 1. Remember, there will be spoilers on this podcast if you have not seen this series. As always, sign up for The Monster Scifi Show Podcast through iTunes, click here for a direct download, or click below to here it stream. Please send the show some love and comment below or email me email@example.com.
SPOILERS!…………………Ianto is dead, and whilst Alice and her son Steven are released,Jack and Lois are arrested and Rhys gives up the tape of the cabinet meeting. U.N. colonel Oduya discovers that the 456 aliens are attached to the Scots children,using them as life-support machines. The P.M. appears on television, announcing that next day all British children will be inoculated, the cover for their abduction and delivery to the aliens. Frobisher’s children are to be included,so he kills himself and his family. Gwen and Rhys return to Wales, hiding Ianto’s nephews and nieces and their friends as the military abduct lower class kids from the streets. Alice persuades Ms. Johnson to release Jack,who communes with the aliens,using Steven as a supersonic transmitter, which wipes them out,though,sadly Steven dies too from the pressure. Frobisher’s devoted secretary, Miss Spears, visits Lois in jail and finds out about the lenses, which she uses to secure Lois’s release and blackmail the P.M.to resign. Jack, guilt-ridden that he needed to kill his grandson to save the other children, gives Gwen and Rhys his best wishes, disbanding Torchwood and returning to time travel.
This has been one hell of a ride for just 5 episodes for Torchwood. What Dr. Who achieved in throwing in the kitchen sink in Series 4, Torchwood has reached the same level but in darkness. A fair comparison is Dr.Who is Buffy and Torchwood is Angel. Torchwood has reached areas way above and beyond Dr.Who could ever reach to date. I am in awe that with just 3 main characters, Torchwood has been surpassed their previous 2 series and most scifi series in my book.
If there is a negative comment about this episode if how Frobisher’s final actions outranked Jack using his own grandson Steven to save the planet. Throughout Children of Earth, Frobisher has showed himself to be tragic character who believed in what was right for this country and for his own family. One could only wish we could have saved him or had given him just a glimmer of hope even if you despised everything he did. No one deserves to do what he did in the end. As with Jack’s grandson Steven there was not enough emotional scenes between them to strike some type of emotional reactionon Frobisher’s level. I did not feel any connection Jack had with Steven and barely with his daughter Alice.
Having said all this, Jack’s decision to leave at the end may have been very selfish but very real. My life used to be in NY and there was a moment where I realized there was nothing for me and the world I used to know had moved on. The woman I was seeing had said that running away was not the answer which was almost exactly what Gwen said to Jack six months later. I truly understood Jack’s pain and his motivation to leave. However, is the end of Torchwood and no further appearance of Jack back on Earth? The answer I believe is no.
With Gwen left behind the Rift still remains. I don’t believe she would stay still and forget her Torchwood duties. I strongly believe Gwen would start up Torchwood again with or without Jack. As for Jack, he will come back. As to when, who knows but something will draw him back once more. I know that I miss NY. I am thankful to be reconnected to certain people in my past even if it has been more than 20 years. Jack will be in a similar position where he too will miss Earth and Gwen. This may be a long time from now but I feel Jack will be back one day.
Keep your eyes and ears open for at least 4 Torchwood podcasts. Due to some setback, I’ve been delayed to produce them. The first podcast will be a pre-Torchwood on key episodes to watch on Dr.Who on the Captain Jack character. The remaining podcast will focus on each of the series including Children of Earth. You don’t want to miss this.
Jack is forced to confess how he helped broker a deal in 1965 when the 456 aliens offered an antidote against a deadly universal flu virus in exchange for twelve children who would ‘live forever.’ Clem and the team watch via Lois’s laptop as the aliens tell Frobisher they will ‘wipe out the human species’ if their request is not met, and a camera reveals the apparently zombic Scots victims, said by the aliens to be unharmed. Frobisher rejects Jack’s offer of help in return for Alice and her son’s release. He attends a Cabinet meeting which agrees that the Cabinet’s children will be spared and that lower-class kids should be sacrificed instead.This is recorded by Lois and sent to safety with Rhys,giving Ianto and Jack leverage to talk to the aliens but the latter’s’ response is to unleash a virus which kills dozens, including Clem and,seemingly, Ianto. The government feels forced to capitulate.
Now we get to the very heart of the Children of Earth story. I want to say that Jack’s admission to this unspeakable act was on some level understandable and yet not forgivable. Yes, the small sacrifice of the 12 children in exchange of an antidote to the flu virus might have sound great on paper when you think about the numbers 12 versus millions saved. Even the government in this episodes even refers to the term Unit instead of using the word children. This leads them to believe that by devaluing the human term that we could all live with acceptable losses. This type of justification sickens me and to some point Ianto’s feelings does turn as he is conflicted over Jack. The image of the child with some type alien breathing apparatus was truly horrific as me being a parent. Jack is a good man but committed the wrong action but what else has he done as Ianto pointed out just barely scratching the surface.
Moving forward, Jack has to make amends and the confrontation he has with the 456 is brilliant. We have Torchwood back in action and leading a counter-force against the alien threat. Jack spouts his philosophy about how an injury to one is an injury to all. Ianto counters with enough of the philosophy that the 456 will not get a single child. Jack quietly comments to Ianto how much he likes the philosophy. This little bit of humor really brightens up the moment even when death is on the line. However, I was just hoping against all hope that Ianto and everyone else in the Thames House would have survived the killing from the 456.
Just when things could not get any bleaker, there is still another episode that will you an emotional wreck. What has surprised me more about this series is how its driven by the characters in reaction to this story. This series has the monster of the week but does not rely heavily on the creature to drive the conflict. 456 is the catalyst but the real conflict is between the government officials, the Torchwood team and everyone involved. For a short lived 5 show story arc, this is a seriously condensed full season which delivers more bang for the buck rather than a dragged out season which have 18-24 shows. This series has marked themselves in my book as one of the must see scifi series before we all die. Not to be morbid but you get the point.
The team hide out in a former Torchwood holding facility, stealing to survive. Gwen meets with Lois, giving her a laptop and special contact lenses to report back to her. Gwen also has Clem, arrested for an affray, released and safe with the team. Ms. Johnson locates and captures Alice and her son after Alice has tried to ring Jack, soon after which children state that ‘We’ have arrived and a pillar of fire turns into green ooze as the alien leader communes with Frobisher, watched by the Torchwood team,thanks to Lois. Everything is bound up with the events of 1965,as the alien voice tells Frobisher and Jack also comes to realize. The aliens want ten per cent of the world’s children to go with them whilst Clem recalls Jack as one who allowed the alien abduction in Scotland, which Jack cannot deny.
One of the current themes that runs in both Dr. Who and Torchwood is the distrust of government officials. We want to believe that the government who is for the people and by the people would protect their best interests. On one hand the Prime Minister has to contain order with its citizens or else chaos would run amok with the coming of the 456. It is quite another thing, to have the government decided your fate or the fate of those who you love as was done or about to be done in this episode.
Those who follow Dr. Who would remember Harriet Jones who became the Prime Minister and had ordered Torchwood to shoot the retreating Sycorax ship during their attempted invasion. The Doctor was there to avert this disaster but the not very forgiving Jones gave the order. She had remarked to the Doctor that he would not always be there to protect them. On the other hand, the crisis was averted and yet, Jones went one step beyond the right thing to do and crossed the line. In both cases, we see their ultimate demise for their decisions they made. My belief in these recurring themes has to do with the power which comes for those official positions corrupting well intentioned individuals. Humans are infallible even one from the future like Captain Jack.
The devastating ending of this episode which Jack admitted to the 12 children offering to the 456 has come back to bite him in the ass. I am a firm believer that karma has a way of keeping tract of all the deeds we do in life and when it comes back, you are going to be repaid in ways you never thought possible; both good and bad. While there is still a couple of episodes left this payback does come at a dear price.
One of the funniest and sincere moments happened between Jack and Ianto about 15 minutes in Day 3. Ianto asks Jack what it felt like to be blown up which in the context of did you feel it or did it all go black? Jack in character understates the response with, “It wasn’t the best of days.” As soon as I laughed, I started to cringe as Jack stated that he felt everything. The conversation turned to a more solemn turn about their future together. From past immortal heroes like the Highlander, we generally understand those who are immortal will see all those they love die before them again and again. Since we only have one life to lead, we need to make the most of our time. It came as no surprise that Ianto wanted to be intimate with Jack then and there. I truly understood this need as someone who cares about the people I keep around me and tries to make the most of our time together. Bloody beans; indeed.
The bomb explodes, blowing up Torchwood. Gwen escapes and goes on the run with husband Rhys, with an army detachment under tough female Captain Johnson in pursuit. Dekker gives Frobisher cryptic written plans for a mysterious edifice the aliens – the 456 – want building though not even the P.M. knows what it is. Lois, Frobisher’s new temp, accidentally finds secret information on Torchwood in her computer and is curious but Frobisher tells her Jack was the terrorist who caused the explosion.Gwen and Rhys hide in a lorry bound for London, where she discloses her pregnancy. She is keen to get an explanation from Frobisher,unaware that he is out to kill her. Ianto escapes separately, seeking help from his sister, whom he meets in a park where children chant “We are coming. Tomorrow.” Clem, on the streets, takes up the chant. Lois, now mistrustful of her boss, takes a call from Gwen and Rhys, meeting them secretly to tip them off that they are in danger. They infiltrate a ‘funeral’, saving Jack, whose body has regenerated, and are in turn rescued by Ianto. Frobisher and Dekker, having obeyed instructions, await the aliens.
The bulk of this review will be the proverbial Monday morning quarterbacking. After mulling over some time, certain questions came up as to certain parts of the story.
Let’s start with the 456. We understand there was a set of instructions the 456 sent down to Earth. This reminded me a bit of the movie Contact with Jody Foster. The Vega space signal sent to Earth contained instructions to build a new type of ship to transport to their system. With the 456, the signal has the reverse intention. We had to build some type of housing unit for the 456 which was kept at the Thames House.
The 456 tank was then filled with poisonous gases which was the environment the 456 needed. Which also reminds me of David Lynch’s Dune where the mutated Guild Navigator was brought before the Emperor in a similar tank filled with gases. The glass casing has to contain the aliens and the gas but was this not used as leverage to our benefit. We had home field advantage where as the aliens were the visiting team. We know the 456 have been where before and now they are back for more. There should have been some type of plan to counter their threat like shutting off the gases or nuking the Thames House from space; it’s the only way to be sure. (hint, hint).
Alas, we play the scared weaklings who succumbed to the scary alien voice. This may sound as nitpicking but this is something as a writer you can’t overlook this obvious point. For example, I really liked ID4 but the invading aliens could have easily taken over the Earth but not taken so close to Earth but rather nuke it from space; it’s the only way to be sure. I will stop beating up on this oversight as there are still other things to rave about. Although, I don’t care to see Captain Jack’s naked butt, I thanked my stars that I did not have to see Rhys arse but we see Ianto’s brother in law Johnny and I wanted to claw my eyes out. I will say he is an ass of a man but he does step up to the plate in the coming episodes.
The regineration of Captain Jack was one of the darkest and yet brilliant highlights I’ve seen on tv in a long time. While we see a body bag which kept parts of the Captain, we saw the bag move eerily as Jack was slowing coming back to life. Captain Johnson ordering the shacking of Captain Jack as he was forming was on unintended laugh but she was taking not any chances. The agony Jack goes through is utterly horrific and the sealing of him a block of cement was beyond a living death.
Rhys and Gwen have a great deal more screentime than the previous series. What I love about this relationship is how Rhys is not so much whipped by Gwen but rather understands how strong of a woman Gwen is and fully respects her and her work with Torchwood. I truly love this couple and them having an upcoming family is nicely tied into the crust of the story with the children of earth.
From this point on, the next 3 episodes will be one of the best Torchwood moments which I am truly a big fan of and I can’t wait to discuss them.