Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Torchwood: End of Days

“So, are we going to sit crying into our lattes or are we going to do something about it?”

The good news is that Gwen and Rhys seem to have patched up their relationship troubles. The bad news is that all sort of weird timey-wimey shit is happening, and it’s all Owen’s fault. Oh, and this is our first script by Chris Chibnall for a bit. Some may consider this bad news; I couldn’t possibly comment.

Said weirdness includes a Roman soldier which is giving PC Andy grief, and an outbreak of Black Death which is quickly solved by Owen with his usual charm and tact. Then everyone arrives back in the hub, and the fault lines which have been threatening in the background for a while now finally rip the team asunder.

We begin with the big clash of the alpha males between Jack and Owen, as usual with jack representing the big picture and Owen representing the more human urge to deal with the immediate problem. Jack’s right, as he always is when this argument is played out, particularly as the whole imperative to open the rift comes from Bilis and his manipulations. But in spite of this he handles the situation very badly on a human level, sacking Owen, on a whim, right in front of the rest of the team, thereby weakening their confidence and trust in him.

Owen now has less than 24 hours until he’s retconned, which will essentially take his while life from him. Naturally he deals with this by going to one of those horrible trendy bars he seems to like so much and drowning his sorrows with bottled lager or alcopops. Jack and Gwen, meanwhile, investigate Bilis, discovering that he’s a time traveller, running an antiques business on the Edward Waterfield model.

Bilis gives Gwen a premonition of Rhys dying, and shortly after this stabs Rhys to death. Eve Myles is brilliant at portraying Gwen’s grief, and this is what causes Jack’s authority to ebb away as first Gwen and then the others agree to open the rift. Even Owen suddenly appears to complete the mutiny. It all starts getting a bit nasty, and then Owen shoots Jack, which seems to be the fashionable thing to do in Torchwood these days.

We now discover that all this was a plot by Bilis to bring back his god, Abbadon. The CGI’s a bit unfortunate here, but never mind. The solution is satisfying, with Jack’s immortality ultimately saving the day. Jack’s resurrection is a bit long-winded (I’m sure nobody watching thought for a moment that he was actually dead) but the final scene is great; the hand in the jar starts bubbling, and we hear a familiar sound. It definitely came from within the hub, so the time we see the corresponding scene in Doctor Who it will definitely be set in the Hub and not outside or anything.

Another good ‘un, with some good character stuff, but not quite up there with the best. A strong 4/5.

As for the season, it averages 3.615/5, which may not be that great (if fitted in with the first 28 seasons of Doctor Who it would be a fair bit below average) but represents a creditable showing. I was far more impressed with this season than I was expecting to be, with a lot of underlying themes and character stuff which I didn’t properly register the first time round.

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