Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Torchwood: Something Borrowed

“By day you’re chasing the scum of the universe. Come midnight, you’re the wedding fairy…”

Of all the weeks to watch this one…!

It occurs to me before watching this that there’s something quite clever in making sure that the previous story features a wedding ruined by the death of the groom. Let’s face it: there are all sorts of tropes and genre conventions indicating Rhys should be dead meat. And the similarities between this series and Angel remind me that Joss Whedon would have definitely killed him off. So it’s not only nice, but a genuine twist, that it doesn’t happen.

I’ll be honest; I didn’t really get the humour in this episode. It’s not necessarily that it’s a farce; I’m not exactly the world’s biggest fan of them but I liked The Romans. Then again I don’t exactly have a wide frame of reference when it comes to farces. No, I think it’s the mother-in-law jokes (even if they’re about Nerys Hughes) and seeing this kind of humour in a modern context for which put me off for some reason. I can accept farce in The Romans; that was made in 1965 and is now archive television. It doesn’t feel very Torchwood. Still, lots of individual moments were great, and Ianto gets some nice one-liners. Plus Jack gets his fashion sense critiqued by Rhys’ mum, and Rhys says a very naughty word.

There’s some good character stuff, too; I like the moments with Gwen and Tosh, alone with the wedding dress, unable to really connect with each other, as always. And still we’re being told that Gwen and Jack have a forbidden attraction to each other; it might actually be the shape shifter, but for a moment it looks as though Gwen is actually going to kiss Jack. And, gentleman that he is, it’s clear throughout that he’s jealous of Rhys. There’s always potential for this as a possible future love triangle. After all, the scene with Rhys’ chainsaw cutting out just before Jack shoots the alien dead with a Very Big Gun might be seen to symbolise something by those with dirty minds.

There are other good moments, of course: the shop assistant’s scepticism at Ianto buying a wedding dress for a “friend”; Owen dancing with Tosh to Paul Weller (aaah!); “That’s for calling my mother an ugly thing”. The final revelation that Jack was married long ago isn’t one of them, though; random revelations from Jack’s past are a much devalued currency by now. There’s no sense of any thought-out pattern to his history.

So, an amusing bit of fluff, little more. 3/5. Oh, and is it just me but is it only weddings in pop culture where you get asked if there’s any reason why the couple shouldn’t get married? I’ve been to a fair few weddings, and this never seems to happen in real life.

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