Monday, 21 February 2011

Torchwood: Children of Earth (Day Two)

“If you’re the bad guys, why doesn’t it say that on your file? And, if you’re the good guys, who am I working for?”

RTD hands over to John Fay, whose dialogue (polished by RTD though it must be) doesn’t quite sparkle as much. This is still brilliant, though, much as it doesn’t actually advance the plot very far. It’s about the character moments, and the fun and fascination of seeing our heroes regroup from their lowest point until they’re ready to fight back.

We start with Ianto and Gwen, dirty, shocked, with the whole world suddenly against them. These scenes are brilliantly shot by Euros Lyn, and give a real sense of paranoia. We’re then quickly reminded that Frobisher, who is generally presented to us with sympathy, is the one who has ordered this cold-blooded assassination. And here’s the sinister Dekker again, revealing that the 456 have asked the British government to built something without telling them what it is. Things are going all A for Andromeda.

There’s comedy too, of course, not least with Tom Price being great, as usual, as PC Andy. I love his “I mean, we’re not going in there all guns blazing, are we?” followed by the clicking of the guns!

Gwen- and Rhys- are on the run, the enemy has eyes everywhere, and as both of their accounts have been frozen they can’t even withdraw any money. Everything between the two of them is great. They’re a fantastic couple, and I love Rhys’s lines. And that it’s his knowledge of the haulage industry that allows them to get down to That London. Better still is Gwen’s revelation that she’s pregnant. You just have to love the pair of them.

Ianto’s interaction with his family is great, too; it’s fab how everyone just rallies round. I love the army of chavs which distracts the government surveillance agents so that Ianto’s sister (what’s her actual name, he asked, knowing he’ll be googling it within minutes?) can sneak away to meet Ianto.

Oh, and there’s a scene early on where Ianto sees a copy of The Times. The wonders of the pause button tell me that it’s “Wednesday September 2009”. Aren’t all these present day Whoniverse stories supposed to be set one year in the future, then? Has someone much cleverer than me been keeping count to see if it all fits or not? Am I the only one sad enough to think about this? Don’t answer that! The pause button also shows Gwen’s date of birth at one point. She’s a year younger than me. I feel old.

There’s more ominous-sounding emphasis of the 456 only contacting the UK. And also more evidence of what an utter **** the prime minister is. His comments to Frobisher are toe-curling: All I’ve done is put you on the front line. That’s what the front line’s for, John. First to fall.”

And then… “We are coming… tomorrow!” it’s all going to kick off.

Questions about Jack that we’ve all wondered are answered here as the remaining bits of him gradually, painfully and horribly heal to become a living body. And his fate is horrible- encased inside a concrete block, fated to die painfully of asphyxiation again and again, a fate worthy of Dante’s Inferno, for all eternity. Or the rest of the episode, anyway.

Lois makes her fateful choice in meeting Gwen and Rhys, explaining to them that the Government really does want them dead, and literally committing treason on only her second day at work. This is a very big decision and a very big deal; the Official Secrets Act is a very serious thing. I can’t remember how this ends for her but, unfortunately, I suspect she’s going down. A shame, because she’s a good person who’s doing the right thing for the right reasons. I love that she approaches the whole thing like a PA!

Gwen and Ianto’s rescue mission, wrapping up the episode, fails as we knew it must, only for Ianto to save the day with a forklift truck. The gang are all back together, and next episode seems likely to be eventful…

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