Third-episode verdict: Torchwood


So here we are already: episode three. Must be time for a verdict.

Tricky. After a flawed but fun opening episode, we had a disappointing but still potentially promising second episode that took the lustre off things a little. The third episode was, however, an absolute yawn-fest. No interesting dialogue and a somewhat trite attempt at adult emotions that again, we’d seen a dozen times before. This is starting to seem like a trend.

There was more typical kack-handedness from Torchwood, the crack commandos of sci-fi that seem to need basic training in how to use Google – the kind of people who keep pressing buttons on potential bombs, just to see what they do. They must have an observer from the Darwin Awards on stand-by at all times. Of course, since Captain Jack’s gun-firing training programme is designed to turn anyone from complete gun novice to Chow Yun-Fat in two hours – albeit without any follow-up training, dealing with little things like moving targets, etc – maybe there’s more to them than meets the eye.

Characterisation is all over the place. Gwen, our heroine, has apparently been a WPC for so short a time that she’s never seen a knifing or anyone dead. Her boyfriend has mutated from being the kind of guy who can cook a meal for two while she’s out into someone who can’t even work out how to put the tablets in the washing machine without calling her (you put them in the little bag that comes with the box. The instructions are on the side. Can you see me going “Duh!” from over there?). And Captain Jack is as bland as bland can be, although at least he’s starting to flirt a (very) little.

Maybe it’ll pick up by the fifth episode like the first series of new Who. There’s still a kind of fun element to the show that means there’s usually something good you can extract from each episode, but if you’re not a Who fan or Welsh, I’m going to have to say either don’t bother or wait until Russell T Davies or PJ Hammond is writing the script. If you like Who, it’s kind of compulsory though, particularly since the Cybermen are in the next episode. But I was really hoping this was going to be better.