Review: Torchwood 1×10 – Out of Time

Torchwood

Ooh, are those piggies I see flying through the skies, direct from the time rift? They must be, because Torchwood has managed to come up with another not too bad episode.

(ROB: note to self – before publishing entry, please insert standard disclaimer here about plot dragging and not making a huge amount of sense, inconsistent characterisation, inconsistent and off-putting use of swearing, Torchwood being most useless organisation in history, etc)

Despite that, the Torchwood staff are actually starting to seem relatively appealing and almost three-dimensional at times (good job there were only three passengers on that plane or else Tosh and Ianto might have had something to do this episode); we were treated to a relatively adult-friendly script; and, bar the usual history-clash clichés (“ooh bananas”), the story was quite fresh.

It was all a bit pointless though: we don’t get to learn much about Jack that we didn’t know already; the fact that Gwen’s desperate for a friend to talk to about Torchwood might have come in useful pre- her affair with Owen, but is pretty obvious now; and the fact that Owen likes to put it about a bit, has a heart yet is a bit of a tosser isn’t much news either. In fact, if we could have had this as the third episode, not only would it have been a whole lot better, I’m sure everyone would have a slightly better opinion of Torchwood and its variable characterisation, since this would have opened everything up more back then.

The conclusion was a bit hurried, I must admit. After drifting along aimlessly for 40 minutes, the story more or less flashed up a subtitle at the bottom of the screen saying, “Come in, disparate plot strands: your time is up! Please finish whatever you’re doing, no matter what state you’re in, within the next 10 minutes”. And lo, all the characters suddenly decided that enough was enough and they’d better wrap up their respective story arcs for no readily apparent reasons, other than because we’d like all our stories to be self-contained and introducing friends for the Torchwood crew would suck away some of the meagre budget.

All in all though, not bad and quite enjoyable at times. Ianto was quite funny, too. Useless, but funny. Bet he forgot to turn on the burglar alarm while they were all down Asda, too.

Still, next week’s looks reassuringly bad, so let’s not assume this is the start of a beautiful new friendship.

PS Tell you what though, they must pay the Torchwood staff a reasonable amount for Owen to get a place on the Bay.

Sudden thought – Torchwood as left-wing propaganda

I had this thought the other day, but I thought I’d wait until now before bringing it up. We all know that each episode explains Torchwood’s gimmick – something about being beyond governments, etc. Yet we all know that they’re actually useless as a covert organisation, absolute incompetents, etc.

Maybe that’s the point. Maybe the whole idea behind Torchwood is that RTD and co want to show us what an organisation with no Parliamentary oversight would be like:

  • no proper training
  • constant mistakes covered up
  • rife sexual harassment of staff
  • bullying management
  • thefts from the workplace of valuable weaponry
  • mental health problems
  • leaky security that requires large-scale drugging of the population to fix

And so on. In short, the show is designed as a left-wing agitprop antidote to the neo-con 24 attitude, namely that top secret organisations that don’t have civilians butting their noses in are the only and best way to fight dangers to national security.

What do you think? Reading too much into it? Giving them too much benefit of the doubt?

  • I still hate all the characters though. Owen the Wide Mouth Frog in particular makes my skin crawl – why do these perfectly attractive women keep sleeping with him when, this being an RTD show, they could have anyone else including each other?

  • Like them? You’re not supposed to like them, I don’t think. If you are, there’s a bit too much carbon monoxide in the writers’ room because, with the possible exception of the unfaithful, stupid, incompetent, whingy, victimhood-seeking Gwen, they’re all distinctly unlikeable in just about every way. Even Captain Jack.
    I still think Owen’s wearing that pheromone spray. There must be traces of it left on his clothes. Maybe he needs to put them on at 60?Ǭ?.

  • That was definitely another above-par episode, although my tolerance is always raised by the presence of Louise ‘old-fashioned face, red lipsitck’ Delamere. Even though that was the same character she played in the Chatterley Trial thing, but with a pilot’s license this time.
    Thought the writers and John Barrowman did a pretty good job of showing what’s happened to Jack, as well. The happy-go-lucky character eroded by fear after one of his exploits actually rebounded on him.
    Mind you, it’s still mostly tosh. And speaking of Tosh, I saw Naoko Mori in Avenue Q on Saturday, and she was fab. Got a hell of a voice on her.

  • Mark H Wilkinson

    On the other hand, maybe we’re just supposed to see Torchwood Three as the branch that’s run on less formal lines, and may be going slightly off the rails since T1 got the crap beat out of it; certainly, the latter organisation seemed a bit more professional.
    And something else to be pointed out: in an episode you missed, it was suggested that they are known to cooperate with UNIT and that the PM was including them as part of security briefs with the leader of the opposition, so there is some question as to how truly independent they may be from exterior authority (in practice rather than in theory).

  • Mark H Wilkinson

    She’s already turned up on YouTube:


  • Look at you, master of understatement: “seemed a bit more professional”?!
    It’s like watching the Kettering branch of HSBC try to run the New York stock exchange in comparison.

  • Mark H Wilkinson

    Yeah, but whenever I use hyperbole, it tends to come across as aggressive to some people.
    Having said that, I recall describing those Danish cartoons of Mohammad as having caused ‘a bit of a kerfuffle’.

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