Review: Torchwood 1×10 – Out of Time


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?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.