Apocalypse Now

TW End3

Christmas Review #11 of 12

A double header of Torchwood on New Year’s Day saw the first season reach its tumltuous conclusion on BBC3.  The first half was the episode “Captain Jack Harkness”, which saw Jack and Tosh diverted through the rift back to a 1940’s dance hall only to come face-to-face with another Captain Jack Harkness, who, it turned out, was the original.  It was in the 1940’s that we first met the Captain back in the first season of Doctor Who in the ‘fantastic’ episode, “The Empty Child”, so it was interesting to see him back in these surroundings again.  Then the bombshell revelation that Captain Jack is not his real name, so a further level of mystery is added to the character, who is becomming more and more Doctor-like as time goes on.

In the final episode “End Of Days”, we see the return of the character Billis who had turned up being incredibly creepy in the previous episode as the manager of the Dance Hall.  The mysterious and sinister stranger with an ability to travel through time got the whole of fandom speculating that this may have been the return of a certain evil Time Lord (and you never know, it still might) but it turned out he was trying to raise Abbidon (sp?), another Beast that seemed closely related to the one found at the bottom of The Satan Pit.  Rather than being chained up, this one clomped, Godzilla-like, over Cardiff destoying all life until he met up with the one person who couldn’t be killed.  The beast seemed to overdose on Jack’s life-force and dropped dead.  Jack was all but killed but he was resurrected, only for a familiar wheezing, groaning sound to fill the hub as the Doctor arrived (off-screen) to whisk him who knows where at last.

TW End

So, the “End Of Days” has brought the Torchwood to an end (for this year at least) and it’s certainly been successfull in regards to viewing figures, if not critics.  Charlie Brooker’s review of the year compared it to a live action remake of Scooby Doo but I think that’s a little unfair.  Admittedly, I think they need to work on the adult themes and make sure that
they are not quite as jarring, but I’ve been quite pleased that we’ve got an interesting, if not especially likeable, set of main characters.

  • Toshiko is probably the least explored of the five main stars, her mother’s ghostly appearance towards the end was odd in that we didn’t know anything about her.
  • Ianto is my favourite and was great in the “Cyberwoman” episode.  His comment to Owen that he is “so much more” than a tea-boy suggests that there may be more secrets to be revealed.
  • Owen had the biggest journey of the five this year after his affair with Gwen, his doomed love affair with Diane, the Weevil fight club, and then (trying to) kill his boss.  His tears after Jack forgave him were all the more powerful.
  • Gwen is the newest member of the team but seems to have spent the most part of the 13 episodes trying to sort out her work/life balance.  Definately worth mentioning that her reaction to Rhys’s ‘death’ was a standout piece of acting.
  • Jack has become even more enigmatic.  I was surprised that no-one thought to expand on his “missing two years” but the cannot-die issue was well (and sparingly) used, the reveal that he wasn’t really called Jack Harkness, and the subtle mentions of his past (e.g his brother) all add up to mean I’m really looking forward to seeing more of the guy.

It’s been a good start and the Other Viewer even thinks it’s better than Doctor Who, it’s not but it’s a promising start.

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