SEASON ONE: EPISODE 1: “Everything Changes”
A brutal murder leads WPC Gwen Cooper to Torchwood, a journey that will change her life forever.
This is definitely Gwen Cooper’s episode, all the way. Essentially it’s the story of an ordinary police officer who accidently stumbles into the world of Torchwood, and by the end of the episode proves she has the right stuff to join the team. I watched this episode with an eye toward how well it stands on its own: quite nicely, I think. Although technically a spin-off of Doctor Who, I think of it as more of a “parallel” series, such as CBS’s various CSI shows. That is, they occupy the same universe and may occasionally cross over, but remain independent of each other.
That’s not to say the Doctor Who references aren’t there, merely that they’re not integral to the enjoyment of the show. For example, the Doctor’s hand (from “The Christmas Invasion”) is seen in the Torchwood headquarters, but it’s no more necessary to know the story behind it in order to follow the story at hand (no pun intended) than it is to know the history of a trophy seen in the background of the Batcave to enjoy a Batman story. The story differentiates four different versions of Torchwood, and unless I haven’t been paying close enough attention to Doctor Who (always a possibility), more than one of these versions have yet to be fully explained.
While still told from Gwen Cooper’s point of view, about midway through the first episode the spotlight of attention is thrown on Jack Harkness, a character with a mysterious two-year gap in his history which I look forward to seeing revealed. Gwen learns the secret of his longevity in this episode, but apparently his teammates remain unaware at this point. The next episode is titled “Day One,” which makes me glad “Everything Changes” isn’t listed as “episode zero.”
Perhaps I read too many comics books.
BIG FINISH AUDIOS:
ALIENS AMONG US - Part 1
1.1 Changes Everything - p14
1.2 Aliens & Sex & Chips & Gravy - p14
1.3 Orr - p14
1.3 Superiority Complex - p15
ALIENS AMONG US - Part 2
2.1 Love Rat - p15
2.2 A Kill to a View - p15
2.3 Zero Hour - p15
2.3 The Empty Hand - p15
ALIENS AMONG US - Part 3
3.1 Poker Face - p15
3.2 Tagged - p15
3.3 Escape Room - p15
3.3 Herald of the Dawn - p15
SEASON ONE: EPISODE 8: “They Keep Killing Suzie”
When the word Torchwood is daubed in blood at a murder scene, the investigation leads to a familiar face.
Suzie? Who’s “Suzie”? Oh, that Suzie!
Now that there has been at least one episode spotlighting each of the Torchwood personnel, it’s only “natural” (for a show of this “nature”) to swing the spotlight to one of its dead former members, the one killed in the first episode. This episode had a few good twists (if you want to avoid SPOILERS now would be a good time to stop reading), chief among them that the whole murder mystery was Suzie’s contingency plan to bring herself back from the dead should her plans not pan out. The killing of her father was also surprising, but it came completely out of left field, one of many problems peppering this episode’s plot.
I liked this episode well enough, but I doubt it will hold up well to subsequent viewings because it is so rife with plot holes, logical inconsistencies and writer’s fiats. For one thing, not only did her plan rely on timing far beyond her ability to control (her dupe’s chanting of the Dickenson poem to trigger lockdown at the exact moment of her escape), but also on the sympathy and complicity of Gwen, a woman she hadn’t even met at the time she laid the groundwork to put the plan in action.
Furthermore, the plot called for the Torchwood HQ to be in lockdown long enough for Suzie to get away with Gwen and get a head start, but not long enough that Jack and crew couldn’t catch up with them in the end, and the incredible… no, unbelievable… leap of intuition that caused Toshiko to pull out of her arse that the ISBN from a book of Emily Dickenson’s poetry would break the lockdown is writer’s fiat of the worst kind. Also, with Gwen’s life at stake, the police could have headed them off at their destination rather than making fun of the Torchwood crew for being locked in their own headquarters.
I would also like to go on record as saying that “resurrection gauntlet” is a far cooler name than “risen mitten”, and, finally, the line about gloves coming in pairs seemed pointlessly tacked on. If the “mitten” does have a mate, it likely does something else entirely (such as kills, I’m thinking), as the counterpart to the bit of alien tech that read the past did.
The good bits were very good, but unfortunately outweighed by the bad.
I never liked Owen...but that's probably because I saw the actor first as Mr. Guppy in Bleak House and was kinda creeped out by him.