Torchwood: Sleeper

I must admit that I was mightily impressed with James Moran’s debut script for television, it was funny, fast paced and had a good central idea of sleeper agents sent to a planet who are totally unaware of who or what they truly are, which, alright, was not James Moran’s idea and has often been used in other science fiction shows, but I thought it worked and was a good episode in its own right.

Ianto continued his metamorphosis into the shows resident comic (with some great lines he is certainly an improved character in this second series, and is a lot more confident than he was in the previous series and is afforded more respect and is included a lot more as a proper team member rather than glorified teaboy) and I have not noticed his make a single cup of coffee so far, so perhaps they order that in as well as pizza!

Moran even gave Tosh a better share of the action, than she is normally afforded, and she is too is an improved character because of it although having said that I have always had a soft spot for Tosh, so it is nice to see her with more to do. They all worked well together in this episode, and I do believe that this is going to be how it is from now with the characters having forgotten about their petty dislikes of their fellow Torchwood team-mates and are getting on with the job in hand without any of the back biting and sniping which you would expect when they have been through what they have and they can now get along, which is the one thing I think is an improvement this series.

I must admit when I was watching the bit when the other sleeper agents were activated when Beth was frozen I did wonder why they had never considered that possibility when Jack was telling everyone about the Sleeper agents. He did say that there was an advance guard but he didn’t seem to consider that a problem at first.

In the end though the advance guard of this alien race did seem to only consist of four people (Beth, the woman with the baby, the smartly dressed man and the paramedic) which isn’t really much of an advance guard when you think about, but when they can do what they do, perhaps they only need about four of them. After all we only every had three Daleks at a time throughout the original run of Doctor Who so there is a kind of precedent set for the amount of aliens needed for an actual invasion.

Of course by the end of the episode they didn’t solve the problem which means that no doubt at some point they will encounter these aliens again, probably in another episode written by Mr Moran. After this episode, though, I am looking forward to Moran’s episode of Doctor Who (the one set in Pompeii) which should be a good one and, if this one is anything to go by, a funny one too.

I thought that the direction was frenetic and was often a bit too fast paced for its own good. The opening scene before the titles was well done but left you not really knowing what had happened except for the fact that it probably wasn’t very nice.

The episode was relatively gory and the amount of blood on show will probably be heavily trimmed when the episode is repeated but I didn’t think that it was overly gory. In fact considering it was written by a bloke who’s only previous work was a horror film I was expecting it to be a bit gorier than it actually was.

The girl playing Beth was better when she was playing the fake human Beth, than the alien Beth, and you did start to feel sorry for her, even though she was in fact a homicidal alien killing machine, like Gwen was when she was talking about her boyfriend and how she feels human and all that sort of stuff.

I thought that Sleeper was a good episode with lots of humour, heart and action. I hope the second series continues along this vein, which I have no doubt that it will. I thought Torchwood was great during its initial run, but it is even better this time round.