Toshiko Take A Bow

It may come as no surprise to people on here that I really enjoyed this week’s episode. Now, once you have all recovered from your fainting spells, onto the episode itself.

Torchwood: Greeks Bearing Gifts

For the first six episodes of the series, Toshiko Sato had about as much characterisation as a companion of the old series of Doctor Who: i.e. very little, but now in this episode she has suddenly become a more interesting character. For the first time we saw her outside of the hub, went to her house, found out some background information on her and she had the majority of the action of the episode with the rest of the characters taking a back seat for once.

In fact I hardly saw Ianto in the episode apart from the time Toshiko heard his thoughts about how he doesn’t really want to be there and how he is so miserable (and that brief scene said so much about his state of mind), and then right at the end where the rest of the crew appeared to confront Mary.

In this episode both Owen and Gwen have caught the same smuggy, smug smug virus that the Doctor and Rose had through the whole of the second series, and you really disliked the way they both treated Toshiko in the episode, but that was really the whole point here, we were supposed to feel empathy for Tosh, and see the other characters in a completely different light to how we had before.

Jack was very mysterious in the episode and I am so sure that he is more than just human from Tosh not being able to read his mind, and also the way he was able to project his thoughts to Tosh telepathically in the final scenes. I mean Mary could do that and she wasn’t human was she? Perhaps some humans can do this but I am certain there is more to Jack than meets the eye. I am sure that this will all be addressed by the end of this first series and before Jack returns to Doctor Who to beat the smugness out of the Doctor (hopefully).

Just like Ghost Machine before it Greeks Bearing Gifts was a very character based episode with very little in the way of actual plot. This is not a criticism as we got some good character moments in the episode and I certainly like Tosh more than I have done so far, and I always had a soft spot for her; Owen was just being Owen and Gwen was a little big smug for my liking. Of course by the end Gwen redeemed herself by apologising to Tosh, but Owen just carried on as normal. I don’t believe we are always supposed to like Owen and there are times when he is an annoying bastard but at times he can be quite funny. The problem with him is that most people can’t get past the first time they saw him when he used that spray on that girl to get her to shag him. If I were in Owen’s position, if I’m being honest, I’d have probably done the same thing. Tosh may have held a torch for Owen for a long time before this episode but I doubt she will feel the same way again.

I know for a lot of people the whole lesbian angle was only put in the episode for mere audience titillation but I would refute that and say that both of the times this has happened it had been for plot reasons and not just for titillation for the straight male viewers out there. Now I must admit that that sort of thing is the sort of thing that I will happily watch and I don’t have a problem with it but in this case it was to further the plot and, at the end of the day, it made Tosh happy for a short while and I think she deserved a little bit of happiness even if it was only short lived.

This episode is quite a bit like Whithouse’s episode of Doctor Who (School Reunion if you didn’t know) in that both of them didn’t really have much plot to speak of and both were character pieces, and it also had some funny lines, quite a few of them being in the scenes when Tosh was walking the streets of Cardiff wearing the pendant, hearing the kind of things that most people probably are thinking about as there are walking about minding their own business such as: worrying about sending emails, wishing you had said something witty rather than stupid, hoping that you had got off with someone etc.

Again it was pretty convenient that Tosh happened to walk past someone who was on their way to murder their ex-wife and child but it was a nice touch and showed Tosh in a heroic light. Both Owen and Gwen thoughts that were overheard by Tosh were pretty much the sort of stuff that would happen if they were involved and didn’t want other people to know about it, so that rings true as well.

I suppose you could now make a point that both of the female members of Torchwood have now been seduced by women possessed by aliens, but I don’t think much of it, I am sure that kind of thing happens all the time in those sort of stories (well it does in my mind anyway). I wonder if that is part of the selection process by Torchwood if they are after female staff: you can work for us if you are likely to lez up with the first woman possessed by an alien you meet. Could be.

I must admit that they did seem to have an awful lot of aerial shots of Cardiff in this episode, probably more than they have in quite a few episodes. Perhaps this episode was under running as they had almost a minute long pan over the streets of Cardiff at the end of the episode before the end credits. It looked nice but it did seem that they realised they had a minute left and had to draw it out with something. My girlfriend calls these ‘the Apprentice shots’.

On the whole I thought this was a very good episode with fine performances from both Naoki Mori and Daniela Denby-Ashe (who has the same birthday as me. Not that that means anything, just thought I’d mention it) and some great direction from Colin Teague (get that man on Who soon. I also believe he is directing the Sarah Jane spin-off as well).

So I would have to say that that was another good episode of Torchwood and best of all it beat Lost in the overnight ratings. Well, I’m happy.

Originally posted on Nov 30th 2006

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