Torchwood: Out of Time
Another week, another great episode of Torchwood. No, scratch that, make that a fantastic episode of Torchwood.
If there is one word to describe the episode it is emotional. There may not have been a great deal happening in the episode as far as plot goes, but that really didn’t matter as we got an episode packed with emotions and the nice, simple story of three people trying to find their way in what was, to them, an alien world. It has to be said that my girlfriend really enjoyed this episode and said that it was her favourite episode of the series so far, by a country mile. And, after reading some of the live journal communities, of which I am a member, this episode seems to have been very popular with the female viewer, more than the male viewer. I am not sure if that does have anything to do with the fact that there is no aliens or anything like in the episode or not.
If you don’t like dialogue-heavy, emotional scenes then you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this episode, but I thought it was perfectly pitched, and there were some great characterisation in this episode.
We learned quite a bit about Captain Jack in this episode about how he too is a man out of his time and how he obviously isn’t all that happy about the situation. If any of the main characters could identify with the three people who were stranded in our time then it is certainly Jack. We also saw Owen, for the first time, affected by his lifestyle of leaping into bed with lots of different women, all though quite how he does it is anyone’s guess as he is hardly a good looking bloke is he? I think he is just a jammy bastard really.
The episode belonged really to the three guest stars: Mark Lewis Jones, Louise Delamere and Olivia Hallinan and all three of them gave excellent performances. Lewis Jones’ John Ellis’s part of the episode could probably have been one of the most emotional character arcs I have witnessed on television for a long time and if you didn’t get a lump in your throat when he broke down at the sight of his only son vegetating in a care home, unaware of anything or anyone around him then I don’t know. Perhaps it hit home to me a bit more because I recently lost my Nan and even though she was not in the kind of state that John Ellis’s son was in, I know how I would have felt if that had been me.
Olivia Hallinan gave a believable performance of a young girl from the 1950’s and it is her who was probably the only one of the three ‘temporal immigrants’ who would be able to lead a full life in a time fifty years from what she knows. The scene’s where Gwen was telling her about sex was extremely funny and was the kind of talk you could imagine an older sister giving to a younger sibling (not that I would know but is sounds like it would be) and her shock at finding out that Gwen and Rhys are living together despite the fact that they are not married was quite typical of what a well bought up 1950’s girl would think like, as was when she was getting off with a bloke in a club and just assumed that all he wanted was a kiss and a cuddle. Yeah, right, and the rest.
Louise Delamere’s Diana Holmes, was another strong female character much like Delamere’s character in The Chatterly Affair, and both of them were women who were very sexually liberated for their times. I think she must have the monopoly on that type of role, and you have to admit, she does it so well. There was certainly more than a hint of Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson in her character, which I am pretty sure, was deliberate. I loved the way that she wrapped Owen around her little finger, and really got to him, actually admitting that their little affair was more than just casual sex, which is what most of Owen’s sexual encounters up to that point had been, even with Gwen I would say. Perhaps that is not how Gwen would view it, but from Owen’s point of view I would say that it definitely was just casual. We will have to wait and see on that point because it seems that Gwen spills the beans to Rhys in next week’s episode.
My girlfriend also thought that Diana knew more than she was letting on about the rift and thought that perhaps she had come through the rift before. After all she did get back into her plane at the end and did fly back the way she had come, so maybe she was trying to make her way back to her own time or maybe she just wanted to start again somewhere else. Whatever she was planning on doing she was certainly a very confident woman who would probably be able to cope with anything she came up against.
Certainly it was the John Ellis character that bought out the emotion in the episode with the whole finding his son thing and then him trying to kill himself at the end of the episode. I knew that that scene would not have been that popular with some of the viewers and the whole idea of letting someone end their own life is not considered to be a popular one, and I am sure that if I was ever in that situation I would probably have a different opinion to how I did during the episode. In this case John wanted to end it, had nobody else to miss him, would have done it anyway even if Jack had tried to stop him, so what choice did Jack really have? And Jack did the noble thing and helped him to do it in a dignified way. It was simply the right thing for Jack to do.
I must admit I did find the line where Owen was telling Diane how he felt about her how he just thinks about what she is wearing etc and then kills the romance stone dead by mentioning how her face looks when she comes. Well who said romance is dead? That certainly did raise a giggle. Given Owen’s usual demeanour with woman, he can be a charmer when he wants to be as the scene where he takes Diana dancing (even though it was on top of a multi-storey car park in Cardiff) shows.
Catherine Tregenna certainly has a handle on the characters in the show and she makes a good job of a script where very little happens and the brilliant thing about it is that you don’t really miss the fact that there isn’t a lot going on, as you are drawn into the dilemma’s of the characters and what might become of them. That is the mark of a good writer making things interesting even if nothing actually does happen. Certainly I didn’t miss the fact that there was no alien involvement. I mean who is to say that you have to have alien involvement in every episode? In this case the episode worked better because it was just about people rather than about aliens and I am certainly looking forward to Tregenna’s next episode of Torchwood in a couple of weeks.
Still, it could have been a lot worse, the person in the plane landing in 21st century Cardiff could have been Glenn Miller. What a thought!
Originally posted on Dec 21, 2006