Adam Adamant

Torchwood: Adam

Showing your regular characters in a totally different light is very commonplace in science fiction shows, so it seems no surprise that Torchwood has decided to plough that particular furrow, and it is to their credit that they did it brilliantly and produced what was one of the best episodes of the series to date bettering Tregenna’s own Out of Time.

Catherine Tregenna’s script is up to the standards of her two series one episodes and there are some great character moments in this episode even though the characters are not the same as you would normally expect them to be. For instance Tosh has become a sluttish vamp; Owen has become a geek; Jack has become rather subdued and weak willed and Gwen appeared to totally forget Rhys. There isn’t much in the way of plot, but who needs plot when you get an episode like this one?

I mean poor Rhys. They go away for what one can only assume was a dirty weekend and when Gwen comes back from work that evening she pulls a gun on him and threatens to kill him and doesn’t appear to know who he is. That is one of the more disturbing bits in the episode, as is when Ianto is made to believe he is a monster and has killed two girls and could do the same again any moment.

Gareth David-Lloyd gave an excellent performance in this episode and you could almost believe that he did what he had committed the crimes that he thought he had done. You do have to feel sorry for Rhys and Kai Williams continued to give an impressive performance as Rhys here trying to keep it all together when his fiancee doesn’t recognise him. I mean how horrible would that be? In my opinion, that is one of the scariest things that I have ever seen on Torchwood to date because I know exactly how I would feel if my wife came home from work and didn’t know who I was. Also was it just me or did Rhys seem to know who Jack was? Perhaps Gwen didn’t Retcon him at the end of Meat or perhaps there is another explanation. Rhys didn’t seem to be that bothered about Adam but as he knows very little about Gwen’s life in Torchwood then he wouldn’t think twice about it. He also had other things on his mind at the time, like why did his fiancée not know who the hell he was.

Adam was an interesting character and the actor who played him did a good job but he didn’t really do a great deal did he? Well apart from mess about with the memories of all of the team that is. I mean when the episode started it was as though he had always been a member of Torchwood (and for the rest of the characters except for Gwen he had been) and he was even cleverly inserted into the clips in the pre-title sequence something that Buffy did for the episode Superstar when a minor character took centre stage. Then it started to get very frustrating as nobody seemed to notice that there was something wrong. Gwen did at the beginning when she came in from her weekend away and didn’t know who Adam was but that was soon put right when Adam did his shtick and in doing so removed her memories of her fiancée. Nice!

I don’t know if you can actually say that what Adam was doing was actually evil, because he was only doing what he needed to survive, which is essentially what all life forms do, but it certainly wasn’t very pleasant for a few of them, particularly Ianto and Gwen, so Jack had no choice but to give them all Retcon to make them forget the last few days because if they didn’t remember Adam, then he would just simply cease to exist and it would be like it never happened to the rest of them.

Owen and Tosh seemed to have swapped personalities in this episode with Owen becoming the nerdy one chasing his true love, rather than the otherway round, which we are used to. It just didn’t feel right really even though it was nice to see a very confident Tosh exuding a raw, sexuality that she has never done before and boy does she do it well. I am sure she was even wearing a tighter top that she might otherwise do but that might just be me being a bit pervy as Tosh is my favourite female character in Torchwood and how good was it that she ended up with a character with same name as myself in the episode? Probably not for anyone else to be honest but I liked it! It also seemed a bit strange feeling sorry for Owen as he was knocked back by Tosh when he was obviously fawning and totally, head over heels in love with her. God, that bought back memories of myself when I was about 13 but that isn’t important and I am digressing.

It was nice to finally see what the Boeshane peninsular looks like and to get a bit of background on Captain Jack even though by the end of the episode we know little more about his background than we did before. We now know who Gray is and we know what his parents looked like but that is about it. We still don’t know what his real name is which I think is still a good thing, as we don’t need to know much about him and what we know is quite enough for the time being. It also allows for them to give away bits and pieces over the course of time making his character even more fascinating. Well for me anyway. I mean do we even need to know Jack’s real name? Would it really make any difference if we did? I don’t think that it would.

Ok it wasn’t completely original and was like a mixture of Star Trek: TNG episode and a couple of Red Dwarf episodes but it was very well written, sympathetically directed, superbly acted and bought a lump to my throat on a number of occasions.

I would highly recommend this episode and hope that one day Catherine Tregenna will get a crack at Doctor Who.

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Coming Soon

Here is a list of titles for the latter half of the second series of Torchwood. As always these titles are subject to change.

7: Dead Man Walking by Matt Jones
8: A Day In The Death by Joseph Lidster
9: Something Borrowed by Phil Ford
10: From Out Of The Rain by PJ Hammond
11: Adrift by Chris Chibnall
12: Fragments by Chris Chibnall
13: Exit Wounds by Chris Chibnall

Meat is Murder

Torchwood: Meat

It was only a matter of time before the character of Rhys, Gwen’s long suffering fiancé, got an episode to himself, because after all the shit that she has put him through he deserves it and he is virtually a regular with the amount of episodes he has been in to date, and he got quite a good episode to himself at that.

I do have to admit that it did take a bit of time to get going but once it got going it was another excellent episode was from the pen of Catherine Tregenna. It was quite a bit different to the Catherine Tregenna scripts of the past series in that it was more action packed that her other episodes whereas the previous episode, which was a more Tregennaish episode (at least when compared to this episode), was actually penned by Helen Raynor.

I am not sure if the point of this episode was to say that you shouldn’t eat meat, if it is badly treated (Morrissey would have been proud) or not, but that is the impression that you might have got from this episode. Would all the vegetarian viewers be sitting there all smug and everything saying I told you so to their meat eating friends?

Probably not as there was no part of the episode where it says that you shouldn’t kill animals for meat, rather that it this case the animal was obviously alive and in pain while it was being sliced apart. I think that may have been the point of the episode because there is really no moralising about the reasons why you shouldn’t eat meat at all or no diatribes on the benefits of eating vegetables present in the episode. If anything it might make you may not want to eat at any fast food establishment (in the Merthyr area or in any area quite frankly) for a while after watching either (though having said that you might not have wanted to before and definitely will never consider doing so), but it certainly won’t put you off meat, it just might make you wonder exactly what it is that you are eating at times.

There was plenty of humour in the episode with the best line coming from Ianto, after Tosh said that they could feed the world with the meat after realising that it appears to be constantly growing despite the best efforts of the bad guys to kill it, when he proclaims ‘we could release a single”.

There was some good banter going on between Rhys and Jack in the episodes, with Rhys asking Jack if he might be gay, or that it was a shame that he wasn’t a bit uglier. Tosh in this episode returns to her more supporting role and for this episode is back fancying the pants of Owen without him even being aware of it. I mean she made him his favourite sandwiches and everything, what more does she need to do?

There was some interesting direction in this episode with the quick camera pans back and forth during the scene when Rhys confronts Gwen about what he saw, and the bizarre angle he employed when the meat guys locked the team in and it looked for all the world as if the guy was lying down on the door rather than standing next to it which he was actually doing.

The ending was pretty much the correct thing to do for the alien itself. I mean it was in pain and there was no way that Torchwood could have actually nursed it back to health and then released it back into the rift, not at the size that it had grown to at that point, and also as Ianto put it where would they store it? I mean I know that the hub is rather large but is it really large enough to hold a massive alien whale cow creature. It was almost as large as the warehouse it was being stored it when Torchwood came across it in the first place so god knows how large it could have grown.

I am not sure if at the end of the episode Gwen had given Rhys a retcon pill because she stormed back into the hub at the end saying that she couldn’t bring herself to do it and then stormed back out again. Unless she gave it to Rhys when she kissed him at the end it might be possible that he was not retconned, but would they possibly allow that to happen as the only other people who see the hub who aren’t members of the team seem to end up dead.

Another good episode. 7 out of 10

Poor Mancunian Tommy

Torchwood: To The Last Man

To The Last Man is the obligatory Toshiko episode. Like the previous seasons Greeks Bearing Gifts, the episode features the computer expert having a doomed relationship, which will end in tears for poor Toshiko. That is however where the similarities between this episode and GBG end, because this is a much better episode and quite easily the best episode of the series so far.

It shares themes with Out of Time and Captain Jack Harkness from the previous year and like those episodes the plot is more about character than the story. I think that this is where Torchwood seems to excel with these more intimate character based episodes rather than the more over the top action packed plots which, although fun to watch, are often not as satisfying as these less showy episodes.

I have always had a soft spot for Toshiko and it was nice to see an episode featuring her as the main character as I think that she is often underused, and she is now more of a rounded character (although if you look at her she is already quite rounded in her own way) after this episode and you feel that you know a lot more about and I, for one, can emphasise with her more than I can any other character in the series.

The love affair between her and Tommy in this story was much more believable than her affair with Mary the previous year and it has nothing to do with the fact that this was a heterosexual affair, rather than a lesbian one, rather that it made sense and was actually believeable. It was rather touching in fact and the resolution where they knew that they would never see each other again was actually almost heartbreaking as you wanted them to settle down together because they just seemed to be the perfect couple.

Witness the scene when Tosh and Tommy first go out after he has had all of his tests and the rest of the team remark how sweet it was that they were going for a drink, followed by a movie and then possibly a pizza. It was almost as if the rest of them were proud parents watching their offspring go out on their first date. Bless.

One of the other really good bits about this episode was the pre-credit sequence featuring the 1918 Torchwood versions of Jack and Gwen, Gerald and Harriet, who were ever so British and stiff-upper lipped, all speaking with perfect received pronunciation, with their rather incongruous technology for the time period. I mean Torchwood had cryogenic technology in 1918, which I am certain didn’t exist in that time, although I am willing to stand corrected if I am talking rubbish.

Of course this is Torchwood and they are always going to have more hi-tech technology than the period due to the rift and all of that. It was nice that we saw a glimpse of what Torchwood was like in the past because we all know that Torchwood was founded in the Victorian era and has probably been in Cardiff since the first known rift activity from The Unquiet Dead, but have never been shown, or had even mentioned, previous Torchwood crews, so that was a nice change and shows that Torchwood does in fact have a history, and quite an interesting one at that.

There was even a line when Jack said that Tommy had been there longer than any of them and then corrected that to any of you so how long had Jack been involved with Torchwood? We know that Jack had been on the Earth since the 1890’s but he certainly wasn’t part of Torchwood in 1918, or he would have know about Toshiko’s involvement and he would have been in that photograph of the 1918 team.

Of course, we now know why Toshiko was recruited to Torchwood because they always knew that she was an important part of it, a very important part in this case. I wonder if that were the case with the other members of the crew or just with Toshiko.

It certainly does make you wonder and opens some wonderful possibilities for future episodes and fan fiction exploring these previous incarnations of Torchwood. What about the original incarnation of Torchwood Cardiff, imagine what that would have been like, or the 1960s incarnation where they all wore mini-skirts (were they all woman in that time I wonder), the possibilities are endless and I have no doubt that on various Torchwood blogs and communities out there fiction is being written featuring Gerald and Harriet as I write these words.

Helen Raynor gave us a fine script, a more impressive offering that her first Torchwood episode and her Doctor Who two-parter last year and shows that she has grown as a writer during that intervening time and does make her Sontaran epic in series four a possible story to watch out for if she turns in a script like this one.

It seemed quite convoluted at first but in the end it turned out to be deceptively simple and by the end it generally made sense and told a simple story well. We don’t know quite why Tommy was taken by Torchwood apart from the whole time paradox thing as if he hadn’t been taken by the 1918 Torchwood lot he would never have been able to tell the 1918 lot to take him in the first place.

As Pertwee would have said they were trapped in a temporal paradox and had no choice but to do what they had to do, in order for the fabric of the space continuum not to collapse in on itself, as it might have otherwise done or something to that effect. So the fact that it was a temporal paradox was a perfect explanation for why Tommy was taken but I guess for some people that wouldn’t be enough. For me though that explained the whole thing and I am happy with it.

A friend of mine said it was a bit of bad continuity that there was still power in the hospital, even though it was about to be demolished. I am not sure that this is a plot hole in itself but perhaps it could be something to do with the time shifts or the rift itself, rather than a health and safety concern on behalf of the demolition company or a fault on the part of the writer and script editor.

A lot of the scenes set in the hospital with the ghosts appearing at random intervals were rather reminiscent of Sapphire and Steel, which I appreciate as a fan of that particular show. It is no wonder that P J Hammond seems attuned to the format of Torchwood when you see episodes like this one, it is almost a spiritual relative of it.

Torchwood is going from strength to strength this series and, hopefully, it won’t be long before a third series is commissioned.