Torchwood has in its first season been a run through the darker edged side of human emotion. From love to loss to displacement, and now we are shown one of the more deadly and uncontrollable parts of the human condition… anger.
This episode starts out well, with a great Weevil scene with Jack, as he becomes more and more the focus and the motivator for the series plots. It also has a great James Bond turn later on for Owen Harper, as he infiltrates the group that is kid napping Weevils off the streets.
Sadly what started off as a really impressive script from Noel Clarke turns into a shallow and blatant rip off of one of my all time favorite films, the movie Fight Club.
It’s a movie with strong views on corporate America and the post-hippie generations’ loss of innocence and disrespect for authority.
Unfortunately, the way these good ideas are handled in the moments up until the climax of Combat fail to capture the true emotive elements of the original text, going for the dark sets and sweaty male bonding aspect rather then the philosophy that was the heart of the film. In fact, the whole confrontation scene between Owen and the Lynch Frost executive seemed to be moved into a room that reflected the dark green hues of the aforementioned motion picture, an apparent attempt to capture the look of Fight Club without its words. (The Torchwood External Hub Interface website even lists some episode information under the tag ‘Weevil Fight Club’.)
The thing that really fails in this episode is that we are not watching an homage to the Fight Club movie, but a weird attempt to turn its principles into something that fits in with the Weevils and the animalism they represent, and it fails terribly.
Also of another low note was Gwen using that infamous amnesia drug on Rhys in able to facilitate her being able to tell him about her affair with Owen and get redemption and any sign of forgiveness. Perhaps if she feeds him enough of the stuff she can condition him to forgive her when a single word is mentioned, like Suzie Costello did in an earlier episode of the series to commit murder and revenge.
Any first run of any show is going to have its ups and downs, and I am not totally without faith in the shows promise, as demonstrated by Small Worlds, Everything Changes and Out of Time, but I do feel that the scripts should be better screened by the script editor, as I can’t fathom how they keep giving the green light to such sad rip offs of the movie world like Fight Club and The Hills Have Eyes.
I thought the idea (other than to entertain by any means necessary) was to come up with original adult science fiction. Combat fails to do this in my opinion, and I hope the finale and the next series bring less if not none of these moments. I know most television production teams do not listen to the opinions of the fans, but in this case, I would hope the cry is heard and heeded, before the great A Fish Called Wanda episode is produced in a years time, with Ianto in the John Cleese role.