The thing that has struck me most so far about Torchwood is that although the show deals with alien technology and species, it never forgets that the members of Torchwood are human beings, trapped on their small little planet, and as such have their own agendas and troubles to cope with.
Such is the case with Owen, who before this weeks episode seemed to be nothing more then the comic relief within Torchwood Cardiff, who now, via a vision seen through the alien ‘ghost machine’, seeks out a murderer who killed a young girl in 1963. The fact that murderer Ed Morgan is still living 43 years later with his murderous past, suffering various mental traumas is a nice touch, and really shows the kind of drama Torchwood is reaching for.
Owen, for his part, is quickly becoming my favorite member of the Torchwood team and seems to be getting more rounded out as a character as the series progresses. Captain Jack is also showing more and more of himself, and seems to have been damaged by the events taking place at the end of the first series of Doctor Who. Gwen, Toshiko, and Ianto are still growing on me, but something tells me that even they will eventually feel like old friends.
The story itself is done well, with the plot really keeping you going till the end. Even the action scenes are well placed, never getting in the way of the actual plot. As ‘ghost’ scenes go, these are terrific, with an atmosphere that really gets your blood pumping in all the right ways. The scene with the little boy in the train station is especially eerie, and shows what can be done even without showing any graphic material, provided you keep it mysterious.
The comedic elements placed around this, like the kid playing football who screams for Owen to kick neighborhood bad boy Bernie’s head in, are also well written, giving balance to the overall effect of the show, and so far in my view this show is also good for the reoccurring good one liner, much to its credit.
The ending sequence is of course what stands out here, with all the pieces to the puzzle being put together, and a marvelous finish to a great fifty minutes of television. The idea of the possible futures, a straight reference to the Doctor Who world of science since the Space Museum, was a nice touch, and also showed great attention is being paid to make sure none of the fan boys cry foul on this one, and this fan boy is grateful for the effort.
Now, I know that a great deal of television has love elements and romance elements in it, but I do not like the whole ‘are they/ aren’t they’ sub plot starting to develop between Jack and Gwen if for no other reason then it could be seen coming from miles away, even before the show aired. Hopefully this will get a bit of the excellent plot twists we have seen so far in the individual episodes.
Episode immediately following a shows premiere is always the most scrutinized and the most watched, to see if the programme succumbs to a ‘sophomore jinx’. Torchwood does not blink an eye, and I really have nothing but praise so far for the series, minus the fact that I’m a bit jealous that some of these elements could not appear toned down in Doctor Who, although of course that show must appeal to a wider audience.
This brings me to a query someone once brought up in the forums here. Now that I know I like Torchwood as a series a great deal, does that mean I like it better than Who with its darker content?
The simple answer would be no, as great as Captain Jack is (certainly no Doctor by any means) – some elements are of course in this shows favor, having been geared for a more adult following.
That said, next week promises a possibly more adult view on the Cyberman conversion process, and I am looking forward to seeing what can be done with it. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait.