I pride myself in a way for being the common desensitized human to what I’m seeing on my television screen, come death or betrayal, I never shed a tear for the characters presented in a drama.
Unfortunately my streak has now ended, but it happened because of one hell of a piece of excellent speculative fiction, and some great acting and directing.
Out of Time is a classic ‘fish out of water’ story, where three passengers on an airplane from 1953 are brought by a time rift into modern times.
Right from the get go the episode shows off its various charms by bringing some great comic relief as the trio are taken shopping by Ianto, and have to adjust to DVDs and scantily clad TV presenters on the covers of magazines.
But what could have turned into an overly comical idea quickly shifts gears into a darker and moving drama about what it might mean to be removed from everything and everyone you know.
John Ellis being torn apart by his son now being an old man afflicted with Alzheimer’s is really a great dramatic moment well pulled of by the actors portraying father and son.
Emma Cowell discovering woman’s lib and the direction of sexuality over the last sixty years is also very poignant, showing how many ways the same road can be traveled in different directions.
Meanwhile, Diane Holmes finds herself entangled with Owen and finding out that even though something that was once bold (such as a woman being a free spirit and a pilot), although more accepted, does not make it any easier.
The outcomes are just as dramatic, even giving us insight into Jack’s mystery and letting Gwen’s boyfriend Clive know that all is not as it seems with Gwen’s life and behavior.
But the thing that ‘got me’ was the whole suicide scene with Jack holding Ellis’s hand as he passes away, even knowing that there is nothing after death but darkness, but better the darkness then to remain a stranger in a strange land. (What was that strange moisture trying to leak from my eyes?)
Emma’s conclusion, although fitting with her earlier motivations, is a little more cliché, skipping town on the bus for the big city and adventures unknown.
Diane Holmes’ fate is not too clear, as it seems she might have actually traveled in time again at the very end of the story, but it is nice to see that Owen is not as callous as he appears in the rest of the series.
The only real problem here is all the contrived sex scenes between Holmes and Owen, which although o.k. the first sequence, gets old fast as we are treated to a couple more as well, each one getting more and more graphic as it goes on. I am not a man to say I cannot stand sexual content in my television viewing, but much like death and violence, I only enjoy it when it motivates the characters or moves along the plot of the story, which these scenes would have done if not peppered throughout the latter half of the episode.
All in all, if they can make more like these and Small Worlds, and less like Cyberwoman and Countrycide, I am really pleased that this show will have a run beyond the first thirteen episodes.