Every once in awhile, television stories and drama make the best and boldest leap I know, and it starts to play out like a wonderfully written fictional short story. The pace moves just right, the air of suspense is tangible and the ideas presented in the tale drag you in just enough to suspend disbelief. Small Worlds is a wonderful example of this.
This episode is another top notch story that shows that ‘adult themes’ do not have to mean bedroom scenes. It means taking simple things and thinking about the twists and turns you can add into the story, and then using the medium of the cameras and SFX to enhance and flesh out the basic plot.
Captain Jack got a little bit more polished as a character in this one, and while still being a little dark and cold (which is a nice touch if done properly), we also get a little back story to let us get to know him better and some believable emotion from him. There was not a roof to be seen!
I am yet again also inclined to say that if we could tone the violence down just a smudge, and leave the adult sexual world behind, this is everything Doctor Who has not been so far (bar a few episodes made of the right stuff); but it dare not.
The other great thing here is that it was not dealing with a violent alien race, bent on survival or conquest, but something that’s a part of our world, always was too, we just can’t see it or understand it. It is the outside, the true outside, and it really shocks us and makes us sit up and take notice when it comes around to visit us – and besides, everyone knows you hate those pesky enemies you cannot see…
The little rip off I spotted and groaned at, when Gwen is picking the flower petal out of the child molesters corpse, a mimic of a similar scene in the movie Silence of the Lambs, was quickly forgotten, although I’m starting to think that someone in the Torchwood team is a great fan of that movie, as in Everything Changes the Weevil and Gwen do a little “Hello Clarice” moment down in the Torchwood cells, apeing the scene where the two main characters of the movie meet for the first time.
I really almost thought that my Torchwood fan days were numbered after the Cyberwoman tale; thankfully I am happy to report that I was wrong, and we got to see some of Captain Jack’s secrets this time.
Also, we get another little Doctor Who reference, as Jack mentions the Mara, an entity that appeared in two Peter Davison episodes. This is a nice touch also, as we are shown that not all Who references will be about the new series episodes, and that’s a great way of aligning the two, while also a good way to do a reference without alienating casual viewers, another thing I wish we would see more of in Who.
I hope there are more episodes like this in the future; pushing the series to become its own special entity.