It’s lonely out there in the cold adult world, working your fingers to the bone and watching the rest have all the fun. Fortunately, you can find an alien friend to rearrange your perceptions of the planet and perhaps even have a little ‘get together’.
This weeks installment is an improvement over last weeks episode, and even though it continues to borrow from other televised sources (See “Buffy: Earshot” and the film “Unbreakable”.), it at least was a good idea to begin with.
Best in all of this is the idea of hearing another’s thoughts in your own head, and the consequences of being able to do so, as some of our human thoughts are not exactly squeaky clean in the first place.
Although known as an adult show, sex scenes have been kept to a minimum, avoiding the gratuitous and remaining vital to the plot. The whole Gwen/Owen subplot was reduced to a comic level, which seems appropriate… It would seem we never know what Torchwood will show up each week, be it the excellent storytelling of Small Worlds or the blatant tired rip-offs like Countrycide.
The story itself is fast paced, and has excellent motivations for its characters. The business of whether the pendant is a curse or not is examined in detail, and it is these aspects that really steal the show. Which one was the harsher reality – stopping a murderer in his tracks after hearing the prefacing thoughts to a homicide or hearing what your closest friends really think of you?
Discovering that “Mary” was in fact an alien does seem kind of pasted in, as does John Barrowman’s acting this time round. However the familiarity the viewer has with the characters really makes this one float, all else seems to be just a plot device. As devices go, the quick and seemingly easy way in which the alien threat was dispatched was a bit of a let down; much like the last series of Doctor Who, we are yet again met with an enemy that is easily done away with, even after living on the planet in hiding for over a hundred years.
This is one of the better episodes of the series so far, along with Everything Changes and Small Worlds. It is these kinds of plots that make you really care for the main characters and the wares they are trying to sell, if only to let you a little deeper into their thoughts.