Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Review of Torchwood's 3x02: "Children Of Earth: Day Two"

Written by John Fay
Directed by Euros Lyn

Johnson (re Gwen): “Now do you believe she’s a terrorist?”
Andy: “She shot your wheels. What kind of terrorist shoots your wheels?”
Johnson: “A clever one.”

And we’re off with the second day of this saga. Following the Hub’s total destruction at the end of the first episode, it’s more or less confirmed that our Torchwood are alive if still in danger from the government.

Gwen herself is rounded up by some workers posing as ambulance drivers who make an unsuccessful bid to abduct and kill her. You gotta give Gwen her dues with the way she was quickly able to incapacitate them with a few swift moves. The girl literally has become an action woman within the episode.

The workers in question didn’t reveal who exactly was pursing Gwen but if working in Torchwood is anything to go by, then Gwen was smart enough to realise that whoever her attackers were would also target Rhys within the hour as well. Come on, it would’ve been a surprise if they hadn’t.

I was hoping that Andy would show up in this episode and luckily he did. Mainly his interactions were kept with Johnson and at first, he did seem eager to flirt with her. Wouldn’t bother, Andy – she would definitely eat you for breakfast and spit you out without a second thought.

Of course Andy’s role in this episode wasn’t quite as proactive as I’d hoped it would be. Instead he led Johnson to Gwen and Rhys and tried to convince the assassin that Gwen wasn’t a terrorist. Andy, the lady doesn’t care but it did make for a good line.

A terrorist might have shot at Johnson’s vehicle in a bid to blow it up. All Gwen did was shoot down the tires but still points for effectiveness have to be given out. And it also makes sure that Andy doesn’t believe that his former worker is a terrorist. Not that he would.

Gwen and Rhys trying to escape while keeping their heads low could draw some parallels to the same thing The Doctor, Martha and Jack had to do during The Master’s reign on Earth but getting out of Cardiff to London was always going to be a tricky one.

It’s a good job for Gwen that she’s married to a man who knows his shit about haulage then. It’s not like the writers are even pretending – Rhys basically is joining up Torchwood and it was his bright idea of getting in the back of a haulage truck that got them to London in the first place. I’m also sure that within the next three days that Rhys will probably come up with some more bright ideas as well.

As for the pregnancy reveal, I think the writer picked the right moment to do. Rhys’s reaction was understandably joyous but I was worried for a second that his enthusiasm would end up getting them caught. I guess luck further fell into their favour by not doing so.

Another stroke of luck was Gwen getting through to Lois instead of Frobisher. You wouldn’t have needed Lois’s powers of perception to realise that if Gwen had talked to Frobisher, she would’ve been a dead woman. It also made total sense for Lois to go and meet up with Gwen.

Gwen’s initial frostiness with Lois was something that made sense. Gwen didn’t recognise and even Lois was confused as to why Frobisher was so determined to kill off Torchwood when they’re the good guys. Now you know how Buffy and her gang must feel in the eighth season comics.

The interesting part was seeing Lois show off her potential without even trying. I could almost telegraph that Gwen was going to end up making some comment about wanting to hire Lois as a potential employee for Torchwood. Now all Lois has to do is make it to Friday in one piece and she’ll be doing some relocating.

It was also thanks to Lois that Gwen and Rhys were able to pose as undertakers to come and collect Rupesh’s body. Okay, so it was Jack they were looking for and while Johnson eventually caught the couple, victory was indeed on Torchwood’s side for a bit.

Getting Jack back was needed for this episode. Both Gwen and Ianto knew it had to be done, both of them knew Jack would survive the blast (even if there was a flicker of doubt at some points) and both were largely separately from the episode in order to carry out their plan.

I have to give Ianto’s family some props. I wrote his brother in law, Johnny as a major dick in the previous episode and wasn’t all that sympathetic when he complained about Johnson’s men raiding the Evans household but he actually shone in this episode as well.

It was him who encouraged Rhiannon to help Ianto and it was also him and some local neighbours that caused a distraction long enough so Rhiannon could give Ianto back a laptop. Then again with spies are incompetent as the ones Frobisher sent (or was it Johnson?); maybe Johnny didn’t need to bother.

I liked that Ianto had to tell his sister about Torchwood without having to explain everything. Their relationship does seem distant but she does care about him and she certainly believed him when he told her that he was working with Jack and Gwen to fix the situation with the children as well.

The rescuing Jack part of the episode was excellent. I thought when it came to Jack’s Lazarus abilities that we had seen everything. I was wrong. In this episode we saw his body ripped to shreds, flayed and then repair itself. I was glad that we only had to see flayed Jack just once. Again, the current issue of Buffy comics I’m reading has made sure that I’ve more than had my fill of flayed guys.

Johnson really is a nasty piece of work. Attacks on Gwen and Ianto aside and her callous way of referring to Jack as a thing, she almost made The Master seem more behaved by comparison. Also she seemed more than happy to taunt Jack as she had him covered in cement. So why do I like her again? Oh, right, effective villain played by good actress. Need to keep remembering that one.

Johnson succeeds where the rest of them stay uncertain. The Prime Minister is still typically spineless while Bridget seems to retain an annoying stiff upper lip quality about her and Decker is suitably creepy.

Frobisher is the harder one to figure out though. Somewhere along with his determination to keep Torchwood out of the way is a man with a conscience. He asked more sensible questions about the 456 and given that they’re supposed to be coming tomorrow (thank you, kids), what kind of a creature can survive/breathe in a tank with so many different kinds of gasses and cyanide?

As for the gang’s reunion, it’s pretty brief but I guess after being broken out of a concrete prison, Jack is going to take a while to sort things out. Either way, there’s three more days to go. It’s just a shame that Alice didn’t get all that much to do in this episode apart from trying to call her father. Something which I think will put her in harm’s way as well.

Also in “Children Of Earth: Day Two”

The Previously On bit had some clips of the first episode of course.

Frobisher (re Torchwood): “What went wrong?”
Johnson: “They got lucky but they won’t get far.”
Frobisher: “We can’t have witnesses.”

We saw Clem outside the street screaming when he realised that the 456 were coming tomorrow. I’m surprised that he hasn’t aroused attention from Home Office.

Gwen: “What are you doing?”
Rhys: “Packing.”
Gwen: “You aren’t gonna have time to read and they can track you with that.”

Frobisher (to the Prime Minister, re the 456): “That’s what everyone is asking - when were they here before?”

Did anyone think that Gwen not shooting Johnson but her tires was slightly Doctor-esque? I’m kind of hoping that he actually shows up in this story given that we know that David Tennant will be in The Sarah Jane Adventures this year.

Frobisher (to Lois, re Captain Jack): “He told you this over the phone?”
Bridget: “He always was an arrogant sod.”

Rhiannon (re Ianto): “What’s he done? Why is he bringing this to our door?”
Johnny: “We’re the only family he’s got.”

Gwen genuinely looked like she was gonna hurl in that truck full of potatoes, even though these episodes were filmed before the actress became pregnant in real life.

Johnson (re Captain Jack): It was a bag of bits when I brought it in. Get that thing out and cuff it to the wall.”

Gwen: “When have you ever known me to be travel sick?”
Rhys: “When have you ever had to travel like this?”

Gwen and Rhys got from Cardiff to London in a very short space of time.

Rhys (re pregnancy): “This changes everything.”
Gwen: “No it doesn’t. We’re at the same creek and we need a paddle.”

Rhiannon: “What kind of civil servants are you?”
Ianto: “Unappreciated ones.”

Ianto seems to have issues with his father pushing him too hard. This is the third time this series Ianto’s mentioned his father, so are we going to see him?

Lois (to Gwen, re Torchwood): “If you’re the bad guys, why doesn’t say so on your file and if you’re the good guys, then who am I working for?”

Johnson (to Captain Jack): “I will say this. If I can’t kill you, I will contain you.”

I should’ve mentioned in my previous review that Colonel Mace was relocated to Vancouver.

Lois: “I’m a PA, this is what I do.”
Gwen: “When this is all over and you want a job, call me.”

Rhys: “We’re not gonna get away with this.”
Gwen: “You really shouldn’t be here, Rhys.”

I heard the ratings for the first episode were over 5 million viewers, which is the highest for this show and good for a summer drama. Surely a fourth season has to be on the cards?

Gwen (to Kodak): “I prefer the company of dead people.”

Chronology: The next day after “Children Of Earth: Day One”.

Not as good as the first episode but “Children Of Earth: Day Two” doesn’t show signs that this plot has difficulty in sustaining itself. Blasphemy it may be but this episode kind of benefited from the lack of Jack that we got.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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