Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Review of Torchwood's 3x03: "Children Of Earth: Day Three"

Written by Russell T. Davies And James Moran
Directed by Euros Lyn

Prime Minister: “John Frobisher is a good man and better than that, he’s expendable. So, what do you say?”

Now we’re smack bang in the middle of this saga, here’s an episode that it a lot more talkative than it arguably should be. It’s also the very episode where the 456 have finally descended on the Earth and hey, it’s about time.

Things opened up with Jack, Ianto, Gwen and Rhys breaking into an old storage facility and making it into their new home. It’ll never be the Hub but with some sophisticated technology and some new staff members (yeah, this is where Rhys and Lois should fit in), I’m sure wonders could be done with the place.

Of course the domestic did get briefly soured when Rhys realised that he was the last to know about his wife’s pregnancy. Geez, Jack, you couldn’t keep one simple thing under your hat.

Thankfully though this isn’t something that boils over the episode as Gwen decided to use their criminal status for their own gain. In other words, someone has clearly been watching too much of Hustle in their spare time. However with the team staging scraps, being waiters and casual conversationalists, it’s no wonder they’re easy to score some finance and disposable technology to their advantage.

Ianto actually outdid himself by getting everyone else a spare change of clothing as well. Clearly the gay gene for snappy dressing is pretty existence within Ianto but with very little time before the 456 descended on Earth, was now the best time to ask for a shag?

Yeah, his little scene with Jack is cute; even if Rhys and beans nix the very thing (I guess we should be grateful for the fully exposed John Barrowman in the previous episode though). Also with two episodes left, I am sure that Jack and Ianto will get some respective time alone.

I’m glad the writers addressed Ianto asking Jack about whether or not he’s gonna be always lucky resurrection wise. The Doctor’s fixed point spiel from “Utopia” raised its head yet again. Still even Jack must wonder himself if there is a genuine limit to his immortality.

Questioning Jack’s immortality also had Johnson wondering whether or not if Alice and Steven had the same ability to boot. I have to wonder it myself but I really don’t know if I want to see Johnson given the opportunity to test it out on both Alice and Steven.

I knew from the promos that Alice would wind up being put in harm’s way. She was concerned for Jack and calling the police about him was the wrong thing to do on her part. To give her credit though, she was smart to try to escape from Johnson’s henchmen and she nearly succeeded as well.

Johnson’s ruthlessness really does seem to be going up each episode. The sheer willingness to harm Steven without a second thought is quite disturbing, even in light of the horrible things that she’s done so far. I kind of hope that her lack of morals is something that is retained throughout the next two episodes. In order words, do not redeem her.

Besides, I think a redemption arc might be something lined for Frobisher if by some miracle he does actually survive this whole debacle. As soon as the skies opened up and the 456 arrived in Thames House in that tank, it would then make sense that he’d have to be the one to interact with them.

Frobisher himself even seemed to have an awareness that the Prime Minister was setting him up for a fall. He didn’t even fight it when he was told that he was to be diplomatic ambassador for the species. If I were Frobisher, I would definitely be bricking it at this point.

The 456’s arrival isn’t the best thing from this episode. I was really hoping that at this point, we’d see the alien race in its menacing glory but I did find the interactions with Frobisher interesting. It agreed to all of Frobisher’s terms with seeming ease, including denying all knowledge to their previous visit on Earth.

Even during the last meeting with Lois and Bridget amongst others, it agreed to more conditions. However there was no way that this race was going to be that agreeable. Something had to give and the 456 demand a tenth of the kids was a very bad sign. Frobisher tried to stall giving a proper answer. I don’t know why because if the 456 want the kids that badly, they’re gonna take them anyway, regardless of what answer that they’re given.

The shocker of the episode was the reveal of Jack’s involvement with the race. Clem freaked out when he saw Jack and I would too knowing that Jack sent a group of kids as gifts to the 456. It explained too neatly why Frobisher wanted him out of the way. Frobisher even used having Alice and Steven in containment as a means of getting Jack to back off.

Why would Jack hand over the kids to the 456? Was this something in his pre-Doctor or post-Doctor life? Or was it like “Small Worlds” with Jasmine where once again, he had no choice in the matter? Either way, it really is one skeleton out of the closet after another with Jack.

Speaking of skeletons, Lois definitely has a good mark for secrecy. Any time she could’ve corrected Bridget about her relationship with Frobisher but she didn’t. It was probably easier to let Bridget believe that she was sleeping with Frobisher in order to get onto Floor 13.

The strong point with Lois is her reservations about Torchwood. They’ve got their own dodgy history and while it was obvious that she would eventually use the contacts that Gwen gave her, I suppose they had to tease out just a little more. Just two more episodes Lois and you could have a new job, provided you don’t get killed or arrested for treason.

Andy also popped up in this episode again but while Rhiannon and Johnny got to look after kids and Alice had a standoff with Johnson, all Andy had to do was get Gwen to Clem. I’m sort of disappointed that he hasn’t played a bigger part in this storyline. Maybe he will by Friday. One can hope.

Also in “Children Of Earth: Day Three”

Trinity Wells has completed the trifecta by finally appearing on this show. She’s been in various episodes of Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Johnny: “Life goes on.”
Rhiannon: “Yeah, with you making a profit.”

Rhiannon had to find out through her neighbour Max that Ianto was still alive. Nice to know, she’s got good neighbours.

Lois (to Gwen): “I helped you once and that’s enough. If anyone else finds out, that’s treason. Literally treason.”

Lois (re words): “You can see that in your eyes?”
Gwen: “It’s good, isn’t it?”

The contacts from “Reset” made their return. Unlike Gwen and Rhys, I’m not entirely convinced that Ianto has gotten to have fun with them.

Captain Jack: “I’m a fixed point in time and space, that’s what The Doctor said. I think that means forever.”

Johnson (re Alice/Steven): “Could be useful. What should we do?”
Frobisher: “Bring them in.”
Johnson: “Just the answer I wanted.”

We learned in this episode that Alice’s last name was Carter, went into protection in 1977, had parents James and Mary Sangster though her biological mother was Lucia Morretti who died of a heart disease in 2006. She was a former Torchwood employee.

Bridget (to Lois, re Frobisher): “You’re not the first you know. Don’t go thinking you’re the first.”

Steven: “It’s boring. I wanna see aliens.”
Alice: “Yeah, be careful what you wish for. Put some cartoons on.”

The 456’s pillar of fire looked similar to the fires in the skies when The Doctor tried to stop the Sontarans from choking the Earth.

Alice (re Steven): “If you harm him, I will kill you.”
Johnson: “Understood. And the knife. Certainly your father’s daughter, I’ll give you that.”

456: “You call us 456.”
Frobisher: “Yes.”
456: “Then that’s our name.”

Have we gotten a name for the Prime Minister in this? I know in the book, “Beautiful Chaos” there’s one called Aubrey Fairchild, so is that who he is. Also how come none of the government types have expressed fears about The Doctor interfering?

Gwen (to Clem): “Alright, let’s have a nice cup of tea and a hot dog. Do you like hot dogs? I bloody love them.”

Captain Jack (re 456): “Frobisher, tell me is it them? Have they come back?”
Frobisher: “Yes.”

This is the only episode of Torchwood so far to have a co-writing credit. James Moran wrote “Sleeper” and Doctor Who’s “The Fires Of Pompeii” last season.

Clem: “Who’s the queer?”
Ianto: “Oi, it’s not 1965 anymore.”

Gwen: “Then what were you doing there?”
Captain Jack: “I gave the kids. 1965, I gave them twelve children.”

Chronology: Still continuing from where “Children Of Earth: Day Two” left off.

The weakest of the episodes so far. “Children Of Earth: Day Three” has some superb moments but it’s a bit slow moving in places and it would nice if we didn’t have to wait so long to see what the 456 actually look like as well. However there are still two days left and anything could happen then.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


Mark Greig said...

Day Three is a bit of a let down after the highs of the previous episodes. Its the necessary calm before the shit storm hits.

The arrival of the 456 was terrific and the decision to hold back and keep them hidden is a masterstroke. If they were revealed fully it might rob them of menace and look a bit silly. A glimpse here and there only makes them creepier.

Not nearly as creepy as speaking through the world’s kids but creepy none the less.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Yeah, weakest of the bunch for me, too talky in places I guess.

Here's hoping the finale lives up to the good ground work so far.

Day 4 review up now.