Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Review of Torchwood's 4x02: "Rendition"

Written by Doris Egan
Directed by Bill Gierhart

Gwen: “That was your last chance.”
Lyn: “Yeah, what are you gonna do about it? If you’re the best that England’s got to offer, then God help you.”
Gwen: “I’m Welsh.”

Okay, and great punches aside, this was something of a farcical episode for me. There was fun to be had in some parts but a fair chunk of this episode also frustrated me for some reason as well.

Rex, being the biggest example of frustration. If we’re supposed to root for this guy, then the series is going a horrible way about it. I don’t expect Rex to instantly like or even trust Jack and Gwen but he kind of went above and beyond being an asshole as well. The sort of glee he took in separating Gwen from her own child really left a bad taste in my mouth.

Granted that almost might seem like less of a deal considering the comments he made about a co-worker’s sick wife in the previous episode but it just felt Rex was being unnecessarily nasty for the sake of it. If he didn’t believe that Jack and Gwen were criminals or knew anything about the miracle, then why treat the both of them with such contempt?

For all we know, Jack could very well be responsible for this ‘miracle’. He’s the only person who can actually die now and Lyn certainly had no problems in trying to test that theory when he got Rex to actually think outside the box with the morphic field theory.

John Barrowman’s acting in that scene where Jack was battling being poisoned with Gwen, Rex, Vera and even Danny and Greta all trying to save him was unintentionally funny. I should’ve felt danger during that scene but the only time I really did was when Lyn tried to stop Gwen from administering the antidote into Jack.

As for the punch up between Gwen and Lyn – you can tell the Joss Whedon influence is being felt in this show and not just because Lyn was played by Dichen Lachman from Dollhouse but because even Gwen has never been that kick arse before on the show. It was a good little fight scene though.

It’s amazing as well that in last week’s episode, it took Rex very little time to get into the UK but here it took him and everyone else ages to get back into the US though. Arguably too long, even if the plane journey did mean that Jack and Gwen had a chance to hash out some issues with each other and be teased by Rex in relation to their closeness.

Even more fun was had at the airport when Rex finally copped on to answer Esther’s calls and realise that he was walking into a trap. I have to admit I did laugh at the irony of the situation – Rex being framed and booted from the CIA by Friedkin because more importantly was the interesting position that Lyn was left in as well. I guess someone on this show is a fan of a certain Meryl Streep classic, aren’t they?

Whereas Rex was frustrating in this episode, Esther was actually a god send this week. The issues about her being forced into taking sides by Charlotte very much meant that she chose (or had to choose) Torchwood by the end of this episode but at least she was clever and nice enough to escape from Friedkin’s clutches. I guess it really did pay to be nice to the security people this week.

As for Gwen’s opinions on Esther’s choice of car for them to escape with – is this going to be a recurring theme now? The American characters ridiculing Britain/Wales and the Welsh characters doing the same to America? It will wear thin after a while and considering that both parties need each other thanks to the miracle, maybe it’s time to get on with trying to combat the plot now?

The only person who seemed to be sort of doing that this week was Vera and I have to admit, I’m not great with medical jargon most of the time and this episode made me want to snooze through certain scenes. It seems despite the miracle, people can still age, diseases can still spread and there’s a mess load of pills that Vera could do with getting in her possession if Jilly’s comments were anything to go by.

And then there was Jilly Kitzinger. By far the best thing in the whole episode (and she was only in two scenes), Lauren Ambrose is also by far the best casting we’ve had this season as well. Jilly is certainly a woman who knew how to go after her targets. Bumming a fag off Vera was one thing but playing on the knowledge of pills was another and you just know that whatever Jilly wants Vera for; it’s probably not that good.

Similarly, I can’t wait to see what her true intentions are towards Oswald as well. I doubt for a second she believes or cares about his public apology but she certainly seemed keen to get Oswald on side though. Oswald managed to give her the brush off for now but Jilly strikes me as being relentless and will probably keep pursuing Oswald until he caves in.

Now as for Oswald – I wasn’t touched or sympathetic by his public breakdown and apology for killing poor Susie Kabina and I doubt for a second that I was meant. I loved that while some people considering forgiving him, the news presenter and even one of Esther’s colleagues were still disgusted by his actions to soften their opinions on him. See, it’s nice not to see people being swayed by a sob story. I sure as hell don’t forgive Oswald and I definitely don’t believe he’s sorry at all.

Also in “Rendition”

Both Arlene Tur (Vera) and Lauren Ambrose (Jilly) are credited as “Special Guest Stars” for this episode.

Jack (re the miracle): “Great, so this is my fault.”
Gwen: “Can’t be a coincidence, Jack.”

It made sense that Rhys and Anwen wouldn’t be arrested/kept until Rex’s custody. I hope Rhys has somewhere safe to hide though.

Esther: “Oh my God, Rex is coming back.”
Charlotte: “Well some things we can predict.”

Jack: “Did you miss me?”
Gwen: “Yes. Started to think it’d be like some kind of fairytale. I’d be an old woman and you’d come by out of the blue to visit my granddaughter. I’d be ancient, and you’d still look exactly the same. Where did you go, Jack?”
Jack: “A long way away.”

Like some viewers, even I thought the episode went a little overboard in lamenting about Danny’s sexuality.

Vera: “You sound like my ex-husband.”
Rex: “Really, so does he call wanting drugs and sex?”
Vera: “Yeah.”

Oswald: “I don’t need you.”
Jilly: “I disagree, Mr Danes. You have what we call a high media quotient.”
Oswald: “Oh, everybody hates me.”

Rex’s low sodium level is apparently the least of his problems and Vera realised that the golden hour no longer applies thanks to the miracle.

Jack: “You are not giving me formaldehyde.”
Gwen: “You can shut up.”

Jack: “Rex, you have got to work on these escape plans.”

Chronology: If it’s 2011, is it before or after Oprah Winfrey finished her show? A specific date would actually be nice to know.

“Rendition” had it’s moments but it was also something of a mess in places. Too much of the action scenes that should’ve felt high octane came across as silly (and this is considering how much I love the bazooka action of last week) and the Friedkin character needs to up his game as a chief villain as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

1 comment:

Taffy said...

"Chronology: If it’s 2011, is it before or after Oprah Winfrey finished her show?"

I've been told that COE showed a newspaper with a date of September 2009 on it. Gwen was almost 1 month pregnant at the beginning of COE. It ended 6 months later, so Gwen was 7 month pg then, so, March 2010. Baby would've been born May/June 2010. Baby now looks to be 6-7 months old, so MD must be taking place December 2010/January 2011, and Oprah was still on then.

I watched the first episode 1, but the entire show is based on such enormous legal, procedural, and medical errors (which, if corrected, would leave almost nothing of the current script(s)) that I'm having trouble watching it. I really wish the writers (both US and UK ones) had bothered to spend two minutes on Google. Human bodies have basic physiological requirements to function; rendition wouldn't happen instantaneously (and a mortally wounded agent wouldn't be authorized for the mission, so everything Rex is doing wouldn't be happening; and if Gwen's so paranoid, why is she not making any attempt to disguise herself and her family? (Also, wouldn't hiding in plain sight in a city hide them better than living on the main coast road while gardening in their front yard?) Sorry. My handwaving doesn't wave *that* far.