Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Review of Torchwood's 4x03: "Dead Of Night"

Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Billy Gierhart

Jack: “What I wanted to say was – we’re good, aren’t we? You and me, good team. I missed you.”
Gwen: “I was thinking if this happened a bit sooner.”
Jack: “I know.”
Gwen: “He’d be here, Ianto.”

See, Jack/Ianto shippers – Ianto is not forgotten. He ain’t coming back to the series and the recent audios that featured him were obviously a compromise but the show hasn’t forgotten his existence and that’s good because this is the first episode we’ve had that felt like the show I watched from 2006-2009 and hopefully that bodes well for the remainder of the season.

I know there’s been controversy about this episode because the BBC are going to edit out Jack’s sex antics with Brad the barman and my personal opinion? I think they’re wrong for doing so. Maybe it’s not relevant to the overall storyline (but neither is Rex and Vera at it either) but it speaks some bad volumes to me.

To me, its like the BBC are pandering to the narrow minded morons who see the slightest hint of same sex affection and go whinging to the likes of Ofcom when stuff that’s genuinely abhorrent is not acknowledged. That level of hypocrisy annoys me to no end but this is not Points Of View, so I’ll get on with this review.

The sex scenes in this episode to me served as a breather of sorts. Both Jack and Rex are trying to deal with various problems and like every TV show on the planet, sex is seen as a temporary solution but I think people would be complaining a lot more if it had been Jack and Gwen having sex rather than him and a fir bartender.

Still though, he did call Gwen up after his night with Brad and pretty much confessed how deeply he felt about her. It’s a scene that can be construed in a lot of way but the truth is simple – Jack does love Gwen and they’ve been through so much together that for me, it’s a scene that works.

What also works excellently about the scene is its cut in to Gwen’s brief reunion with Rhys and Anwen and that just seems to prove that regardless of what she might feel for Jack, it’s her husband and child who come first in Gwen’s world. That’s right, isn’t it?

It would’ve been nice to have seen a little more of Rhys and Anwen here but the episode amends that with the absolutely brilliant rapport between Gwen and Esther in this one. I know I complained about a ‘UK vs. US debate’ but it was actually done in a fun way here.

Esther clearly has a lot of affection for Jack and Gwen and it’s actually nice to see Gwen interact with another woman. She and Toshiko weren’t exactly that close and we didn’t get enough of her and Martha during the second season, so if I have to pick something that’s the highlight of the week, it’s going to be Gwen and Esther’s friendship.

Equally fun is the pithier dynamic with Jack and Rex. Much as Rex annoys me (though surprisingly less in this episode), he had every right to voice doubts about signing up for Torchwood but I nearly cracked myself up when Jack managed to get in that comment about Rex not liking his jokes too gay. If the show keeps up the humour like this one did, it will help the series a lot more than being serious all the time.

As for moving the plot along this week, Vera does seem to be largely in a position where she gets to point out a lot of crap. This week idiot cops banging on about not being able to call an attempted murder for what it is and then there’s the whole fact that she managed to get herself sucked into helping Rex by spying on PhiCorp.

Three episodes in and I’m still struggling to see how and why a company like PhiCorp want or need Oswald Danes on their side but with Jilly Kitzinger around the place, at least this company has an interesting face representing it. Jilly really is a breath of fresh air in this episode too.

I swear for every medical scene and for every scene revolving around pharmaceuticals, we need Jilly. Her presences of klutziness, her false sincerity, her way of getting under Oswald’s skin – I think she’s actually the more charismatic character we’ve had in this series and she’s usurping Oswald a lot in my opinion. I want more of Jilly and less of Oswald if I’m being honest.

Don’t get me wrong – Bill Pullman is doing a great job and I liked the way Oswald turned on Jack during their meeting but aside from that and deservedly getting beaten up by the police, I am struggling to see how people are getting sucked in by this guy. He’s a paedophile for flip’s sake. Doesn’t that count for anything?

Still, it’s nice that Jack and the new gang have made the connection with the miracle to both PhiCorp and Oswald. I just hope that whilst they’re dodging capture they don’t wait until the last minute to actually stop the baddies and the miracle either. Oh and Vera is totally joining Torchwood by next week, isn’t she?

Also in “Dead Of Night”

This episode was written by the legendary Jane Espenson, whose TV credits really are worth bragging about.

Friedkin: “Listen, Rex, you’ll never find them, I never did. They’re everywhere. They know everything.”

Rex was surprisingly lenient with Friedkin during their meeting but damn, Friedkin just turned out to be another minion.

Esther (re knocked out security guard): “You’ve done this before?”
Gwen: “So many times.”

Vera (to Jilly): “We don’t deserve the miracle. We’re gonna screw this up like we always do. Human damn being and I’m including myself.”

Esther admitted to Gwen that she had an older sister who cannot cope. I assume we’ll be meeting Esther’s sister later on in the series.

Rex: “As far as I can see, you got all your staff killed.”
Jack: “They were my friends.”
Rex: “Yeah, dead friends.”

Jack: “Jack. You like the coat?”
Brad: “Brad. Passionately.”

The gay bar Jack visited in this was called the Golden Gopher and Gwen encountered a V For Vendetta style group called The Soulless as well.

Jilly: “These are the times that make men, Oswald, so it’s your choice – stay where you are or stand tall and stride across the skin of the world. Which is it?”

Rex: “You aren’t impaled.”
Jack: “You should see the other. Ooh, that face. Rex doesn’t like his jokes too gay.”

Oswald backed PhiCorp’s plot to give free drugs without prescriptions. It should be interesting to see how quickly that incites chaos.

Esther: “What are you smiling for?”
Rex: “I think we got them worried.”

Chronology: This episode more or less picked up where “Rendition” left off.

After two somewhat shaky episodes, I think “Dead Of Night” might be our first solid episode of the new season. Okay, logic gaps with the miracle plot are still there and people can argue about the relevance of the sex scenes in this one, but overall, I liked this one a lot.

Rating: 8 out of 10

1 comment:

Unknown said...

RTD himself said that editing the sex scenes had more to do with protecting the kids watching Captain Jack (a children's show hero before a post-watershed one, remember) than with any anti-gay BBC agenda.