Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Review of Torchwood's 4x07: "Immortal Sins"

Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Jack: “I’ve got this friend. He’s called the Doctor. He explores the world with a companion. It looks nice.”
Angelo: “Are you saying that I can stay?”
Jack: “Maybe.”

When I first heard about this episode, I had something of a mixed reaction to it. The idea of a Jack flashback delighted me to no end but I was also worried that it would distract from the main plot. I really shouldn’t have bothered worrying because this flashback episode was both wonderful and important in the miracle dilemma.

We’ve had plenty of moments of seeing and hearing about Jack’s former lovers – whether they’re the real Jack Harkness, Estelle, Lucia or Captain John, they’ve all added something to Jack as a character. Angelo is no exception but his was a union with Jack that was certainly fraught with a little more than usual.

Stealing Jack’s fake identity probably should’ve been a signpost that Angelo might turn out to be untrustworthy but considering that Jack placed a lot of confidence in Angelo, I was willing to let it slide. I mean Jack really had no motive to break Angelo out of prison and a part of me was surprised that he did.

The sexual part of their relationship is somewhat more satisfying than Jack’s previous on screen tryst with Brad in “Dead Of Night” but it’s the commentary on the nature of Jack and Angelo’s union that stirred a lot of debate for me here.

Was it tacked on/heavy handed that Angelo enjoyed the sex with Jack but also seemed to harbour some self loathing about sleeping with a man? Maybe it is to an extent but I think it helped later on when Angelo both betrayed and tried to make amends with Jack at the same time.

Angelo sold Jack out pretty instantly a year after their debacle with the alien in the warehouse when he was responsible for everyone’s murders on Jack but he did seem sorry for it. Sadly that soured Angelo as a character for me because while he had all this fear surrounding Jack’s immortality, he did betray him in the worst way possible and I think he got off lightly for it when Jack just dumped.

However the real shocker was Angelo being revealed as the one behind the miracle, courtesy of Olivia at the end of the episode. Tonally it made sense (otherwise, why would the episode have developed Angelo as much as it did?) but it still floored me as a final scene to this excellent hour.

Speaking of betrayals, while Angelo’s one towards Jack might have been harder to understand, Gwen’s was by far easier. Olivia and her cronies had her family hostage and Gwen really had no choice but to hand Jack over to them for her family’s safety. Jack even understood that himself but the scenes with him and Gwen in the car were just awkward.

John Barrowman and Eve Myles just acted their hearts out during those scenes. Jack was sympathetic towards Gwen’s plight but he wasn’t above trying to get out of being handed over to the mystery families and Gwen was forced to admit that her family had to be her main priority over Torchwood or her friendship with Jack.

It’s the kind of examination of Jack and Gwen’s relationship that was overdue, wasn’t it? These two care for each other and have their back but at the same, Gwen’s stepping into Jack’s world has cost her in more ways than she could imagine.

If it wasn’t for Rex, Esther and Andy, Gwen would’ve easily have lost Rhys, Anwen and Mary this week. Thankfully all three of them got their moments to shine. Esther through picking up on Gwen’s erratic behaviour and catching the last exchange with the contact, Rex for his stealth and Andy for the same reason as Rex I suppose.

It was definitely the best use of all three characters this week and hopefully, we’ll have some nice moments like that with Rex, Esther and Andy. I even had to stop myself from scoffing when Rex compared Torchwood to amateur clowns. He wasn’t exactly wrong, was he? Oh and it’s nice that Jack and Gwen made up at the end of the episode too.

As for Oswald and Jilly, well, it’s another episode without them but it seems that Oswald was busy trying to keep the category system in place. I have a feeling that line of thinking from Oswald is going to backfire on him when he does show up again.

Also in “Immortal Sins”

Most of the flashbacks in this episode took place in 1927 and 1928, New York. Jack did once mention an incident in Ellis Island, didn’t he?

Esther: “Sorry, I don’t know how to help, except that maybe her death has changed things. Maybe they’ll shut down the camps.”
Rex: “No, they paused the camps. That’s all they’re saying – paused.”

Vera was supposedly from San Antonio and might have had a brother or sister. Despite his protesting, Rex is affected by her death.

Angelo: “I don’t understand. We just did something special, why make it cheap?”
Jack: “I suppose I do that sometimes. I’m sorry.”

Gwen (to Jack): “Well, you’ve done something haven’t you? Way back when in the long bloody life of yours. God, you’ve lived so bloody long, you can’t remember half of it, now think. Think. What the hell have you done?”

The Trickster’s brigade was mentioned here. The Trickster himself was last seen in The Sarah Jane Adventures back in 2009.

Angelo: “You made this happen; you’ve planned this, since when? Since you got on the boat to America?”
Jack: “Just get out of town, Angelo. These people are bad; you don’t want to be on their list. Get far away.”

Angelo: “Besides I always hoped that if God is love, maybe he loves me too.”
Jack: “That’s blasphemy.”
Angelo: “I think that’s Christianity.”

That alien that Jack and Angelo neutralised looked like a mini-version of the 456, didn’t it? I also loved the firebird story Jack told Gwen as well. I also bet we’ll be seeing those three men who ‘bought’ Jack as well.

Jack: “I love you Gwen Cooper but I will rip your skin from your skull before I let you take this away from me. Understood?”
Gwen: “Understood.”

Jack: “I’m sorry, Angelo, but this is the story of my life. It always end the same way – you kill me. Men like you kill me.”

Chronology: Apart from 1927-1928 in flashbacks, a few hours after “The Middle Men”.

I absolutely loved this episode. “Immortal Sins” was Torchwood to me. Everything from the writing, the characterisation, forwarding the plot in a huge way. It feels like after the shaky start we had to “Miracle Day” that the show is finally delivering and about time too.

Rating: 10 out of 10

1 comment:

Guada GN said...

I liked it. I thought it was cheesy - the music... man, the music - and the dialogs here and there, but overall, I liked it.
I thought that Angelo was cute and the romance was nice - Im still a Ianto girl, but a girl has to move on :) - cheesyness aside.

Besides, Im liking Gwen more and more these days, and the fact that she didn´t hesitate when they asked her to trade Jack for her family made me like her even more. I mean, I don´t want Jack to die, obviously, but she did what she had to do, and you have to respect her for that. I think that the conversations in the car were rather good - Eve acted the hell out of those scenes. And I love that they love each other, but that there are no illusions to where they stand...

I hated what Angelo - cuteness nonetheless - did to Jack. It really creeped me out all those people killing him over and over - and being dumped was a low price to pay, I would have been far more harsh if it were me in Jack´s shoes.

My hubbie thought it was too slow, but, alas, he only wants the aliens, so all this character building stuff goes over his head.