Saturday, September 03, 2011

My Review of Torchwood's 4x09: "The Gathering"

Written by John Fay
Directed by Guy Ferland

Jack: “I’m tired Gwen. This mortal life, it hurts so much.”

Hang in there, Jack, you’ve only got one more episode to go. One more episode and hopefully, the status quo will return and the miracle will finally be out of the world’s system. I don’t know about you but this series has suddenly made me delighted for the idea of death returning once again.

Especially if it means no more overflow camps, no more convoluted rubbish with the Blessing and no more Oswald Danes. Three things the world effectively can do without and fast and also three things that supremely irritated the crap out of me throughout this episode as well, curtailing my enjoyment to an extent.

I’ll talk about the overflow camps themselves. When everyone is citing them as institutionalised murder, perhaps it’s a good idea not to have them running – especially the modules? Unfortunately the government don’t think that way and sadly that means a return to people being taken to the modules and burned alive against their own will.

I pitied Gwen, Rhys and Mary in this episode. They did their damndest to keep Ralph away from getting Geraint and sending him away and the smug bastard still managed to get the better of them in the end. I think what made it particularly worse was the callous comment about how warm Geraint was going to feel very soon.

Honestly – who the fuck comes out with that kind of a statement? Geraint is a harmless elderly man who could still be alive. If you’re going to display a level of glee for people being incinerated against their will, save it for the Oswald Danes of the world and not an innocent person.

Gwen begging during that moment did serve a purpose of hammering home how desperately she needs to help Jack and company end this miracle but personally, I would’ve made Ralph into a Category 1 after that lack of humanity on his part.

As for the second irritation of this episode – give a round of applause for Oswald Danes. Despite having the most famous face on the planet, he managed to get out of America and into Wales and even into Gwen’s mother’s house by delivering vegetables. Not only that he also managed to ensure that no-one either tried to kill him or hand him over to the coppers.

On the plus side, there’s a delirious joy in seeing Gwen smack the fecker with a sauce pan and personally, I would’ve had zero problems with Rhys actually living up to his threats of trying to kill Oswald. Too bad he was needed in this episode, otherwise Rhys could’ve done us all a favour, eh?

Last but no least, on my third irritation of the episode – the Blessing. It’s been nine episodes and I really had a headache with all the cryptic banter in this episode. Jilly showed some surprising self restraint because between Blue Eyes and that guy in the Shanghai restaurant, I certainly would’ve snapped with being given the run around by then.

Thankfully that creepy woman played by Frances Fisher seemed a little more inclined to share with Jilly. She mentioned how the Blessing could cause people to kill themselves but for Jilly, all it seemed to do was prove that she was right. What exactly is/was Jilly right about?

More importantly, why is Jilly needed in this at all? Because she’s a storyteller? Isn’t that just overinflating a PR’s ego, just a tad? Jilly didn’t seem all that convinced initially but after surviving her altercation with the Blessing, I’m guessing that she’s fully on board for whatever the Families have in store for her. I hope for Jilly’s sake, she watches her step.

Speaking of step watching, I liked that Rex actually noticed that there was a mole in the CIA but if he had looked a little harder, wouldn’t he have spotted Charlotte? She’s not exactly been all that subtle this week with her constant blocking attempts and considering how useless Shapiro seems to be as well, maybe Rex was better off in Buenos Aires this week.

The reunions of the episode were nice too. I liked Jack and Esther meeting up with Gwen and Rhys again and then Rex and Esther on one side of the world while Jack, Gwen and Oswald were on the other side of it. With Jack’s blood line leading them to the Blessing, all I know is that I can’t wait for this to actually end now. Is that terrible?

Also in “The Gathering”

The writer Jon Fay has previously written “Children Of Earth: Day Two” and “Children Of Earth: Day Four” for the series.

Jack (to Esther): “The gunshot didn’t kill me but I think you will.”

Jack and Esther had been hiding in Scotland for the first half of the episode. Jack also retconned a photographer/spy as well in this one.

Rex: “Don’t you have a home to go to?”
Charlotte: “Not anymore. She left me, remember?”
Rex: “Oh shit.”

Gwen (to Ralph): “All that’s down there is rats, so make yourself at home.”

We learned briefly that Charlotte had a girlfriend and there was also a link in 1928 to a person named Victor Pedesta during this episode.

Oswald: “I apologise for the subterfuge but I do have the most recognisable face on the planet.”
Gwen: “Not anymore.”

Rex: “Where are you?”
Esther: “Can’t say, so don’t ask me. We’re safe, we’re fine and we’re okay.”

Rex instantly recognised where Esther was calling from and Gwen mentioned her previous history with child abusers when talking to Oswald. And there was also the issue of translating some of the Blessing messages too in this episode.

Jilly: “I keep wondering why me?”
Guy: “You’re a storyteller.”
Jilly: “Thank you.”

Oswald (re Ralph/Police): “This is good. The most wanted man on the face of the Earth and they want someone else.”

Gwen and Rhys seemed to have their own drug organisation with the neighbours. It reminded me of Ianto’s sister and her husband looking after the kids in Season 3.

Woman (to Jilly): “I’ve seen people look upon the Blessing and end their lives. There’s a brilliant truth about that because each and every time that person was hiding something vile. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s exhilarating the damage it does. I wonder what you’ll see.”

Chronology: Two months have passed since “End Of The Road”. Isn’t that a bit of a cop out for the series?

After some solid episodes, I wished that “The Gathering” had gripped me more than it actually did but something felt off. Maybe it was the issues I had with the overflow camps, Oswald and the Blessing but hopefully, next week’s finale ends this on a satisfying note.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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