Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Review of Torchwood's 4x10: "The Blood Line"

Written by Russell T. Davies And Jane Espenson
Directed by Billy Gierhart

Rex (to Jack): “You, World War Two. What the hell did you do to me?”

And here I thought the crux of spending too much time (if you’re anyone but Gwen) was that you ended up dead (well, that still happened here) rather than immortal. As cliff hangers, Rex’s new lease of life was not something I expected or wanted to see happen to the character.

The unique selling point of Jack was that he was immortal and now we have both him and Rex wearing the immortality badge. If we had to have gotten this particular character development, wouldn’t Esther have been a more interesting candidate instead? For some reason, Rex doesn’t seem the right choice for it or am I being unfair?

It’s interesting that Rex suffused with Jack’s blood became instrumental in taking the Blessing down and it made sense that our heroes needed to be in both Buenos Aires and Shanghai at the same time. It’s just too bad that the Blessing really didn’t seem that interesting in the end.

And neither were the motivations of the Mother Colasanto and the Families either. So, basically their grand scheme was make their own little caste system and wipe out those who they didn’t see as good enough to be a part of it. We didn’t need something like the Blessing for that plot and neither did the Families themselves.

Speaking of the Mother Colasanto – I was so hoping she was going to be an interesting but Frances Fisher was horribly wasted in this episode. I like a campy villain as much as the next one but given how uninteresting Mother Colasanto turned out to be in the end, I really felt that we lost out too.

As for Jilly – the girl got her ass kicked by Gwen, she was nearly blown to bits by Oswald, she’s become a fugitive and she’s still daft enough to go and work for the Families again? Blue Eyes is cute and all but maybe Jilly should’ve told him not to bother with Plan B because right now, this show’s future isn’t particularly rock solid stuff to begin with.

Also after ten episodes and so much convoluted nonsense, it did seem like death was restored a little more easier, didn’t it? One thing that’s consistent with this show as well is the death count but even this episode seemed to break a record with the amount of deaths that happened.

I’m not sure if Geraint actually died along with the other Category Ones because that scene did seem a little ambiguous but those soldiers who blew themselves up thinking they were preventing Jack’s blood from resetting the Blessing were certainly stupid, weren’t they? Of course it was going to turn out that Rex’s blood had been replaced with Jack’s in the end.

Charlotte’s murder of her colleagues (Noah, Shapiro and Sandra) sort of seemed pointless in the end, especially when she was killed herself after her failed attempt on Rex. I sort of wished we had seen more of Charlotte’s motivations for the Families. It would’ve been nice but instead it felt like Charlotte was a mole because the CIA always seems to have one on most TV programs.

Similarly if Oswald’s death was supposed to stir any other emotion apart from glee, then it failed spectacularly. I’ve hated Oswald throughout the entire series and while I’m glad he took Mother Colasanto with him, even in death, Oswald was an evil, remorseless bastard to the last. At least that’s one successful bit of consistency we’ve had this year.

Last but not least – Esther Drummond. You poor, sweet girl. Of course she was going to die. Given how much RTD seems to think that only Gwen can be the ‘heart’ of Torchwood, any other female character who’s an ally is ultimately never gonna be allowed to stay with the show for long. Toshiko was shot by a horrible man and so was poor Esther. Thankfully Rex also did us a favour and killed the asshole that did poor Esther in.

I don’t really know what else I can say in this main bit, except that both Rex’s immortality and Esther’s death seemed like unnecessary and silly plot developments and that the Blessing was actually poorly thought out. I don’t want to bash Russell T. Davies too much but he did really drop the ball with this episode.

Also in “The Blood Line”

Most of the action in this episode was in Wales, Washington, Shanghai and Buenos Aires.

Rex (to Esther, re Jack’s blood): “I’ve seen some crazy shit with Torchwood but now I’m at the limit.”

Am I reading too much into it, or did Rex seem to be closer to Esther in this episode before her death?

Gwen (to Oswald): “Just you wait. If this goes right, murder’s coming back.”

Oswald: “Who are you?”
Jack: “Captain Jack Harkness.”
Oswald: “No, I spent a long time in prison and I know the smile of a man who’s done terrible things. And your friends, you’ve been watching them. Sometimes they like you, sometimes they love you and sometimes, just once or twice, glittering away in those tiny little gaps, they fear you.”
Jack: “I’m from the future.”

I got a smile in reminders of the Doctor, the Silurians, Racnoss and the Huon particles. I wonder if Jack knows what the Doctor looks like nowadays.

Rex: “I got you into a whole lot of trouble.”
Esther: “I did that on my own.”
Rex: “I never did thank you, did I?”
Esther: “No, you didn’t.”
Rex: “Well, don’t expect it now.”

Mother Colasanto: “What can you see?”
Gwen: “Enough guilt to last me a lifetime but that’s okay, I’m a working mother. I don’t need the Blessing to tell me that.”
Mother Colasanto: “And you Jack?”
Jack: “I’ve lived so many lives and now I can see them all. Hey, not so bad.”

Nice to see Rhys and Andy in this episode but I was kind of hoping for more. I did like that Rhys attended Esther’s funeral though.

Gwen: “And that’s what I did in a pit in Old Shanghai. I brought death back to the world.”

Chronology: From where “The Gathering” left off.

I really wanted to like “The Blood Line” but even though “Miracle Day” was an interesting experiment, maybe it’s also proof that if the series stands any chance of continuation, it either needs to return to the format of the first two years or just do these high concept storylines with lesser episodes.

Rating: 5 out of 10


Anonymous said...

I might have preferred having Esther immortal, but from a practical standpoint it has to be Rex who does the blood line because of his previous injury.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Practically, you're absolutely right about Rex making sense for the immortality but Esther would've been the more interesting choice for me.