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October 24, 2014

Torchwood: Greeks Bearing Gifts

by Martin Conaghan, posted Nov 28th 2006 11:33AM
Tashiko(S01E07) Let's face it folks, sex sells.

You might not like it, and you especially might not fancy it where sci-fi is concerned -- but Torchwood seems to thrive on the notion that adult audiences fancy a bit of girl-on-girl action in order to reel in the numbers for a show which would otherwise probably only attract nerdy types with unkempt facial hair and poor personal hygiene.

Oh, sure, it certainly gets your attention in the trailers, but it often seems an unnecessary -- and Torchwood is no exception -- but for once, the steamy action formed a genuine part of the central plot (which probably owed more to M. Night Shaymalan's Unbreakable than anything else).

This week's mystery centered around a centuries-old skeleton and a strange metal contraption unearthed side-by-side in a field, all linked to a pre-credit sequence involving a beautiful young woman called Mary from the 1800s who seems to have survived the test of time.

When the young woman befriended Toshiko, or rather, bedded her, then bestowed a gift on her in the shape of a telepathic pennant, the otherwise stiff and somewhat shy comms expert soon found herself eavesdropping on the thoughts of those around her -- in particular, those of her Torchwood colleagues.

Naturally, the burden of hearing the innermost thoughts of the people around her became difficult to bear, and while Owen, Jack and Gwen continued to mull over the mystery of the skeleton with the hole in its ribcage, Toshiko continued to develop her sexual relationship with Mary.

In an interesting series of twists, Toshiko overheard the thoughts of a maniacal character who was planning to murder his estranged wife and son, but not before she could intervene and save the day. And then, when Jack confronted her about the heroic exploits, she was unable to read his thoughts or explain her behaviour adequately, arousing suspicion in the enigmatic team leader.

Mary's motives quickly became evident, and in a scene which I feel the episode could have largely done without, she explained her origin as an alien from a telepathic species millions of light years away.

Of course, her back-story was a lie, and in stepped Captain Jack yet again to save the day when a stand-off ensued at Torchwood HQ.

I'm starting to get the feeling that while the quality of Torchwood's scripts are improving in plot terms, it's still struggling over the direction of its own identity, and can't seem to settle on a specific style or theme; one week it's Evil Dead-style horror, the next it's a Narnia-style fantasy thriller. This week, it felt like a mixture of Species and Unbreakable.

Having sneaked a peek ahead to the episodes heading our way over the coming weeks, I feel fairly reassured that the past is largely prologue, and the major story arc is yet to reveal itself -- but this show really needs to drop the self-obsession with sex and controversy, and get on with the hard-core science-fiction drama.

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Jon Carpenter

Just about the only way to see it is by downloading it through bittorrent

November 29 2006 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Shively

How do you even get to see this program? I thought it is being shown on the real BBC and all Time Warner carries where I live is BBC America.

November 29 2006 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dawn

I'm still very much enjoying this show and am currently praying to whatever gods govern tv for further seasons. A couple of things I have seen on not a few posts is continually going on about the similarity with Buffy and Angel. This may be so, but I don't actually watch either series and I'm sure there are many others who don't so can these people PLEASE shut up about it. Also, there are a number of complaints about the quantity of Welsh accents heard. Come on, please, it's set in WALES for heaven's sake..what would you expect. I personally love the Welsh accent and could listen to it all day. The only problem I have is whenever the slimy little creep Owen opens his mouth; his accent really grates. Yes, all of the show's ideas have been done before, sometimes better, sometimes not but there is really very little new ground left these days. Let's face it, not everyone is going to like this show, but if it's not doing it for you have you not considered the concept of just switching the channel and watching something else?

November 28 2006 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike m

I have to admit that I like this show, and not because of its sexual overload, but because of how the show is played out each week. Here in American, Sci-fi like the past 7 episodes of Torchwood are common fare. I agree that this past episode wasn't the best ever, but I think that pretty soon it'll start picking up...and get a little bit more like its parent, Doctor Who. At least that's my hope.

November 28 2006 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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