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August 27, 2015

Torchwood: Dead Man Walking

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 9th 2008 8:02PM
(S02E07) The death of Owen Harper trilogy continued. But does death mean the same thing in the world of Torchwood as it does in our world? Do you really need to ask? Aside from an incredibly hokey introductory sequence in which Jack stormed into the above scene, struck a very theatrical pose and said "Nobody touches him until I return!" before abruptly disappearing again, this was a pretty solid episode. I do have to say that the point of Martha's continuing involvement is escaping me as she didn't really have anything to add to this installment.

Jack's dramatic departure at the beginning was so that he could go to a weevil-infested church and get that resurrection glove. How did he know it was there? After Owen is brought back to life, he fails to re-die, and so remains as a dead man walking (get it?!). Owen's journey through the episode, as he dealt with his undead status was a slow burn from the typical snarky Owen who when suggesting Martha wanted him said, "Is it still necrophilia if I'm conscious?" to a more self-sacrificing reluctant hero. After all, what do you have to lose when you've already lost your life.

Tonight's episode got a little more involved with the Weevils. My question is just how many damned weevils are there in Cardiff now and what are they doing with themselves while they're there? Where do they hide out all the time and how come there aren't reports of these strange boogey-men type creatures prowling the streets; especially after how much time they spent in the open in this episode? Do they have a plan they're implementing or are they little more than wild animals, as has been intimated?

The weevils have been around since the beginning, being the first alien encounter Gwen had before even joining Torchwood, so there seems to be some building significance involving them. And after tonight's episode, there seems to be some sort of connection with what's going on with Owen and the weevils. They're an interesting alien race and I hope there's some sort of payoff concerning them forthcoming. After all, it doesn't really fit with Torchwood's mandate that they allow the weevils to exist in such heavy numbers right under their noses.

In this episode, we also got to see the ongoing development of the relationship between Owen and Tosh. As he was reaching the end of his "resurrection" via the resurrection glove, Tosh revealed that she loved him and always had. Of course, then he didn't stay dead and so there was that heavy moment hanging over them. I'm happy that it looks like the show is going to at least try and develop a relationship between those two characters as I think they'd be good for one another.

Burn Gorman does an excellent job of handling a variety of emotional needs in his performance. I'd be hard pressed to believe the character of Owen could revert back to his usual self if and when he should be able to move on beyond this whole dead phase. He's shown compassion and emotion and revealed his own feelings for Tosh, not to mention a depth of heroism that he'd kept mostly buried, though not always. It would be good to see some character growth for him, as his emotional immaturity could be very off-putting.

The "monster-of-the-week" for tonight's episode was essentially "death." It somehow latched onto Owen and when he was brought back, it came along for the ride using Owen's body as a vehicle to manifest into our world. Gwen discovered text that linked the current events with a legend involving the black plague, in which death was unleashed upon the world. It needed only claim thirteen souls and it would be free to lay waste to everything; or so the legend says.

When Owen made the decision to sacrifice himself, by having the team embalm him, to save the world, a chain of events was set in motion. Somehow, the resurrection glove self-animated to prevent the embalming; it had shown hints of this ability since the beginning of this episode, and managed to wreak havoc in the embalming room. Running around like Thing from The Addams Family before ultimately latching onto Martha and siphoning away a good fifty to sixty years of her life.

The manifestation of "death" escaped Owen's body and followed them to the hospital where Martha was taken. There's easy picking at a hospital if you're a smokey skeleton looking for thirteen lives to snuff, right? Well, not so fast. After Torchwood evacuates the hospital, it's "death," Torchwood and one young leukemia patient. "Death" has snacked on twelve, so the sickly little boy is all it needs to achieve it's goal. Of course, I guess it could always take Gwen or Ianto or Tosh as well; I have a feeling Jack would give it a bad case of indigestion.

In the end, it's Owen who saves the day. Apparently, even though it manifested through him, it couldn't survive a second round. Maybe it had a limited time in which to harvest it's thirteen lives and as Owen didn't have a life anymore, it was defeated. Otherwise, someone needs to explain to me how Owen physically wrestling with it is all it took to destroy it. Or is it gone? This is The Empire Strikes Back installment of the trilogy, so I guess "death" will come back, reveal that Tosh and Owen are sisters with him as their father and ultimately get defeated by a bunch of barbaric teddy bears. Man, I can't wait!

Do you prefer "done in one" episodes for Torchwood, or ongoing plotlines like these last two?
Ongoing plotlines as it adds depth to the show101 (45.3%)
Done in one episodes; there can be little plotlines that carry over25 (11.2%)
Occasional two or three-parters are okay, but that's it95 (42.6%)
Each episode should be completely self-contained2 (0.9%)

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The writers do seem to be borrowing a lot from Buffy. First the Adam ep was just like an ep from Buffy S4 (where Jonathan changes everyones perception and is even in the opening credits). Then coming back from death, just not totally yourself. Again, just like Buffy. Maybe the writers are just fans, but it seems like I've seen all of this before. However, if you're going to steal ideas from a show, why not something as good as Buffy.

March 10 2008 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lin Davis

Don't think that Torchwood is a real "thinking" show. It works better just by feeling what is going on. I was introduced to it last year when a Friends of the Timelords group brought some of the dvds to a Sci/Fan con. Liked it then and have enjoyed having access to it now through BBCA. Like Buffy and others of this genre, its all about the fun.

March 10 2008 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heard Captian Jack is out soon- Martha's in- and that's that.

March 10 2008 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What I would like to know is where all the Weevils get those snazzy Janitor esque jumpsuits, they all have them on, do they come through the rift wearing them or do they all come through the rift in the same place that happens to house jumpsuits galore?

Also, before my sister could complain about the convience of the glove I reminded her that in the Ep. They Keep Killing Suzie, Ianto set the whole thing up with the same line he used in this one, gloves usually come in pairs, so Jack knew that there was probably another one out there, he just didn't know where.

March 10 2008 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, the part that reminded me of Buffy was when Owen was told he'd come back "different."

I thought it was a sloppy episode, personally, and I wish Owen would just die already. I find him to be the most tiresome character on the show.

March 10 2008 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hmm, Martha fit in better this week, but in total contrast to last week's ep they stuck her in a bed for the second half. They did such a great job integrating Adam & Capt Spike amongst Torchwood, I wish they'd do the same with Martha, even if she has only 1 more ep. Didn't the little girl say that glove was buried UNDER the church? Wasn't it a bit too easy for him to find it after 10 min in a box? Also, is it just me or did the supernatural-time bar, weevil lair and death devouring from beneath remind anyone of Buffy? Also, does Rhys EVER leave the apt? :) Other than Captain Jack's overdramatic 'stop', nice ep -

March 10 2008 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

"How did he know it was there?"

Because the little psychic girl told him when he asked her?

March 09 2008 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If they were all standing there when Owen was shot and died within minutes, why did they need the autopsy?

March 09 2008 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Siegler

Using a screen grab from a torrented Xvid avi file off the net, eh? :)

March 09 2008 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sure one of the reasons Martha is in Torchwood at least for these episodes is to heighten the thinking that maybe just maybe they will kill Owen and have Martha replace him.

March 09 2008 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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