Torchwood: A Day in the Death Of...
(S02E08) "You get to live forever. I get to die forever." -Owen comparing his situation to Jack's immortality.
This was a very different Torchwood episode. There were no aliens to battle and no major action sequences. In fact, Team Torchwood was mostly inactive. Instead, we got to take an episode to look deep into the psyche and situation of Dr. Owen Harper. Everything from the music to the way the various scenes were shot lent itself perfectly to the melancholy and hopelessness of the character. Burn Gorman showed tremendous depth in his portrayal of Owen this installment, and it looks like we may finally be looking at some major growth for Owen. Not that he still doesn't have some very serious issues to deal with.
The writers came up with a pretty clever framing sequence to tell Owen's story. We opened with him on a roof with a woman we've never seen before who's ready to jump off the roof and commit suicide. Owen started talking to her, really revealing everything about himself and Torchwood, which I thought was a huge no-no. I guess exceptions can be made when you're trying to get people not to kill themselves.
Throughout the episode we get the story of what's happened to Owen since the close of the last episode as he tells it to this suicidal woman. As they still weren't quite sure what he was, Jack stripped him of his position, gun and access badge until Martha could run a series of tests on him. At first, the results were somewhat encouraging. If he kept up with exercise, he wouldn't atrophy, and it looked like he would never age or ultimately die ... again. The good news is that he's fully human again. Just a dead human walking.
Later, we learned that he would never heal or recover from any wounds or broken bones either. He accidentally sliced his palm open with a scalpel, so now he'll have to restitch that wound every few days or so for the rest of his existence or it will just keep tearing. This doesn't sound like such a good deal at all. Good lord, what if he breaks a leg he'd have to wear a cast forever, never mind a gaping stomach wound or something. Maybe Jack was right to keep him off of missions. His situation is physically pretty precarious.
I liked the way this sequence was handled where Tosh came by to visit Owen at his house. As Tosh rambled on and on and Owen just stared off not paying attention. They silenced her audio so we could just see her talking. Then we cut back to the roof to learn that today was the girl's one-year wedding anniversary. And that while driving away from the ceremony she and her new husband had been in a horrible car wreck that killed him. She'd tried to move on, but ultimately couldn't do it.
We then faded back to Owen and Tosh, still talking silently. Slowly they brought back up her volume as Owen started to tune her in before brutally lashing out at her about why she's there and what she's hoping to get out of this. He knows she's always wanted him, and yes they'd agreed to go out on a date, but is this what she wanted? He's empty and broken now. He has nothing to offer her. To show how broken he is, he completely folded back and broke his pinky finger, on the same hand he sliced earlier.
Other moments of interest:
- The union of Tosh and Owen seems to have happened. When he revealed that he's scared that if he closes his eyes he'll be trapped in the darkness. "I'm here," Tosh replied, holding him. While I'm actually glad to see the Tosh/Owen hook-up happening here, or at least being attempted, I never in a million years thought it would happen under these circumstances.
- Where was the old man's medical staff and team when he flatlined? Why set him up with that kind of equipment if there is no medical response in the event of his death?
- Why didn't UNIT send a car for Martha? It's the middle of the night and they couldn't even get her a cab? The poor girl had to walk off carrying all of her stuff.
So that's it? Owen's going to stay an active part of Torchwood, and undead? Surely they're going to find some way to restore him back to some semblance of life, right? You'd certainly think so. Still, it adds another element of the crazy to the show. Now you have immortal Jack and Owen, only with very, very different types of immortality. And Jack definitely got the better end of that deal.
|It's cool, I hope they keep him that way||34 (9.3%)|
|They need to bring him back to life||143 (39.3%)|
|It can work for awhile, but only if they have escalating problems||151 (41.5%)|
|He should be dead for real ... and gone||36 (9.9%)|