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September 1, 2014

Torchwood: Something Borrowed

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 23rd 2008 9:30AM
Torchwood(S02E09) Gwen Cooper finds her career intruding on her home life when she is impregnated by an alien shapeshifting carnivore on her wedding day. And you thought your wedding day had problems.

This was more of a comic-relief episode than any of the season's previous ones. It was a welcome respite from the heavy life-and-death episode about Owen from last week.

On a side note, I'm amazed Owen, since he died and was resurrected, still doesn't have the craving for human flesh that the shapeshifter from this episode had. In all other aspects he's pretty much become a zombie. Maybe that bit happens later.

The episode centered around Gwen and her relationship with both Captain Jack and her fiancé Rhys. Gwen and Jack have maintained an interesting relationship that shifts between sibling and romantic. She even nearly kisses Jack on her wedding day (although it ends up being the shapeshifter). In the event that Rhys is ever out of the picture, it wouldn't surprise me if Gwen and Jack start something. Since he knows of Torchwood's existence, I'm amazed Rhys is still alive and some alien parasite hasn't sucked out his brain. I also think Jack is grooming Gwen as the next in command.

It seems like every television show has to have at least one wedding episode. Torchwood proves itself to be no exception. Perhaps they're making a sociopolitcal statement about how one should be able to balance work with personal life (even when work involves alien invasions).

Weddings works as a plot device because they allow the involvement of many characters and allows for certain feelings and situations to come to light. This was shown when Owen "warmed up" to Tosh (in as much as a dead man can) at the reception and asking her to dance.

I found it interesting that Tosh was very cold to Rhys' best man while Owen, while he was alive, was pretty cold to Tosh. You'd think she'd be more sympathetic.

It's also interesting how the affair between Owen and Gwen in the first season was never mentioned in this episode. You'd think there would be some leftover guilt on the part of Gwen for cheating on Rhys like that. Unless, you know, there wasn't.

Prerequisite in virtually every television wedding is meeting both the bride and groom's extended families, particularly their parents. Hilarity usually ensues. I think this wedding fit the cliché perfectly when Rhys' mom ended up being quite the bitch. I couldn't help but laugh at the extremely British snark of the responses from Gwen's mother.

I did like the scene at the end where Captain Jack went through his historical photographs and we see that he was married in one of his past lives (to a woman, no less!). Slowly we're learning more about Jack's past as the series progresses and everything we learn only leaves us with more questions.

Although entertaining, the plot itself was pretty sci-fi cliché (alien invader of the week). The real goal of this episode was the development of the characters. There were some times where I asked myself, "Can't they just finally kill this shapeshifter thing and get on with the wedding?"

In the end, so nobody in the wedding would confess to the outside world that there are killer aliens on the loose. Torchwood spikes the drinks with Retcon and makes everyone forget about the day. It would make for an interesting plot point later. Imagine talking to Gwen's mother in some future episode and her saying "Well, I remember that my daughter had a wedding day, but I don't quite remember what happened. We also seemed to have lost the videotape and the photos."

I liked the episode. It was light and fluffy yet it furthered things along with regard to the Torchwood universe and its characters. I certainly want to tune in and see what happens next. My final thought about the episode is that now that Gwen and Rhys are married, I think his remaining lifespan is probably measurable on an egg timer.

Do you think the creators will kill off Gwen's husband Rhys in future episodes?
Yes, it's practically being set up for by the wedding..95 (37.8%)
No, the relationship between Gwen and Rhys adds an interesting element to the show.156 (62.2%)

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11 Comments

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Nathaniel

I voted yes, but not because I want them to. Because I'm afraid they will. I really like Rhys, and I don't think Gwen and Jack go together quite right.

March 24 2008 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

"I found it interesting that Tosh was very cold to Rhys' best man while Owen, while he was alive, was pretty cold to Tosh. You'd think she'd be more sympathetic."

Well, perhaps the fact that the best man's opening line to Tosh had to do with his dick-size may have had something to do with her coldness. Not exactly the same tenor as her relationship with Owen.

March 24 2008 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
LC

Exactly.I don't see why Tosh has to be nice to a lout saying rude things, because of what she goes through with Owen. I can see the point if it were a nice guy politely asking her out.

March 24 2008 at 9:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eslsinger

This episode was terrible. I held a 2-person viewing party in my apartment yesterday for Dr. Who (don't get me started on the Family of Blood episode) and Torchwood and we were both really disappointed in Torchwood. What kind of special agents are they? They kept on making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Overall, badly written, and the only character we symphathized with was Rhys. He's too good for Gwen. :-)

March 23 2008 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

As good as this show is, each episode always has one thing that nags me that suspension of disbelief won't be enough. Ok, so they had the wedding and they were spiked with retcon, but retcon does not work until the person eventually gets knocked out by it and wakes up with no memories of whatever time length the dose is for.

So basically they had the wedding party with full knowledge of all the alien mayhem, which I can still buy, but to celebrate when one of the groomsman was eaten? I would imagine that Rhys would have chosen a close friend to be in the wedding party. How about a little mourning? How can everyone be having fun, dancing etc, while someone was not just murdered, but murdered viciously?

March 23 2008 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to LC's comment
Toby OB

"Since he knows of Torchwood's existence, I'm amazed Rhys is still alive"
"I'm amazed Owen, since he died and was resurrected, still doesn't have the craving for human flesh that the shapeshifter from this episode had"

There was enough cliche with the TV wedding traditions you mentioned, we don't need more. A lot of times 'Torchwood' may fall on its face with what it's trying to achieve, but at least it's making the attempt to be something different when it comes to being a sci-fi TV show.

A character like Jack would never pass muster in a network sci-fi show stateside, for example. So I'm happy to cast aside expectations for cliches with this show. That way I'm not anticipating the fates for Rhys and Owen that you would find in other TV shows.

March 23 2008 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

Poor Ianto. He seems to have deep feelings for Jack, and Jack seems to be so much more into Gwen.

March 23 2008 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tim's comment
BC McKinney

Yes, and I find myself having a prurient interest in who is, er, doing the pitching and who the catching in the relationship, or if Jack and Ianto are both versatile.

March 23 2008 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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