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October 25, 2014

Torchwood: Exit Wounds (season finale)

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 20th 2008 1:20PM
Torchwood(S02E13) Well, despite some ups and downs throughout the season, to say that this second run went out with a bang, both literally and emotionally, would be an understatement. Definitely, this ranks as one of the best episodes of the series so far and so amazingly surpasses the first season finale in every way. Where that was a silly overblown giant monster romp, this one existed on a much more intimate level within the lives of our cast of characters.

The cast and crew spent all season really fleshing out this team for us and making us learn to love and care for each of them; all of it leading to this stunning finale. Now the events herein could really resonate. Now you might be asking why such a generic Torchwood picture for such a key episode? I see it as a tribute. To what? Well, if you've seen the episode, maybe you know what. If not, what the hell are you doing here? Go watch it already.

There have been a lot of team rosters to the Cardiff Torchwood branch over the years. The 2006-2008 group really became a wonderfully tight-knit crew and an amazingly effective team. But when you lose so much of your "family" in such a short amount of time, how do you move on? At the end of last week, Captain John Hart stood revealed as the mastermind behind the explosion that nearly wiped out the entire time, save Gwen, in an explosion.

This week revealed the mastermind behind Captain John Hart to be none other than Jack's lost brother Gray. Last week it looked like John had kidnapped Gray, all to continue messing with Jack as he had earlier in the season, but it turned out to be the opposite.

The emotional centerpiece of the episode, of course, was the fates of Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper. Both characters had experienced tremendous growth throughout the season, and had Owen not been in an undead state by now they likely would have consummated their relationship by now. As it stood, that relationship never really got off the ground.

The writers did a really great job of setting up a final scene between the two without even having them in the same room. Via the comm system, they were able to share intimate moments together before Owen succumbed to the nuclear coolant venting. Now, one could argue that as Owen is already dead he could possibly survive this, but I don't think his body would survive the decomposition. We already know it won't heal.

Perhaps it is simply because it was proving increasingly difficult to write the character as he'd been re-established post-death, or maybe their intention was to eliminate him after this year regardless. Certainly, the fact that he could never heal from even the smallest of scrapes made his continued presence in the field problematic. The fact that he took zero damage in last week's explosion is nigh impossible.

I loved how selfless Tosh was in concealing her own injuries while talking with Owen so that he would not worry about her well-being or have to focus on anything potentially negative in his own dying. He instead could pass thinking she was good and his death was a noble sacrifice to save the city of Cardiff, that last part was true at least.

It was nice to see Jack get some closure regarding his tremendous guilt over losing his brother Gray when they were both children. And to get some consolation and compassion from John was nice well. Throughout the episode, the character of Captain John Hart became much richer and more interesting than he was the first time around. Still a pompous and arrogant ass, John proved he had a heart underneath it all and you could see some of that chemistry that probably made him and Jack such a great team together back in the future.

POINTS OF INTEREST
  • When Gray kidnapped Jack and took him to the past, I was highly impressed with how quickly and effectively Gwen took over as leader of Torchwood. And then turned around and took over as leader of the police department.
  • It was nice to see the return of 1901 Team Torchwood, picking up the beacon signal and unburying Jack, only to have to refreeze him through 2007. Time travel is tricky but Torchwood is handling it well enough already. But what happened to the ring? Even still it should have still been traceable in the present, shouldn't it?
  • Rhys is really turning into a great supporting character. And it looks like he finally understands the importance of what Gwen does with Torchwood and her importance on the team. His support throughout the episode helped keep her going. It was so touching and sweet when she could only respond at one point by asking him to marry her again.
  • Does this mean we'll never get to see any follow-up or explanation as to why the weevils respond to Owen in the way that they do? Was it simply because he was undead or is there more to it? For that matter, there's a helluva lot of weevils in Cardiff, far more than any other alien species I'd wager. Is anything going to be done about that?
  • The scene early on in which Jack warns John that the team would stop him and John begs him to do just that was beautifully acted and written. "Go on, then, " he said. "Stop me. I hope you can. Really." At this point we don't know Gray is controlling his actions, but we can tell that he's sincere in these words.
Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper - RIP
I'll miss these two characters. While I spent much of the two seasons hoping that Tosh would grow a pair and stand up for himself and Owen would get knocked down a peg and get kicked in his pair, by the end I'd really grown impressed with the both of them. A large part of this can be credited to the amazing performances that Burn Gorman and Naoko Mori gave in their roles, and especially in this episode. You guys were the passion and the brains of the outfit and you'll both be missed (if they don't find some way to bring one or both of you back).

The end of Torchwood: Season Two was far more satisfying and impressive than the first season. In fact, the whole second season was more impressive. It became more about the entire cast even though Jack remained at the center. And by the time we reached the end, the emotional impact of their losses could resonate so much more impressively than otherwise. And while Gray's single-minded obsession seemed a bit much, though perhaps understandable considering, the very fact that the major villain of the episode had such a personal connection to one of the team made the whole thing so intimate as to be painfully raw. This may just go down as the best episode of the whole series so far.

Speculation (Possible DW & TW SPOILER WARNING)
Well, at the end we now have a three-man team with Jack, Gwen and Ianto. Rumors have already stated that Jack will be making appearances in Doctor Who this season, as well as Martha Jones. Now Martha would be a no-brainer to replace Owen on the team. Somebody has reported that not only will Martha joining, but Jack leaving Torchwood as well. Maybe his return to DW this year would become permanent, or maybe he could spin-off into yet another show. I think the character of Captain Jack Harkness is far too popular to just eliminate altogether. And John Barrowman has made it clear that he absolutely loves the character so I can't see him fighting to get out of playing it

Of course, that article also said that Owen and Tosh would leave next season when they in fact left this year. It's also reported that the series might become less adult and more family fare. That and maybe Mickey (Rose's ex-boyfriend from Doctor Who might take over for Tosh). With Rose set to reprise her role in DW this season in some capacity, that would certainly open the door for Mickey's return as well. Of course, all this could be speculation and we could just get two different cast-members altogether and Jack could stay put. Word is that James Marsters will reprise his role as Captain John Hart, too. After his character arc in this episode, he'd be a welcome presence at any time for me.

All it boils down to is that both Doctor Who and Torchwood are very rich shows with great characters. I'm excited to see what comes up in Who this year and Torchwood next season. So far, I've not been disappointed in any of the major moves made on either show, so speculation be damned I'll just leave their fates in Russell T. Davies' capable hands and enjoy the ride.

Could Torchwood survive without Jack?
No726 (76.3%)
Yes57 (6.0%)
Only if John Hart replaces him168 (17.7%)

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mj green

Has anyone heard that Jack is also leaving? I find that hard to believe, because he said he loved the show and wanted to stay forever. I've also heard that they are going to change the show, making it more family oriented. I really hope NOT, because I love the show the way it is. And as much as I like James M, I want JACK.

May 20 2008 at 8:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
obiburner

Torchwood Yes, Doctor Who, No.

I see many Torchwood fans are also DW fans, and good for all of you who find both shows enjoyable.

Unfortunatly, DW just doesn't work for me. I watched the first two seasons, and found the monsters rather silly, and the plot lines redundant. Replacing the actor who played DW in Season 2 left me cold. Maybe I'm missing something and things picked up in subsequent seasons???

Anyway, to each their own.

When I first sat down to watch Torchwood, I was unimpressed as well, and tuned out after episode three. However due to a dirth of shows over the summer and HDNET showing the series in HD, I gave it another shot. I have to say my initial impressions changed, in large part because of the actor playing Captain Jack and my ability to separate him from his appearence in DW, and my being impressed by Gwen.

I'm always impressed with BBC shows because their female leads are not your run of the mill cookie cutter in the looks department we get in American TV. I'm also impressed with BBC shows like MI-5 who actually kill off major charactors after a season or two.

Their willingness to terminate major charactors adds more suspense to episodes than we ever get here in the states.

With all of that said, I too have chiming in with those who enjoyed season two's fleshing out of the Torchwood team. I have to say I was lulled into a false sense of security that the entire team would be back for a third season, though suspected that Owen was on the bubble. The loss of Tosh however took me by complete surprise.

I've read conflicting impressions on DW charactors joining Torchwood. As my knowledge of DW ends at season two, I may not be the best person to have an informed opinion, however I didn't find Martha to be that engaging on her cross over appearance, and I've no opinion on Mickey other than I'd like to see completely new charactors who we can learn about as we did with the team in place for season two.

I think it was that depth of charactor definition that made the writing in season two superior to any other SCI-FI other show on TV, save Battlestar Gallactaca.

In thinking about some of the postings, I get a suspicion that Jack will leave and be replaced by Captain John. Love Marsten from Buffy, and would give him a chance but would find it hard to beleive the show would be nearly as strong as with Jack.

However, one thing I've learned watching the BBC is since their seasons are typically only six weeks long, the writers don't have to stretch things out for a minimum of 13 weeks to 26 like we have here. Knowing how long or in this case how short your season are, must give writers a lot more confidence and allow tighter story lines.

So stay Jack, add John, and bring in some new and unknown blood. Part of what made Torchwood interesting was how charactors reacted to learning about the rift and the monsters. Charactors already familiar would not be nearly as interesting.

May 03 2008 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jumisa

You know, in the beginning, I wasn't sure how to take Jack. I think I thought he was mean or something.
Now, after really watching it every week and looking forward to each episode, I agree with you, if Jack left, I'd probably go with you...
I do think that Rhys is great, guess we couldn't have that tho, could we.

April 27 2008 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cupcakexo228

:'(
I was so sad to see Tosh and Owen die as they were my favorite characters. I don't believe Tosh will be coming back but I have hope for Owen. Especially because of his dieing words "It's okay Tosh it really is." (or something like that) leads me to believe that he found a way out into the sewer. He is the king of the Weevils after all!

I wouldn't mind having Martha on the team. I've never really liked Mickey though.

Torchwood without Jack! No way! I could probably stand an episode or two with John taking over to help, if Jack goes to help the Doctor but no longer than that!

April 26 2008 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brad

Was anyone else bothered by the flippant "space pig" reference to explain Tosh's appearance in DW? The whole thing would have taken place firmly in TW One's territory well before they were destroyed, and even trying to justify it as calling in help from another branch doesn't make sense give TW One's size + top dog complex. It's nice that they thought about wrapping up that particular thread, but it doesn't seem like much thought was put into it.

April 22 2008 at 4:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mugsy

The writers took special care to build up the Nuclear scientist that Owen helped. I have a feeling that she will make her way onto the Torchwood staff.

For some screenshots: http://tvtanline.blogspot.com/search/label/Torchwood

April 21 2008 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
metz

Mickey's a goof. With the permanent demise of Owen, Torchwood needs to inject another character with a prickly exterior. Neither Mickey or Martha fit that. You can't have a Torchwood with a bunch of "nice" people that all get along and spend each week knocking off another alien threat. The series lives based on the interactions between the cast regulars. The plots aren't really worth squat. Even in this season finale, the plot was secondary to driving the character interactions.

I really liked that they dropped the characters into the series with no back story and then fleshed them out late in the series. The season finale was excellent. It was both well written and very well acted.

April 21 2008 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cat

I had tears streaming down my face during the last part of this episode. I loved Tosh and Owen (really, everyone on the show) and I'm already depressed that they aren't coming back (that we know about). However... that being said, their deaths were perfect. The fact that they died together and were able to admit they should have acted faster... so sad and tragic.

In the meantime... Martha joining Torchwood be ok, but honestly, I'm not a big Mickey fan. He's ok, but not who I would expect to replace Tosh and Owen.

And if Jack leaves Torchwood... I probably would to.

April 21 2008 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cat

I had tears streaming down my face during the last part of this episode. I loved Tosh and Owen (really, everyone on the show) and I'm already depressed that they aren't coming back (that we know about). However... that being said, their deaths were perfect. The fact that they died together and were able to admit they should have acted faster... so sad and tragic.

In the meantime... Martha joining Torchwood be ok, but honestly, I'm not a big Mickey fan. He's ok, but not who I would expect to replace Tosh and Owen.

And if Jack leaves Torchwood... I probably would to.

April 21 2008 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benjy

I was stunned at the end of last night's episode. What a touching and shocking turn of events. This team has developed into such a family that it is hard seeing any of them die. I suppoase that scene from last week when the one TW agent killed everyone on the team except for Jack on New Year's Eve was meant to prep us for the fact that no one is safe on this team and can be (and have been) killed at any time for any reason. We forget that TW has had such a high turnover over the years. How many times has Jack witnessed thi over the 100 years he's been with TW.

My only regret is that we didn't get to flesh into these characters even further or see a resolution to the Owen/Tosh subplot. I can see a way to bring Owen back as he is undead, but Tosh... no way to get that closure now!

That being said, Freema Agyeman will be a welcome addition to the team (as her "audition" this year capably proved). Bringing Mickey from DW on would also be a nice touch (even though I thought he and Rose were reunited in the alternate universe).

Torchwood should in no way give up its adult themes. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It is an intelligent piece of sci-fi that caters to thinking, mature adults ala BSG. The types of things that Torchwood deals with require that it have a more adult theme than DW or SJA. Dare I say that is also a part of its charm?

And in NO WAY should John Barrowman leave the show. If Eve Myles is the heart of the show, he is undoubtedly the brain. Can one truly exist without the other?

April 20 2008 at 10:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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