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Torchwood: Children of Earth, Day 1

[Repetition alert! Paul Kelly reviewed Children of Earth a couple of weeks ago when it aired on British television. I'm doing it, too, because I plan to review all of Torchwood. I have not yet read Paul's reviews because (1) I avoid spoilers, and (2) I never read other people's reviews before writing my own. It'll be interesting to see if we hit the same points.]

Jack: "Actually, I found a grey hair."
Alice: "Well, that is the end of the world."

Outstanding. And this was only part one. (Let's hope it's not downhill from here.)

This first episode about (I assume) an alien invasion was actually all about being human.

Gwen and Rhys were shopping for a house and talking kids. I'm very fond of Gwen as a character, and I loved the way Gwen and Jack talked about her baby. Even though Jack is "officially" with Ianto now, Jack's love for Gwen was still very much evident. It wasn't three's a crowd, though, because it felt so comfortable; even though she's always been attracted to Jack, Gwen obviously chose not to feel threatened or left out. Good for her.

Ianto's confusion about his feelings for Jack and their status as a couple (as he revealed in that conversation with his sister) was just incredibly dear. I liked what he said about it not being men – that it was Jack. I believed it. Sometimes a person is just so overwhelmingly attractive to you that their gender doesn't matter, and Jack is not what you'd call an average guy. (I'm remembering my first reaction to Lucy Lawless as Xena.)

Jack's previously unknown family made a lot of sense, too. Of course he'd have had a family or two at some point. But experimenting on his own grandson? Jack, you're better than that. Ianto went for his niece, too. Career men. Really. Or maybe it's just that they've been in Torchwood too long.

The world has changed since the Christmas Invasion, and the advent of aliens. Some people are responding by losing their religious faith, suddenly feeling insignificant in the universe. The suicide rate has doubled. I liked that they addressed this. I liked it a lot. And yet, in keeping with this episode about being human, we didn't see an alien in this episode. No monsters, no spaceships, not even the pathetic weevils. And it was still scary. Children going freaky has been done to death in sci-fi, but they did it very well.

The tension was building through the roof at the end; you could tell something horrible was about to happen, and it certainly did. (Through the roof, literally.) Jack couldn't have known if he would survive getting blown to bits, and leaving the Hub wasn't an option. He didn't hesitate to sacrifice himself for Gwen and Ianto. The way he kissed Ianto goodbye so passionately and pushed him onto the lift was oh, so romantic.

So I am assuming Jack will survive and reassemble, since I don't think they'd kill their lead in the first episode of a miniseries. Plus, we know that the Face of Boe exists well into the future. Although time travel does change everything... wait a minute.

Bits and pieces:

-- The first thing Gwen did when she entered the Hub was touch a photo of Tosh and Owen. That was sweet. That photo is gone now. I suppose the Hub is gone, too.

-- Rupesh was acting like Gwen did when she was recruited, and he was such a good fit for Torchwood. I completely fell for it. He got his, didn't he?

-- "Timothy White" aka Clement MacDonald, an adult who was nearly taken as a child, channeled the 456 along with all of the world's children. How old were the kids? Were teenagers doing it? Toddlers? What about babies? Clem had an extremely enhanced sense of smell. I actually got a chill when Clem told Gwen she was pregnant. What will happen to Gwen's baby?

-- Loved Gwen's sonic almost screwdriver. Deliberate Doctor Who joke.

-- Was Lois Habiba just a sharp, nosy new employee at the Home Office, or was she more than that? Or will she turn out to be more than that?

-- Martha Jones is on her honeymoon, so no Martha this time. What about Andy? And Rhys, for that matter? Rhys should be working for Torchwood. He came up with an important theory just while chatting on the phone with Gwen.

-- Interesting little symbolic parallel, that Gwen's baby and Jack's bomb were in essentially the same place on the alien diagnostic photocopy machine.

-- The "blank page" order to kill was supposed to cover up something from England's past. Its list of targets included Jack, Colonel Michael Sanders, Ellen Hunt, and Captain Andrew Staines.

-- Jack died several times in this episode, and that was before he blew up.

-- Torchwood apparently pays very, very well. I wonder if they have an opening for a librarian? I'd relocate.


Ianto: "He died a happy man, and I've got Tupperware."
Jack: "And we're considerate. We don't leave any mess."

Rupesh: "What's in there?"
Gwen: "Big science fiction super base. Honestly. See ya."

Jack: "See you later."
Ianto: "Where are you going?"
Jack: "Now who's a couple?"

Ianto: "It's weird. It's just different. It's not men... it's just him. It's only him."

Jack: (to Gwen, about the baby) "You told me before you told him. He is going to love that."

Jack: "I'll come back. I always do."

The 456: "We are coming. Back."

This hour just flew by. Torchwood, how I've missed you. And how lovely that I don't have to wait long for part two,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. They did address, that the previous alien encounters affected the public?
    How did I miss that?
    (and it is in the only episode, that I did not record :( )

    I thought that there is no on screen confirmatiopn, that Jack is actually the Face Of Boe, or will be.
    (I heard, one of the producers confirmed it in the extras, though)

    Thanks Billie and Paul for giving us two full reviews.

  2. Daniel c w, Rupesh told -- was it Gwen or Jack? that suicides had increased and that one woman he knew of had killed herself because the reality of aliens had made her lose her religious faith.

    The thing about the Face of Boe was definitely in a Doctor Who episode. I don't think it's been mentioned in Torchwood, but it seems to me that if it was in Who, it's canon.

  3. Billie I reviewed this for my blogspot during UK transmission. These episodes are brilliant.

    Your review was brilliant and I loved so many things about this episode.

    It was nice to see Jack and Ianto's family, the way we discovered Gwen's pregnancy we did.

    An alien race that can control kids, that's definitely gonna be creepy and the bad government plot.

    Johnson made for an effective baddie and I did fall for the Rupesh dupe as well.

  4. Billie,
    I guess you are referring to the finale of Who's third season, "Last Of Time Lords".
    When you review that episode, we can bring it up again.

  5. I'm remembering my first reaction to Lucy Lawless as Xena too. I think it was....mmmmmm. I've always found her thoroughly intoxicating. I think my Xena DVD's are due a dusting off, actually.

    I was the same as you at the end of this one. We know Jack must survive. But how? He was more confident of coming back than I would have been.

  6. Billie, have you ever thought of doing reviews of Xena, maybe next summer?

  7. Re: Xena -- I never can tell where my summer muse will take me, but it's not likely. I was crazy about Xena when it first started airing, but it eventually lost me and I didn't stick with it until the end.

    Dan and I were having lunch downtown here in L.A. a couple of years ago, and we saw Hudson Leick at the next table. Sometimes living in L.A. is great. (Not always.)

  8. That new doctor had me fooled too. I jumped up when he shot Jack, it was so unexpected.


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