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Torchwood: Day One

Gwen: "Okay. First contact with an alien, not quite what I expected."

An alien comes to Earth, possesses a human woman, and then she tries to have sex with everyone. This sounds terribly familiar. I could think of at least two other series that have done the same plot, and I wasn't even trying hard.

It's always about the execution, though; even a well-worn plot can shine if it's done well. Unfortunately, this episode was not done well. And it felt like they were deliberately getting in our faces with sex, sex, and more sex. Sex with aliens, girl on girl, prurient curiosity about Jack's sexual orientation. Although I must admit that my favorite scene was at dinner when Jack left the table and everyone immediately started talking about him. Is he straight or gay? American? CIA? What's with the coat? Gwen has known Jack for a day and already knows more critical stuff about him than they do.

The Torchwood staff came off as a bit hardened and shallow. Jack and Tosh were friendly toward Gwen, but Owen was hostile and Ianto seemed to be a stuffed shirt. The voraciously sexual alien pretty much paralleled the single-but-obsessed-with-sex state of everyone in Torchwood, except for their newest member.

Gwen is not like them. She still relates to the human race. They were all about the alien, and she was all about the victim. (Even Jack cared more about the hand in a jar than Carys.) Gwen is bringing humanity back to these jaded alien hunters; she makes everyone see things differently. And she's the only one who has a life outside of Torchwood. Although, unfortunately, she is still downplaying her job and lying about it to Rhys. Someday he'll find out, Gwen. They always do.

Bits and pieces:

-- The opening saga sell comes off as mildly cheesy. Outside the government, beyond the police. All that artful posing with guns.

-- The Hub itself and the Torchwoodmobile, all impressive. So why are the prison cells so tiny and utterly dank?

-- Torchwood has bodies in storage, suitable for all occasions.

-- Jack flirted with Gwen, and kissed both Gwen and Carys. I thought for a moment that Jack would volunteer to have sex with Carys in order to defuse her, somehow. Could he survive being turned into powder?

-- Even though she kissed Gwen, the alien seemed to be the only one we could be sure was heterosexual. Well, except Owen. He seems to be a phobe, another reason for me to dislike him. Owen, in fact, showed Olympic-level insensitivity toward pretty much everything.

-- Rhys is a transport manager.

-- A fertility clinic open late at night? That would happen.


Rhys: "What does it mean, special ops?"
Gwen: "It's no big deal. Mostly filing."

Tosh: "My god!"
Gwen: "He just..."
Jack: "Came and went."

Gwen: "What do you do to relax?"
Owen: "I torture people in happy relationships."

Owen: "Thought she said she had a boyfriend."
Jack: "You people and your quaint little categories."

Jack: "You know, strictly speaking, throttling the staff is my job."

Owen: "Period military is not the dress code of a straight man."
Gwen: "I think it suits him. Sort of classic."
Tosh: "Exactly! I've watched him in action. He'll shag anything if it's gorgeous enough."

Jack: "She went for the ex-boyfriend. Lucky she's young. Work your way through my back catalog, we'll be here till the sun explodes."

One out of four stars,

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


  1. Heh, the sex. I like watching sex as much as the next person, but this was a little excessive. I remember not liking Torchwood at this time. They were trying so hard to make the show 'adult' and 'edgy' that they forgot about telling good stories. And the only character I liked was Jack. This will all change over the course of the series.

  2. Ah, Torchwood sure loved talking and showing sex. I liked this when I first watched it, still do but not as much.

    The plot is silly but a good performance from the girl playing Carys I suppose.

    Gwen really is the humanity of Torchwood in this season.

  3. This was a silly episode, but fortunately better was to come. Watching Barrowman nearly made it bearable.

  4. Don't quite know what Owen is, but I don't think he's a phobe. In Everything Changes he was happy enough to use the Rohypnol spray on the bloke as well and didn't seem to protest the snog.

    I really don't like this episode, I think it's a bit of an embarrassment. One of the things that really threw me with the first series of Torchwood were the bizarre swings in quality and the first three eps really show this: 1.01 and 1.03 are good, very good in some places, but they're interrupted by this.

  5. Don't quite know what Owen is, but I don't think he's a phobe. Owen does say something during the table scene that sounded phobic to me. I don't remember exactly what it was, though. I think they rethought his characterization because he changes a good bit in future episodes.

  6. I'm new to Torchwood and so far UGH. Gwen is annoying with her "you can't do that! you can't have access to this! what's all that!". In fact the only way they could make her more annoying was if she was a journalist. Agreed with everyone that the sex was way over done here. I also didn't get Gwen kissing Jack. You've just started a new job, it's intense, you kissed a witness, and then you go and kiss your new boss on the lips in front of all your new co-workers? It's stupid. Apart from Jack none of these characters are even likeable at this point.

    I did enjoy the Doctor's hand creepily waving though.


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