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Torchwood: Ghost Machine

Jack: "The problem with seeing the future is you can't just sit and look at it. You got to try and change things."

The last episode was about sex. This one was about strong emotion. And it was much better. (Not that there's anything wrong with sex.)

It's nice to know that something can get to Owen; he couldn't let Lizzie's long-ago murder go unpunished. He showed genuine fury toward killer Ed Morgan, whose emotional illness and suicide-by-Gwen garnered no sympathy from me. Yes, these things aren't black and white, but I was with Owen on that one. Poor Gwen.

Another dangerous alien artifact, like the glove. You'd think it would be useful in solving murders or some such, but all it did was make everyone miserable. The big message was that some things should be left alone, that yes, sometimes it's better not to know. That particular theme was also repeated in Gwen's home life. Rhys is aware that she's lying to him. But they still seem to be happy because he knows when to leave something alone. That's a surprisingly good guy Gwen has there.

We learned some interesting stuff about Jack. He lives in the Torchwood offices, and doesn't sleep; he has no real life to speak of. Hard to imagine that one could feel sorry for a gorgeous immortal, but there you have it; I do. No break from eternity, ever. Why doesn't he sleep? Is it that he won't, or that he can't? If he can't, why isn't he stark staring mad?

That scene where Jack taught Gwen to shoot was just loaded with sexual innuendo. He's interested. Gwen was very aware of it, but she was a good girl and went home to Rhys, instead. I honestly don't know how she could resist him. I don't know how anyone could resist him. Talk about intense emotion. And putting something dangerous away and never using it.

Bits and pieces:

-- Seems funny to me, an American, that a police officer wouldn't know how to fire a gun, but I know that it's different in the UK. And frankly, I wish it were like that here.

-- Rhys apparently didn't know how to use the washer. I think it's because he didn't want to use the washer. He wanted Gwen to come home and do it. I call that "selective incompetence."


Jack: "Alien, of course. Gorgeous nanotechnology. Makes NASA look like Toys R Us."

Gwen: "Bernie Harris. The scarlet pimpernel of Splott." Wasn't the Scarlet Pimpernel a good guy in disguise, though, not an immature blackmailer?

Jack: "The twenty-first century is when it all changes. And I hate to commute."

Three stars?

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


  1. Billie, don't you always feel sorry for gorgeous immortal men? That's not a criticism but I've noticed it a lot with the shows you review.

    There was a bit of a sexual subtext with Jack and Gwen during the gun scenes (like Angel/Cordy in Billy with the swords).

    I liked the emotion behind this episode and I liked seeing that Owen is capable of caring about something as well.

    Not really a great episode for Toshiko or Ianto though. Neither of them had much to do in it.

  2. Years late to this review, but that never stops me. :)

    I think it's quite human to feel sorry for immortals like Captain Jack, or Angel in Buffy/Angel, Duncan and co in Highlander, The Doctor in Doctor Who. It's part of their tragedy - they will live forever while those around them will die. I honestly can't think of a worse curse than immortality, and I think if there really were immortals they'd all be stark raving mad at the burden of endless life and the powerlessness of other people's deaths.

    I agree that Jack is into Gwen and vice versa, but I can't quite figure out WHY Jack would be into Gwen. He barely knows her (much like her barely knew Rose in Doctor Who when he was coming onto her), so I think it's more of a default sexual vibe he gives out to most men and women.

    This episode was much better than the last one, but I can't feel much for Owen. He used the alien equivalent of a date rape drug on a man and a woman in the first episode. Are we supposed to just smile that one away as "isn't that funny?" and understand his outrage at the rape/murder scenario in this one?

    I know it's RTD's thing, but three episodes in and we know Owen, Jack and probably Gwen are bisexual. That's a trifle overdone...


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