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Torchwood: Small Worlds

Gwen: "Fairies. Are you kidding me?"

Fairies. Protecting chosen little girls from pervs. At least near the woods in Cardiff, anyway.

I think they were trying for a specific creepy mood in this story about ancient, terrible creatures of earth, but in fact, it just wasn't Torchwood-like and I didn't believe it, no matter how many dire things Jack said about them. (Not John Barrowman's fault; he gave it his all.) Maybe it would have worked if the fairies had turned out to be aliens. Probably not, though. I think the premise was doomed from the start.

For me, the best part of this episode was Jack with Gwen, and Jack with Estelle. (Jack is the big reason why I watch Torchwood, which I'm sure is obvious.) I liked that Jack went to the trouble to check up on Estelle, and that he tried to lie to her as little as possible by refusing to discuss his "father." We could tell when he held her body in his arms that he really did love her. He loves. He's not just a gorgeous, mysterious cipher.

Gwen learned that Jack not only can't die; he doesn't age, either. And he's been around for awhile, if he was in the military in 1909. I haven't written much about Jack's origins, but (if you're a Torchwood purist who wants nothing to do with Doctor Who, bail out of this paragraph now) in the first season of Doctor Who, Jack was introduced as a fifty-first century time agent turned con man. Jack died defending the Doctor, and was mysteriously resurrected by Rose, who was channeling the heart of the Doctor's time machine. This experience was obviously what made Jack immortal. The Doctor and Rose left Jack behind far in the future, not knowing what had happened to him -- or if they knew, it was never addressed. How did Jack wind up in the Earth's past?

It was definitely bizarre that Jack let the fairies take Jasmine in the end. He certainly had reason and it wasn't a fate worse than death, though; she was happy to be the chosen one, and all she wanted was to be with them. It was a fate worse than death for her mother, though. She lost her child and her long time boyfriend in the space of a few minutes. Poor thing.

Bits and pieces:

-- At her poorly attended lecture, Estelle showed some of the five Cottingley Fairy photos that were taken in 1917. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottingley_Fairies

-- The flashback to 1909 and the weird deaths of fifteen soldiers didn't contribute much to the story. I think it was intended to explain why Jack gave in and let Jasmine go.

-- Choking people to death with rose petals was suitably creepy. I particularly liked the ickiness of the fairy sticking his hand down the boyfriend's throat.

-- In the last episode, Jack said he didn't sleep. This episode opened with Jack in bed. Um, which is it?


Jack: "So we pretend to know what they look like. We see them as happy. We imagine they have tiny little wings that are bathed in moonlight."
Gwen: "But they're not?"
Jack: "No."

Ianto: "I blame it on magic mushrooms."
Jack: "What you do in private is none of our business."
Was Jack flirting with Ianto?

One star,

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


  1. I didn't like this one that much either but I do like getting anything on Jack's past, so that was good.

    Malignant fairies are certainly not my idea of good TV, though I did like what they did with the paedophile.

    One thing that has bothered me in certain episodes that Gwen can sometimes be too much at the focus of things concerning Jack. It should be more spread out with each of the team learning more and more about their boss as opposed to the newest member.

  2. It was explained in Utopia how Jack got back: he used his time-travelling wristband that he got when he was a Time Agent. It was somewhat lacking in accuracy so he ended up in Victorian times.

    The Doctor knew he'd been resurrected and intentionally left him behind because he was a fixed point in time, something the Doctor and the TARDIS couldn't stand.

    There were some great moments in this episode, like the fairies attacks and I liked Jack's choice: it helped set Torchwood apart from Doctor Who. Also foreshadowed Children of Earth pretty well.


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