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Torchwood: They Keep Killing Suzie

Jack: "We've been talking to the wrong corpse."

Torchwood is a tough place to work; your corpse and your stuff stay with Torchwood forever. Talk about your job owning your soul.

The Torchwood staff hadn't really dealt with what happened to Suzie; they had just stuffed their feelings about it into a drawer in the morgue with her. And there she was, back from the dead, stirring up old feelings, and trying to kill Gwen, her replacement. That'll show you for taking my job away from me, you interloper.

Suzie pretty much represented the direction Torchwood was going before Gwen was recruited: cold, cruel and calculating, the research and interests of Torchwood at the expense of anyone who got in the way. But she was also the one that initially got the glove to work, and that required compassion. Did Torchwood make her evil, or was it the glove? I think it was probably both. Gwen was the "new" Torchwood. It was her essential goodness that got the glove working, and her compassion for Suzie's plight that nearly got her killed.

(I have to say, that was a pretty deep chess game Suzie was betting her life on, though. If it had fallen apart at any point, it wouldn't have worked. Like, what if Gwen hadn't been able to work the glove? If they hadn't figured out about the knife? What if poor amnesia-pill Max had gotten hit by a car before he carried out his directives?)

This episode's Most Obvious Symbolism was that beautifully photographed drive in the dark car at night as the directionless journey of life toward the mystery of death. Gwen was life and Suzie was death, but they were slowly trading places; those shots of them alone with all that empty space outside the car were particularly striking. Suzie told Gwen that there was nothing after death, repeating what that dead teenager said in the pilot episode. But then Suzie said that there was something out there in the dark and it was moving. Later, she told Jack it was coming for him. How could she know that if there was nothing?

Jack's coldness and brutality were even more evident than before. He had absolutely no trouble firing pointblank at Suzie half a dozen times. He deliberately said "Torchwood" around mad Max in the cell, just to see him go nuts. Yes, somewhat funny, but Max was an innocent victim, too.

In the end, Jack and Gwen were staring at each other while "I've Found the One I Waited For" was playing in the background. All the while she's still with Rhys as well as, we assume, having an affair with Owen. And did Ianto just make an appointment with Jack for a romp in Jack's office? Jack probably wants both Gwen *and* Ianto. Quite possibly at the same time.

Bits and pieces:

-- The title should have been "We Keep Killing Suzie."

-- I liked the banter. Ianto in particular was quite droll, not once but several times.

-- Gwen confessed that she thinks about Jack and wonders what he is, pretty much all the time.

-- Alien artifacts tend to be bad. They hurt everyone, or turn people into psychos. The glove, the "ghost machine," the mind-reading pendant. Even retcon pills are dangerous.

-- The hole in the back of Suzie's head and the way it transferred to Gwen was icky and effective.

-- They were in cars at night, time was running out, and suddenly, they were on the pier and it was day. That was night becoming day a bit too quickly. Okay, let's just think of it as symbolic.

-- Ianto pointed out that gloves come in pairs.

-- The ISBN Detective Swanson gave Tosh wasn't for Emily Dickinson; it was for The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. "ISBN" stands for International Standard Book Number, by the way. Many books published in the last few decades have one, but certainly not all.

-- Despite Suzie's evil, she was hurt that no one had missed her, that everyone seemed to like Gwen so much more. Indira Varma did a great job as Suzie. I even thought the name was great. You don't expect such devious evil from someone named Suzie.

-- Jack didn't die in this episode, but Suzie certainly did. So did Gwen. And Owen heard Suzie say that she'd killed Jack.


Jack: "How many people have we given amnesia pills to?"
Ianto: "Two thousand and eight."
Owen: "Hey! What if they all become psychotic?"
Tosh: "Do you have to sound so happy?"
Owen: "Yeah, I'm just saying, 'Mean Streets'."

Owen: "You know, we never gave it a cool name."
Tosh: "I thought we called it the Resurrection Gauntlet."
Owen: "*Cool* name."
Ianto: "What about the Risen Mitten?"

Owen: "Give Ianto a stopwatch and he's happy."
Ianto: "It's the button on the top."

Tosh: "That's all we are in the end. A pile of boxes."

Jack: "That's one for Ianto. Risen Mitten, Life Knife, and that old classic, Stun Gun."

Gwen: "I've got my own function at Torchwood. And I'm a lot more than just a replacement."
Suzie: "Have you slept with Owen? (silence) There you go. Replaced me completely."

Detective Swanson: "You're locked inside your own base?"
Jack: "And it's not funny."
Detective Swanson: "How am I supposed to help you, exactly?"
Jack: "We need a book of poetry. It's not funny."
I liked Detective Swanson.

This was the best episode so far. Four out of four stars,

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


  1. Really good episode. I pitied Suzie even if she was evil.
    Ianto had that trust with Jack a bit too soon after being mad at Jack over Lisa's fate I think. But maybe Jack's just that hard to resist. Or maybe more time had passed off screen than we know.

  2. After ‘Out of Time’ this is my favourite episode of the first season even if Suzie’s endgame was too complicated to be remotely plausible. No gratuitous sex, genuine human drama, meaty character development, good sci-fi ideas and Ianto’s deadpan quips (Risen Mitten – lol). This was everything I like about Torchwood.

    Things have defiantly improved since the horrors of ‘Cyberwoman’. Maybe it was a good thing they got all the crap out of the way early on. Nothing left now but the good stuff. And Combat :(

  3. This one was my favourite from the first season.

    It's a pity Suzie was never set up as a recurring baddie, she would've been great.

    Dark in places but insightful too. I think there were some deliberate parallels between Suzie and Gwen as well.

  4. I liked this one. I'm not sure about Gwen/Jack anymore. Jack was SO interested initially but back in the cannibal munchies town Jack seemed to pretty much resign himself to Gwen and Owen, symbolically stepping back while Owen carried Gwen after she'd been shot. Since then I haven't seen him display the same level of interest. I thought the song in the final shot was more revealing than the acting, although the stare was intense. The Jack/Ianto sex date must've come as a surprise to those watching at the time.

    I think this means everyone is bisexual in the Torchwood office and they must pump that place full of pheromones because my workplace is nothing like that! Also, if I die my workplace doesn't get to keep my stuff, or my body. ;)


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