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Torchwood: A Day in the Death

Ianto: "Are you okay?"
Owen: "What do you think?"

Owen's condition isn't all bad. He is still young and strong, after all, and he won't age. He can't eat or drink or sleep or have sex, but he has a challenging, fascinating job, after all, and Tosh still loves him. He'll never have to shave again, either. I tried to picture how I'd take it if I were in this situation, and I thought I'd almost be okay. Family, friends, cats (although getting scratched would be bad), reading, writing, painting, swimming without fear of drowning, and of course, there's the internet.

But in truth, Owen's condition is a horror movie waiting to happen. That cut on his hand and the broken finger are forever. If he bruises or breaks in a big way – if he even trips and lands wrong – he could spend eternity in a wheelchair looking like a monster. And what choice does he have? How can he end it now? Jump into a live volcano? Cremation while conscious? I suppose Jack could use the gigantic stapler to send him to the center of the Sun, like Mary the alien. I never thought I'd say this, but... poor Owen. My heart actually ached for him. Well, no. Okay, just a little.

This episode effectively explored a pretty big topic. Is life worth living if you can't do most of the things that you love? It was like they stripped Owen down to his very core, and there was a lot more to him than alcohol and sex and being cruel to people. He does care about others. He was able to come to a sort of peace with himself by helping someone else in unbearable pain: Maggie, the woman on the ledge. In a way, he was just like her – longing to die but unable to let go of his life, even though it had just turned to utter crap.

Despite Owen's newfound sensitivity, though, he still didn't treat Tosh well. And he was somewhat derisive toward the woman on the ledge until he learned her story. Once a misogynist, I guess. Owen compared himself to Jesus in the opening scene; he's still deeply self-absorbed. He's got a good excuse, I suppose.

Again with the discussion of no afterlife, this time with the Howard Hughes wannabe and his magic alien heart pulse thingy. I thought the artifact was a great big metaphor for "where there's life, there's hope." Who knows? Something could come out of the Rift tomorrow that could bring Owen back to life before he turns into a shambling zombie. Stranger things have happened. On Torchwood, anyway.

Bits and pieces:

-- I loved that Owen got to be coffee boy. Wonderfully karmic, after the way he's always treated Ianto. I bet Ianto felt much the same.

-- A bit too pat that they came up with the perfect infiltration job for Owen. He looked reaper-like in that black hoodie, too.

-- Weird dynamic with Jack. I think Owen wanted Jack to show that he cared. Jack does care.

-- So much for Martha. When I saw this the first time, I thought she'd be replacing Owen on a permanent basis and taking his place in the cast. Guess not.


Owen: (to Ianto) "Even Tosh had more of a life than you used to. And now you're always out on missions, you're shagging Jack, and I'm stuck here making the coffee."

Jack: "Henry John Parker. Used to be a looker. Now he's 80-odd, and even I have my limits. Your basic millionaire collector of alien hoo-hah."

Jack: "Watch TV. Chill."
Owen: "Jack, I'm dead. I'm permanently chilled. You know, you get to live forever. I get to die forever. It's funny, that."

Owen: "I am literally too cool for school."

Security guard: "What are you?"
Owen: "I'm wrong."
Security guard: "What are you?"
Owen: "I'm broken."

I'm inclined to give this episode four stars, although part of me insists it's only a three,

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


  1. I'm loving these Owen centric episodes more and more and Burn Gorman is certainly puling in quite a performance.

    Maggie looked a little Kill Bill in the bridal dress during the flashbacks scenes but I enjoyed her and Owen playing off each other.

    Hope is great, shame Torchwood has an abysmal mortality.

    I wish Martha had done more in this episode and the previous one but she was way better used here than on Doctor Who.

  2. The television show Owen was watching was "To Buy or Not to Buy." Nice little sideways Shakespearean reference to Owen's weird state of existence. I should add that to my review.


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