Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Torchwood: Sleeper

Jack: "Okay, Beth. You make light bulbs blow, we can't break your skin. What planet are you from?"

That's two for two. I'm encouraged.

What they did particularly well in this episode was jerk us back and forth. When I first saw it, I really did think Torchwood had gotten the wrong person, and it was upsetting to watch them put sweet little Beth through so much pain.

And then when it was established that sweet little Beth was indeed a sleeper agent alien invader, I honestly didn't know from one moment to the next if and when she would revert and kill someone. Like in the scene in the hospital with her husband. I kept expecting her to kill him, but then I decided she wouldn't – right before she did. And Beth was well cast; her performance was very good, because I felt real sympathy for her every single moment, right up until the end. Yes, it was a bit inconsistent for her to mostly retain control of herself while the other sleepers immediately turned into murderous automatons, but it still worked, since she was the only one who knew what was happening to them.

The dialogue was witty and crisp, and the cast again seemed to be more on top of it than in season one, where they were too easily distracted by their amours, devious aliens and alien artifacts. Owen, in particular, was again a lot more likeable, even though he kept his edge. (He was even right about Beth from the beginning.) Tosh was less of a geeky nonentity and a lot more confident in her skills. Ianto was outright funny, over and over again, a big contrast to his buttoned up tragic persona at the start of the series. He was very playful with Jack in particular. The subtext was that Ianto is very happy right now. Is he with Jack? Is he in love?

One thing hasn't changed. Everyone in Torchwood still wants to have sex with everyone else in Torchwood. Well, with some limits; Ianto wasn't willing to consider Owen, and if Ianto is with Jack now, I really get that. Gwen's unexpected comment on what Jack does in bed, along with that engagement ring scene in the previous episode, made it pretty clear that Gwen is still into Jack. Why doesn't she just go for him? Qualms about sleeping with the boss? Why? It's Jack, after all. He supposedly goes for anyone or anything, although we really haven't seen that happen yet.

Bits and pieces:

-- Beth's artificial construct of a human personality was stronger than the alien that was the real her. Familiar plot, but done well.

-- I particularly loved Owen, Tosh and Ianto going back and forth and hand-wringing about no phones, while Jack immediately whipped out a CB radio.

-- The resolution was pretty open-ended. These nasty sleeper invader types could be back. Or not.

-- Jack was stabbed by the sleeper agent guy, and actually stood there with that thing in his body while not dying. I thought he died and revived, not that he could keep from dying.


Ianto: "You remember what happened last time we used it?"
Jack: "That was different. And that species has extremely high blood pressure."

Beth: "Your bedside manner's rubbish."
Gwen: "You should see his manners in bed. They're atrocious. (pause) Apparently. So I've heard."
Ianto: "Oh, they are. I remember..."
(Jack clears his throat)

Tosh: "The entire telephone network is down."
Owen: "What about a mobile connection?"
Tosh: (emphasizing each word) "The entire telephone network is down."
Ianto: "Mobiles, landlines, tin cans with bits of string. Everything, absolutely everything. No phones, phones all broken. Hello? Anyone there? No, because the phones aren't working."

Jack: "Come on, have a little faith. With a dashing hero like me on the case, how can we fail?"
Ianto: "He is dashing. You have to give him that."

Owen: "Let's all have sex."
Ianto: "And I thought the end of the world couldn't get any worse."

Solid episode. Three out of four stars,

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


  1. Definitely loving the Torchwood reviews, Billie.

    This was a great thriller, a dark contrast to the unabashed fun of the previous episode, marred only by those silly T1000 style blades the sleepers all had. They looked ridiculous and out of place in a story like this. I was especially shocked when one of the sleepers activated and then left their baby to roll into oncoming traffic.

    Ianto was clearly the star here, knocking out one-liners with machine like precision. Seems there’s more to the tea boy then we all thought.

  2. You're a sweetie, Mark -- thanks. And your comments are always so good. I'm really enjoying writing about Torchwood. It's my kind of show.

  3. Sleeper agent episodes are great but then again, James Moran did write The Fires Of Pompeii so perhaps I'm biased.

    Beth was a great guest character, wonderfully written and perfectly sympathetic as well.

    Ianto got all the best lines and wow, he can certainly reject Owen in style (not that Owen would ever go there with any bloke but still).

    Could've had some Toshiko action but at least the next episode sated that.


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.