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Torchwood 2.2: Sleeper

January 23rd, 2008 (09:59 pm)
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current music: Bellowhead: Courting Too Slow

After the wisecracking, hyperwild first episode, we have a change of tone. Sleeper could have appeared somewhere in the middle of the first season, but the certainty of purpose established last week is carried forward, as are the revised character dynamics. Gwen can now get Owen to run errands for her without his making any more than a token complaint (he seems a good deal more sympathetic this series) - presumably this is skilled exploitation by an ex-girlfriend. Ianto is developing a line in pink and purple shirts and popping up in all sorts of odd corners - from being taciturn and introverted he's becoming a Celtic pixie, still a bit mysterious but with a gift for the apt phrase.

I did like this one, though wondered whether Jack's early deductions about who did what to the burglars were watertight. Someone or something could have got through the window, perhaps? Nikki Amuka-Bird was convincing as Beth, though I wasn't sure how she retained her personality at the time the other cell members were activated. I also thought the final confrontation back at the Hub was superfluous and overegged the sentimentality about the human spirit too much. The battle at the nuclear warhead storage facility, with one monster marching onward implacably and impermeably if a little lopsidedely, and easily dealing with an underprepared, underarmed group of soldiers, recalled various similar sequences from Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who; and the prospect of engagement with future sleepers, though somewhat Battlestar Galactica, lends an air of fatalism to proceedings which the final conversation scene with Jack and Gwen, about getting on with 'what we do' and Gwen's wedding plans, counterpointed nicely. The fade-out of Jack contemplating the alien blade served to remind the audience that Jack is someone with secrets, secrets which the aliens claim they know about and can use; he may be more committed to Torchwood this year than he was last, but the audience is being set up more clearly than last year to regard him as a vulnerability.

Comments

Posted by: helflaed (helflaed)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)

I enjoyed this one- so far I'm finding the caracters more believable in this series (so far). I hope it carries on. I like seeing more of Ianto as well. He wasn't used enough in the first series.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 11:30 am (UTC)

One of the moments that remains clear in my head from last night is Jack's self-mocking but still apparently self-satisfied description of himself as a dashing hero, and Gwen's withering look at him from the passenger seat...

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure.
While the episode had its moments, these did not seem to hang together well enough to form a coherent story. I can't put my finger on it, but somehow a lot of developments seemed poorly motivated and just strung together. While the best scenes fed from the human nature theme, I strongly agree that it was oversentimentalised.

"Gwen can now get Owen to run errands for her without his making any more than a token complaint."

Only after he's done it to her though...
I think she knows what Jack really said on the phone, and he knows she knows.

I also like the fact that Ianto is developed further, though I'm reserving judgement until I know where this is going.
BTW, did you spot him holding hands with Gwen briefly? Or is that my dirty imagination/expectation from the series...

and finally:

"one monster marching onward implacably and impermeably if a little lopsidedely, and easily dealing with an underprepared, underarmed group of soldiers, recalled various similar sequences from Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who"

...and they *still* haven't learnt not to wast ammunition once it has been shown to be uneffective :-)
[I'm a Pertwee fan, I'm allowed to say that ;-)]

KT

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Devil's Crown

I certainly saw Gwen and Owen holding hands - and there is one section of fandom squeeing 'OT3' at this...

Posted by: Na'Lon (na_lon)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed that episode, too.

I think Beth was supposed not to have been fully activated, because she'd been 'taken off the network'. I don't think that holds muhc water, but was what I understood the rationale to be.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)

I was confused by that, as the other alien features disabled by Tosh turned out to have been false images. But yes, an enjoyable episode though it's perhaps the less frenetic pace makes me less tolerant of the lapses.