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Torchwood 2.10: From Out of the Rain

March 12th, 2008 (11:37 pm)
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Bed looms, so this review is brief...

It's clear by now that Torchwood doesn't have a Russell T Davies figure to give the scripts a once-over and make sure they speak with the same voice. Torchwood season two is very episodic. Different episodes have different ideas about the way the characters work and where their relationships stand. So, we start with Jack and Tosh on their own in the Hub realising that their romantic interests (of various and varying intensities) have gone off to the cinema, but this aspect isn't dwelt upon or mentioned at all. The episode throughout relies on the proximity of the characters and the performances of John Barrowman and Gareth David Lloyd to represent that Jack/Ianto is ongoing, apart from a throwaway line from Gwen. There's no mention of Gwen's marriage, which is jarring considering the episode was shown immediately before it, or last week, depending on where one stands. Owen's mortified state is again treated as a device to temporarily wrongfoot the villain.

However, it's good to see an old-fashioned plot-led episode, from a writer who hit his stride in the 1970s contributing to police series like Z Cars and magical children's series like Ace of Wands, and then of course created Sapphire and Steel. As with his contribution to the 2006 series, Peter J. Hammond emphasises the magic and doesn't bother with pseudoscience. The enemy is folkloric, and is defeated by intuition as well as by observation. What were the Night Travellers made of, though, before they were captured on film? Another motif Hammond likes is the abduction of a child by the faerie kingdom, which happens here in the pre-credits sequence. Later on, a family is abducted by the Night Travellers (who may themselves represent classical elements, though this isn't developed) who embody a lost strand of family entertainment, after all. The Night Travellers' leader, the Ghostmaker, is played by Julian Bleach with powerful, controlled, sustained mania - if rumours are true, it was a successful audition piece for another role, but let's not go there now.

Comments

Posted by: Susan (lil_shepherd)
Posted at: March 13th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)

So you didn't think it was just Something Wicked This Way Comes with the numbers slightly touched with a nail file, which the other review I read this morning suggested?

(Not watching any more - just fascinated by wildly different views from decent reviewers.)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 13th, 2008 09:15 am (UTC)
Torchwood

I don't know Something Wicked This Way Comes, so I wouldn't make the connection...

...but looking at the detailed synopsis on Wikipedia, no, I wouldn't.

Edited at 2008-03-13 09:18 am (UTC)

Posted by: gervase_fen (gervase_fen)
Posted at: March 13th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
bbc1

Mister Bleach's vocal as the Ghostmaker even sounded a bit like... well, anyway, that's for another post in a few months' time. I was surprised the episode didn't do a bit more with Jack-in-the-film ; I was half expecting him to come out of the screen to help out the gang in the finale. This is one of the few episodes of "Torchwood" that I can imagine being retooled as a two part Sarah Jane Adventure - and perhaps suiting that series better.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 13th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)

On the strength of Something Borrowed, I'd be happy for Phil Ford to be head writer for both series, but doubt he would have the time.