"It's like the whole wide world is bigger. My life is bigger." -Gwen CooperI used that quote already in my "Torchwood" column, but Rupesh and Gwen's exchange neatly sums up the awesomeness of "Children of Earth." You can look at the BBC reducing the third season from 13 episodes to 5 as a demotion, or as an opportunity for Russell T. Davies and company to expand the boundaries of what they were doing before -- which is exactly what they've done here.
Some people have compared "Children of Earth" to Davies' annual end-of-season, end-of-the-world extravaganzas on "Doctor Who." While those were never my favorite parts of their respective "Who" seasons, the apocalyptic scope works here because "Torchwood" operates on a more human scale, even though its lead is a time-traveling immortal alien. When all the earth's children stop simultaneously, or when they start broadcasting a warning from The 4-5-6, or when the British government decides it's time to blow up Torchwood, it feels more ominous than if these events were occurring in The Doctor's more whimsical corner of this fictional universe.
The one point I want to dwell on with episode one was how completely suckered in I was by the introduction of Dr. Rupesh Patanjali. I just assumed -- as I was meant to -- that he was the producers means of coping with the unavailability of Freema Agyeman, and that Rupesh would either be a temporary or permanent addition to the team. So I was floored when he turned out to be working in cahoots with the black ops people, and then when he got killed by them to help preserve the story. Well-played, sirs.
Keep in mind, as always, that we're following the American broadcasting schedule of this show, so talk about episode one and only episode one, even if you've already seen the whole series because you live in England or are handy with illegal downloads. Any comment I consider the least bit over the line gets deleted, period.
Considering that, what did everybody else think?