Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Torchwood Children of Earth, part 2: Three fugitives

Once again, I don't have time to give each episode of "Torchwood: Children of Earth" the proper review it deserves, so I'm going to offer up a few quick thoughts after the jump and then open it up to you. Spoilers for episode two coming up just as soon as I hide in a potato truck...
"If I can't kill you, I can contain you." -Johnson
With Captain Jack dead and/or regenerating and/or encased in concrete for most of this episode, night two of "Children of Earth" falls on Ianto, and, especially, Gwen, to show they can be just as cool and swashbuckling as the guy in the retro RAF duds. Though the circumstances Torchwood finds itself in are grim, and though the world itself seems to be in a lot of trouble from the poison-breathing members of The 4-5-6, it's fun to see Gwen so convincingly kick butt for much of the hour, to see Ianto ride to Gwen and Rhys' rescue on heavy machinery, even to see Ianto's obnoxious brother-in-law turn out to be an okay sort in the end as he provided cover with the black ops surveillance crew.

But part two also provides some smaller moments, like Gwen telling an overjoyed Rhys about her pregnancy, or Gwen again trying to play Torchwood recruiting officer with Lois Habiba. (Given what happened with the doctor in part one, maybe they're better off sticking with known quantities for a while. Stupid Martha Jones vacation, razza frazza...)

Keep in mind, as always, that we're following the American broadcasting schedule of this show, so talk about the first two episodes and only the first two, 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?

21 comments:

Ruth said...

Loved it. I would've loved it even more if Martha Jones could've made an appearance in this miniseries...that would've been the icing on the cake!

Jackie said...

You know, they never did say what happened to Myfanwy, Torchwood Three's resident pterodactyl. What happened!? These are the enduring questions.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I stuck with it. I wasn't convinced with the first episode, but "Day Two" did it for me. Definitely looking forward to the next episode.

Anonymous said...

I did like it, but wasn't as blown away as I was by the first ep. It was a very much a "get the pieces in place" episode, requiring lots of driving, exposition, capture/escape stuff. Much like a classic mid-part episode in an old Doctor Who serial, in a way.

Still, this is fun. I've come to like Ianto, who I considered pretty much a dud in the first seasons of "Torchwood."

Nicole said...

I like that it's two episodes into a five episode series and we still haven't seen what the 456 look like. I also am interested in this Frobisher guy, even though he is just the ordinary bureaucrat that is in charge of this alien encounter.

Norm N. Conquest said...

Gee, that fifty cubic yards of quite watery cement set up solid awfully fast, didn't it? I can't get a quart of Jell-O to solidify that fast. And Ianto calculated the placement of that forklift blade through a blank wall quite precisely, no?

Rhys wins the night with "Well, let me carry the bag. You want your trigger finger free, don't you?"

I do want Ms. Johnson to have a dance-off with Jack Bauer someday. "I will tell you this: If I can't kill you, I can contain you."

Karen said...

About that bag: I also liked Gwen's comment, as Rhys realized he'd let her do so much heavy lifting in her "condition,": "You did carry my bag."

I rather love their relationship.

I also kind of love all the unabashedly hefty Welshmen who marry all these hot women.

I'm not sure I get how Ianto found the base AND got the heavy equipment there in time, but it was a dashing rescue. Also not sure how the door to Jack's cell opened with ease after filling up with quick-dry concrete.

But these are quibbles. It was exciting, creepy, and thrilling. Lois Habiba is awesome, and I liked Gwen's recognition of same.

I'm on tenterhooks for tomorrow!!

pgillan said...

I'm enjoying it as well. The five night, go-for-broke pacing is really working. Someone else mentioned that this was a "get the pieces in place" episode, but it didn't feel like that.

On another note: is it just me, or does the mad-scientist guy look uncannily like John Spencer?

jim treacher said...

Gee, that fifty cubic yards of quite watery cement set up solid awfully fast, didn't it? I can't get a quart of Jell-O to solidify that fast. And Ianto calculated the placement of that forklift blade through a blank wall quite precisely, no?

Also, a guy regenerated his entire body from a head and part of an arm. Where did the extra mass come from?

P.S. Total John Spencer.

Anonymous said...

Also, a guy regenerated his entire body from a head and part of an arm. Where did the extra mass come from?

Residual Bad Wolf? But seriously - his effective immortality is the product of the Time Vortex; does it really need to obey conservation laws?

Anonymous said...

I stopped watching Torchwood a while back because it just seemed silly. It was, or had become, a creature of the week series featuring a cadre of secret agency types with no sense of professionalism whatsoever. Anything went, and there were no consequences to the unprofessionalism or fraternizing or what have you.

That said, these last two nights have been quite good. Gone is the silliness. It seems far more adult than anything that came before.

JD said...

I'm quite happy with last night's ep. A really good episode of Torchwood would usually be followed immediately by a terrible one in the next week, so this miniseries/season3 is doing quite well for itself with back to back riveting episodes.

Shara Says said...

I am really loving Children of Earth. I never watched Torchwood or Dr. Who before this - although now I am determined to get caught up ASAP. I thought this episode was excellent. It went by really quickly, and was full of awesome moments - Gwen and Rhys frantically arguing over finding the keys, Rhys asking to carry the bag so she could have her trigger finger free, Ianto's brother-in-law rounding up the gang of kids for his epic diversion, Gwen telling Rhys that she was pregnant, the AWESOME scene of the body bag expanding (it was a bag of bits!), Lois Habiba with her supercool plans and intelligence-gathering (I'm a PA, its my job), and another great, quiet scene with Ianto and his sister. The escape at the end was brilliant, me and my husband and my mom were all cheering at the tv when Ianto busted in. Woo hoo!!! I am so looking forward to tonite. This one-episode-a-night-thing is a real treat.

word verification: forpre

Karen said...

Yeah, Dekker's been generating major John Spencer vibes for me, too!

I agree with @pgillan: this one-night-after-another pacing feels crucial.

Can't wait for tonight!

mizenkay said...

I'm a Torchwood newbie too, having never seen the previous series. I set up the DVR to record the thing, thinking I'd get around to it in a marathon kinda way. Then last night I was bored to tears watching Warehouse 13 so I started watching the first two. OMG. It's brilliant, I'm loving it.

Just the right amount of drama/action/witty and scary impending doom from evil alien overlords - paced just right. Even the obvioulsy enormous amount of botox in Cap'n Jack's forehead didn't distract me.

And the fact that it is a mini-series is really a plus. Why is it that this type of stuff - genre/sci fi, just lends itself to a great story, told over 6ish hours? It makes it so much more compelling.

Agent Johnson seriously creeps me out. She had the line of the night as others have already noted.

Norm N. Conquest said...

I don't think I've heard anyone mention 1964's "Children of the Damned" as one huge inspiration for this. There's nothing creepier than zombie kids, whether they be victims or villains.

And the Brits have always had this way of getting the maximum scariness by showing the minimum. As someone pointed out yesterday, we haven't even SEEN the aliens yet, much less been given a clue as to what they're after.

Miranda said...

Yes! When the scientist guy came in, I totally thought "OMG, it's John Spencer," and then of course my next thought was "... back from the dead ... guess not."

7s Tim said...

Does anyone else feel like they are watching a show about weird versions of Chris Noth, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and a sort of neice of Isabella Rossellini (ok a stretch, but I didn't want to leave her out)? And aside from the Children of the Damned influence as previously mentioned, I also get a weird vibe like they read the Shiftships arc in the comic book The Authority, dealing with the whole Sliding Albion mess. Or maybe I'm just off on a tangent.

I should just enjoy it for itself, and ignore any influences, shouldn't I? I can do that easily as long as they kee it fast paced like this episode.

Larry said...

According to an interview with Davies on aintitcool, the pterodactyl bit it in the explosion. Would have been nice to see a crispy wing or something in the debris. Of course it can always come back down the road without proof.

MyFawny said...

I wish they hadn't referenced Martha Jones. Does she not still have a phone to call the Doctor? I can't imagine someone who walked the entire globe to save the Doctor, who worked for Unit and has helped save the world on both TW & DW would not take some sort of action against the 456. We can forget she's not there, but by referencing her in a throw away line, I am left where is she and why isn't she doing anything because it seems out of character for her to just sit by and do nothing.

Craig Ranapia said...

MyFawny:

I get where you're coming from -- but I think it's very much a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. Even in the age of Twitter and sat phones, it is possible to be out of reach. And as soon as Jack realised he and the rest of Torchwood were marked for death, why he put her at risk if it wasn't absolutely necessary?