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March 2007
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arsenal_fan [userpic]
TV Review: Torchwood 1x02

Gwen's first day on the job sees Cardiff's nightlife at the mercy of a sexually-driven alien whose final victim will be its host, unless Torchwood can find her first.

I felt that much of the point of this episode was to drive home that the themes and context of this show are aimed at a much more mature audience then that of Doctor Who. The story was basically all about sex and being addicted to sex - a story which could never be aired in the Saturday evening slot that Doctor Who enjoys. Having said that the story did also delve quite successfully into the psychology of Gwen's colleagues at Torchwood and how her own life is now changing significantly after what has happened to her.

This second episode reinforced the observation I made after the first that Gwen's character is very much being structured as the moral voice of the organisation. She became guilty when she realised they were having fun while an innocent girl was possibly dying because of something Gwen had done. This situation set up an interesting dilemma for Gwen and led to an interesting conflict between her and Jack because of the way that he didn't seem to care about helping Cerys, only about stopping her.

The discussion between Gwen and her colleagues about their lives outside of work or rather the distinct lack of them was also interesting. While Gwen was surprised that they were so cynical about having a partner, by the end of the episode, the audience can see a significant amount of tension between Gwen and her boyfriend Rhys as she is starting to realise that working for Torchwood may take more out of her then she first thought. She also found a certain amount of ambiguity between her and her former colleagues who see her as now having an air of superiority over them which is met with resentment and a certain amount of hostility.

This episode also gave an insight into Jack's relationship with the rest of Torchwood. Gwen was surprised to find her colleagues asking her for insight into who Jack is. It is clear from this that they have never seen him open up as much before. So although we have not learnt much about him it seems inevitible that Gwen's character is going to be the vehicle for that to be revealed to the audience.

The foreshadowing in this episode was also impressive. In particular the use of the personal shield as the solution to the problem posed by the 'alien of the week'. It seemed obvious that once the alien had left Cerys that the shield (that was introduced earlier in the episode) would be used to stop it taking Gwen as a new host. Additionally the inclusion of the Weevil from Everything's Changing seems to support my theory that they are going to have a prolonged role in this series, possibly with the bad thing that's coming.
One plot point which didn't seem to fit however, is Jack's obsession with the severed hand. Whether or not the audience is supposed to be as confused as Gwen (as to why he put the hand ahead of stopping Cerys) is unclear.

I think this was a good second episode to build upon the first. There were some aspects of the story that could have been stronger but overall I'm pleased with the direction that this series is heading in.

Acting: 2/2
Writing: 1/2
Directing: 2/2
Technique: 2/4

Overall Rating: 7/10

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