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arsenal_fan reviews
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March 2007
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arsenal_fan [userpic]
TV Review: Torchwood 1x03

Owen investigates an unsolved crime using a device that can tap into the hidden energy left behind by strong emotions.

I felt that this episode was a strong indicaton of the direction that this series is taking. It had a simple plot (the team find a device which allows them to see events from the past and then from the future) but used the plot to create some good psychological conflicts for the characters to continue the character development that was started in the first two episodes. This episode switched the focus onto Owen as opposed to Gwen and in doing so we learned a bit about him and he learned something about himself in the process. In the first two he was very much a loose cannon and was a bit of a womaniser. In this episode he experienced almost first hand what a 17 year old girl went through while she was abused and eventually raped by man in the 1960s. This bought him down to earth and his storyline he had a much more serious focus which was a good thing for his development.

Gwen had a much lighter storyline (up until the point where they discover the other half of the device) she was more of a background character for much of it as the focus was clearly on Owen. Again through the plot tool of the alien device, some of Gwen's backstory was revealed and it created a clear contrast with how her life with Rhys was before Torchwood and how it is now. They clearly want very much for their relationship to work but with each episode it gets increasingly strained. The ending of the episode also reinforced her strong sense of morality. As with Day One where she blamed herself for what happened to Cerys, in this episode she blamed herself for killing the aged rapist even though it was clearly not her fault. It would be interesting to see how much of a toll this job takes on her conscience.

There was also a little tidbit about Jack's transformation after his regeneration by the TARDIS. Whether he can't sleep because of what he has been through or that the regeneration meant that he no longer needs sleep was not clarified. It seems clear that the writers are going to reveal aspects of Jack's character in small and measured doses and is certainly one of the draws of this show for Doctor Who fans after the way his storyline ended in season 1.

This was a strong character driven episode that gave us some good insight into the character of Owen. I was happy to see him come into the fore and look forward to finding more about the other members of Torchwood in future episodes. This series is building up momentum as it moves from the introduction of the series to the main crux of what it is about.

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

Overall Rating: 8/10

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