Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Torchwood's first two-parter doesn't come off too well.

As soon as the first episode has them finding bombs displaying helpful countdowns and beeping sound-effects, you get a nasty feeling that the rest of this won't have been thought-through from the individual characters' points-of-view either.

And sure enough, the villain of the piece – Jack's long lost brother Gray – spends much of the story operating through a stooge, although as soon as this is revealed, he does everything else himself. In other words, maybe I'm wrong but he didn't seem to have any reason to use a stooge.

Lying amidst the bombs' wreckage, we get flashbacks to the individual team-members' back-stories from prior to the very first episode. This is common practice in shows that are either very good, or the opposite. Average shows never do this.

However, after all the hard work in Utopia to sort out Jack's three contradictory origins, here they actually go and give him a fourth one. In this version he joined Torchwood in the nineteenth century, despite having later been serving in the army in 1909. (in Small Worlds)

Once the new origins are out of the way though, it's back to the present, where there's more time-travel to come. (I knew sorting out the tenses in that sentence would be difficult) Defeated in the present, Jack gets transported back to 27AD, where he's buried alive. Jack then spends 1900 years buried underground, repeatedly dying and coming back to life many millions of times over, and suffering no psychological effects from this at all. Except for, apparently, failing to think of slowly digging himself out.

Catching-up with the present-day, Jack mercy-kills his brother, although later he seems to be hoping to revive him.

No-one seems quite sure how to handle Owen's death, since he's already dead, so we don't get to see it.

On the plus side, the image of Jack, Gwen and Ianto alone in the Hub at the end really conveyed a sense of loss. I thought there were more of them left alive at the end than that.

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