Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It's another story about a time-rift connecting the present with twentieth-century war-time. (the third or fourth now) Clearly the writers have an interest in those periods of history, and kudos to them for that.

In 1918, some Torchwood operatives literally forsee the future, and observe that a young shell-shocked soldier from their present – Tommy – will be needed to save the world. So they kidnap Tommy from the hospital he's a patient at and cryogenically freeze him. Unfortunately they don't know at what point in the future he will be needed, so ever since, Torchwood have been thawing-out Tommy for just one day a year, just in case. The result of this is that Tommy, from his perspective, has superficially observed most of the twentieth century passing within the last three months of his life.

This is a fantastic hook, and it's one that really required more exploration than the episode gave it. The scene in which Tommy, still recovering from WW1, sees a report about Iraq on the news, really brings home the ultimate futility of all wars.

Unfortunately he has a whole love thing going on with Tosh as well, which serves to cramp the idea rather. He doesn't ask where Suzie is.

As time from 1918 starts spilling over into the present, there are some truly haunting scenes at the present-day hospital from which he was taken last century, made all the more chilling by the fact it's deserted due to being knocked-down. Gwen's early scene, in which she's advanced upon by a silent one-legged man, is scary enough, but that's later trumped by the one in which a nurse slowly approaches her and commands her to leave. (Gwen's a ghost to her) The ghosts are played very well, especially the actors' ability to convey their inability to clearly see Gwen, which punches the weird-factor up considerably.

The end of the episode sees young Tommy return to 1918 unaware that he's going to forget everything and then die.

Then, in a completely unforeshadowed plot-development, Tosh uses a device at Torchwood to mentally contact him across time and give him further instructions. Dang, should have seen that coming. No really, we should have.

As time-slip tales go, this one was pretty good.

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