Monday, July 20, 2009

Children of Earth: Day One

When I first heard that Torchwood was renewed, but only for five episodes and that these five episodes would be shown one after another for one week to tell one big overaching story, I admit it I was a tad disappointed and a whole lot nervous. How could they possibly satisfy the fans who, like the characters on the show, were mourning the lost of two characters and wondering where the future lies, in just five measly episodes?

Any reservations or questions I had was mostly wiped out after seeing the first episode of "Children of Earth." The first episode promised a thrilling and epic tale full of action, character, wit, and man-on-man action. Basically it's the same old Torchwood we know and love.

The big intrigue is that "something," we don't know what, but we assume it's aliens, are controlling the world's children. As problems go, that's a pretty epic one. It gave me chills seeing every single child frozen in place and then as they started screaming in unison, suddenly you're thinking, like every single adult in the world, MY GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING?! When they stop, you're still shocked, but there's a moment of relief and then... "WE. ARE. COMING." Every child saying it. In repeat. It's what nightmares are made of.

As the episode progresses, there's not a lot of answers as to who could be controlling the children except for the vague "456" and the British government knows more than they are letting on. The episode actually begins with a group of children being driven to and led to a bright white light only to disappear. One child manages to escape and now he's an old man and the sole adult to be controlled by the 456. The mystery deepens.

My favorite part of the episode are the little character details that we find out about Jack, Ianto, and Gwen. Needing children to study, both Jack and Ianto visit their families, who we never knew existed. Ianto visits his sister and her family while Jack visits his daughter (!!!) and her son. My favorite moments are just seeing how being part of Torchwood has affected their respective relationships, with Jack having to stay away from his daughter Alice to protect her and her son and with Ianto keeping secrets from his sister about his job and his personal life. Of course we are shown that there may be hope yet of making Torchwood and your own personal life work with Gwen and her husband Rhys. How adorable was it when we see Rhys shopping around for a new house complete with a nursery?

These parts aren't the most exhilirating and high octane parts of the episode, but they definitely ground the episode that wanted to crank it up to 11 from the first second. And crank it up they do. The government is being all secretive and suddenly they want to track down and kill Captain Jack for a reason we do not find out until the later episodes. And in a matter of minutes we find out that Gwen is pregnant and that Jack has a bomb inside of him. The episode ends with Jack and Torchwood hub exploding with the fates of Jack, Gwen, and Ianto in question.

Oh and the children are all chanting in unison "WE. ARE. COMING. BACK." And if you want to know what happens to the Torchwood team or who the 456 are, then you better come back for more great television.

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