Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is Torchwood Back on Track?

By itself, "Immortal Sins" as an episode really wasn't anything super exciting. About 75% of it consisted of a flashback to the late 1920s introducing us to yet another new character while the rest of the episode was essentially two characters just talking to each in a car. But in the context if this troubled season, it felt like a breath of fresh air.

For one, the flashback story felt like a Torchwood story of old. Captain Jack finds himself in New York City, becoming a bootlegger, and hunting down some alien parasite. He encounters a young man from Italy who wants a fresh start. Since this is Torchwood, they end up in bed and unlike the gay sex from earlier in the season, this didn't feel gratuitous. I also love the chemistry between Jack and Angelo, whose character is well-written and acted. So of course things take a tragic turn when they end up separated, Jack "dying" and Angelo being sent to prison. When they reunite a year later, Angelo is admittedly confused and dismayed to find Jack alive after witnessing Jack's death with his own eyes. Angelo's then shocking decision to stab and then hand him over to a crazy blood-lust mob was absolutely chilling in the way "Children of Earth" achieved and the way the writers have been trying to do this season. Somehow this development felt a bit more organic and earned unlike say building mini-concentration camps and burning people alive. Just saying.

The rest of the episode took place in the present day with Gwen kidnapping Jack to appease the people who had taken her family hostage. The whole hostage situation is a bit forced, I admit, but I'll handwave this because it really gave us some wonderful scenes with Barrowman and Myles. Gwen telling Jack that she would see him "killed like a dog in front of her" if it meant she would have her daughter back and Jack countering with "ripping her skin from her skull" before he lets her take his precious mortality away from him were just chilling. Of course all of this is for naught since Esther/Rex/Andy somehow rescue Jack, Gwen, and her family by themselves. Everything seems peachy now, up until the end of the episode when Jack finally hears who wants to see him: Angelo.

No creepy Oswald, enigmatic Jilly, shady government workers, Rex being mean, Esther crying, Category 1s, camps, etc. We even got not one, but two direct mentions of the Doctor, which made me squeal louder than I expected. We also saw some small hints on the bigger picture of "Miracle Day" such as the three guys that now "own" Jack who shook hands by making a triangle symbol. Or how about when Angelo tells Jack that some people thought of him as a "blessing" instead of a devil. Triangle symbol, the Blessing, a 100+ year old Angelo still alive somewhere... it's all coming together. Let's hope it really does with these last three episodes!

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