Friday, 16 September 2011

Torchwood 4.10 The Blood Line

Bloody Rubbish

Torchwood - Miracle Day Series 4
Episode 10: The Blood Line
Airdate: 15th September 2011. UK. BBC1

Warning: Bloody spoilers.

To loyal readers of my weekly Series Four reviews who have suffered and despaired and shared in my disappointment at the current incarnation of what was once one of my favourite TV shows, I can say only this... I come to bury Torchwood, not to praise it.

I mean... wow! Any hopes that the last episode would go out with a bang while simultaneously tying up any dangly loose plot ends were slowly shot down as the episode wore on until we were left with a tagged on ending scene which managed to not only insult the viewers intelligence and then do it all over again... but also, it has to be said by the look on Gwen Coopers face in the last shot... seemed to have turned in Carry On Torchwood. Seriously, you just needed Kenneth Williams standing behind John Barrowman and Eva Miles in that last little bit and it would have been just too perfect!

So, to be fair, the episode did pick up the pace a little but everything was so overplayed that it was just unbelievably insulting... the writing was just plain weak. For example, there's a very important cargo on a truck full of soldiers and, just after one of our two lead characters in that section gets on the truck, the other one starts grasping at his injuries and lead character number two gets back off the truck to help him. Woah. Way to telegraph that the truck is just about to go up in an explosion people! I mean, seriously, find a not too discrete way to get the leads to safety and then blow something up. What rot!

And then you have Rex, who has been carrying Jack’s blood in his veins (bit of a give away really about what’s going to happen to him, is it not?) and when he and Jack spray their blood into the earth’s diameter-long vaginal canal that is The Blessing, you pretty much know (since Jack can’t die until the future events witnessed by The Doctor and Martha Jones in an episode of Doctor Who) it’s pretty obvious that they’ll both be returning from the dead soon. Which they do, although Rex then seems to collapse on the floor again in a desperate bid by the writers to attempt to engage the audience one last time.

Not content with not at least giving us the courtesy to assume we know a little about the obvious resurrection abilities of these two characters, the makers of Torchwood: Miracle Day then do a slow reveal in which I think they wanted the viewer to act surprised about when it came to Rex being in the shot. Seriously? And then they go and do it all over again by having Rex gunned down and pronounced dead (even though it’s quite clear that the terrible wounds he’s been carrying around with him all series have healed themselves) and then expect us to accept things as a good ending to have everyone reacting like someone’s just stuck a finger up their collective bottoms when Rex comes back to life again. Seriously Torchwood people? You are really that dumb about this stuff?

Things pretty much went, in this episode, as I expected them to go... as opposed to going as I’d hoped they’d go. In a review for Episode 4 of this series, for example, I said this...

“... does anyone else think Oswald Danes is going to be thoroughly despicable right up until the last five minutes of the final episode... when he suddenly realises what’s at stake and saves the day in some self-sacrificing way? Is that character’s set up really going to be that obvious?”

Well I’m afraid the answer to that one turned out to be yes... yes it is.

And just to completely, “play the game” they also added a scene which can be used to set up a sequel story arc. Seriously people! If, and I sincerely hope it will happen but really don’t think it will after this poor showing but... if... anyone ever decides to put some money up for a fifth series of Torchwood, they surely wouldn’t be so stupid as to write a storyline that’s in any way, shape or form connected with this storyline which, it has to be said, has seemed to have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the older fan base of the show. This is never going to happen people and we’ll never, I strongly suspect, ever hear from “The Families” again.

You know, I’ve been thinking about this dumbed down for the kiddies incarnation of Torchwood for a while now and I’ve come to the conclusion that Russel T. Davies really can’t be held too responsible for this mess. I bet there was a lot of pressure on him to do things a certain way on this and maybe that’s why he’s gone on record that he doesn’t think he’ll do anymore Torchwood after the first episode of this series aired. I bet, after seeing the finished result and seeing just how oafish it’s turned out... he may have found it quite a painful birthing for the fourth child of his Torchwood family. It must be hard to see the projects you are emotionally invested in turn out with less than stellar results. I hope he gets on to something really good again soon because, and I know some folks will disagree with me here, he can be a pretty talented writer and a great producer. So I hope he’s smart enough to just take this stuff in his stride.

And that’s about it. I won’t waste anymore column space on reviewing this terribly disappointing series of Torchwood. I do hope that somehow this lifeless corpse of a TV show will somehow snatch itself back from the jaws of death like one of it’s regular characters but I just can’t see that happening. However, give me a year or two and I will start revisiting and reviewing the first three series for my blog. Hopefully I’ll have something positive to say again about the exploits of Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and the rest of them.

Until then, though, I will use the tag line of another sci-fi genre show to sum up my feelings about the promising collaboration between the BBC, Starz Network and Russel T. Davies and say just this... Trust No One!

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