fairyd123: (Cartoon Jack)
[personal profile] fairyd123
Lengthy synopsis and review of the episode under the cut:



Synopsis

We start off in Scotland in 1965. A bus load of scared looking children is being driven along what looks like a country lane. The children get out and start walking towards a brilliant white light in the sky...

Cut to the present day. Gwen is getting some money out of a cashpoint. Behind her in the street a little boy just stops dead on the street. We then see a montage of everyone going about their daily business surrounded by children who have just...stopped. Mr Frobisher (Peter Capaldi) is getting ready for work and his two young girls sit at the breakfast table staring into space. We see Rhys in his Harwoods lorry unable to continue because a load of children have just stopped in the middle of the road in front of him.

Then as suddenly as it started its over and the children all return to normal.

Cut to Jack and Ianto who are in hospital speaking to a Dr Rupesh. In a cute and humourous scene they pretend to be grief stricken over the death of their neighbour. Dr Rupesh assumes that Jack and Ianto are a couple and agrees that they can see their dead friend and after some encouragement from Jack leaves them alone with the body. Once alone Jack uses a scalpel on the body removing some sort of alien parasite - a "hitchhiker". A nervous Ianto points out awkwardly that Dr Rupesh thought they were a couple. A bemused Jack points out that they are. Rupesh returns just in time to see Jack removing the hitchhiker from the dead man's body. Ianto points out to the astounded doctor that the creature didn't kill the man - it was just along for the ride.

As they try and leave with the creature Rupesh follows them to the SUV. He asks them if they're Torchwood. Jack denies all knowledge and Rupesh counters "everyone knows about you" - Jack and Ianto look at each other and roll their eyes. Rupesh tells them that bodies are going missing from the morgue. 5 or 6 bodies over the past 2 months - all of ethnic descent. Jack ponders the situation for a moment and looks at Ianto who dismisses it with one word " NHS". Jack concurs that it would be too much red tape and they drive off leaving Rupesh standing there.

At work Mr Frobisher has a meeting with a general. He points out that there is something wrong with the children. Frobisher has a new office assistant that day - Lois Habiba- she's there to help with the new computer systems. Frobisher's secretary gives her her password and security details so Lois can get into the computer system.

Back at the Hub Gwen comes into work - she touches and says hello to a picture of Owen and Tosh as she passes. Jack and Ianto arrive and Gwen jokes around with Jack and Ianto. Ianto points out that even Gwen is calling them a couple now. An exasperated Jack asks Ianto what his problem is before concurring that he hates the word "couple". Ianto agrees. Gwen tells them about the strange incident she spotted that morning with the child who just stopped.

The action then cuts between Frobisher and Torchwood as we see them putting it together. At 8:40 that morning every single child in the world just stopped.

Dr Rupesh then appears on the Hub's monitors. He's standing around on the Plass, a file in hand. Jack isn't surprised to see him (he and Ianto had had a bet that he would come to find them) but is baffled as to how he knew where to go. Ianto points out that if you ask about Torchwood people generally point you in the area of the Bay. Gwen dubs the boys as mean for just standing and watching poor Rupesh floundering around outside and declares herself Torchwood's new recruitment officer.

She meets with Rupesh and they talk about the children and Rupesh's missing bodies. As they're sat there Gwen realises that it's happening again. All of the children have just stopped. Gwen screams for Jack and Ianto who appear on the Plass. Ianto starts videoing the children. We see children everywhere just stopped. They then open their mouths and as one let out a high pitched inhuman scream.

Then they start chanting "We are...we are....we are coming."

Then again as quickly as it started it stops and the children are back to normal and irritated that Ianto is filming them.

The Torchwood team ditch Rupesh and go back to the Hub where they realise the same thing happened all over the world and that all the children spoke "We are coming" in English - despite the fact that the most widely spoken language for an alien looking at the planet from the outside would be Manadarin.

Gwen finds endless amounts of footage of the children chanting and one piece of footage of a grown man - Timothy White who is in a mental institution. Its agreed that Gwen will go and speak to him.

Frobisher gets a visit from an elderly (creepy) gentleman (Decker?) - he takes Frobisher to a quiet disused looking room in the basement where old computer equipment is lying around. Decker tells Frobisher that "the 456 band" has become active and that a brief pulse of sound was sent to them and that their programmes are in the process of translating it. Frobisher asks Decker whether he has children. He smiles and says that work got in the way before ominously saying that maybe that was "a blessing."

Gwen is driving to see Timothy White. Rhys phones her. He's looking at houses to buy but the estate agent hasn't shown up. He's excited at the prospect of them having their own house - and that one room can be the nursery. Gwen is amused at his excitement but dismisses his idea of having kids. Rhys points out that the two incidents with the children seemed to be timed in such a way for maximum visibility - 8:40 when the children were on their way to school and again at the children's break time. Rhys points out that it's almost as if the aliens are working on UK time...

Jack and Ianto sit on the steps of the Plass pondering the morning's events. Jack decides that they need a child to run tests on. He tells Ianto he'll be back in a while. Ianto asks him where he's going. "Now who's a couple?" jack replies.

Jack knocks on the door of a house and is greeted enthusiastically as "Uncle Jack" by the young boy who excitedly tells him "that he was talking like an alien, everyone was." It turns out that the house belongs to Jack's daughter and the young boy is Jack's grandson. Lucy calls Jack "dad' but things are clearly strained between them. She doesn't want Jack around and hates the fact that he doesn't age and that she looks older than him. Jack points out that he would come around every week, hell every day if she'd let him and suggests that he could spend some time with the little one today. She sees straight through that, calls Jack a bastard and kicks him out.
Jack leaves and being Jack calls Rupesh and asks whether he has a children's ward at the hospital.

Ianto goes around to his sister's. He gives her two children a tenner each (they barely glance at him) and he suggests that maybe he could take his niece out for Mcdonalds. His sister isn't impressed at the idea of Macdonald's as a belated birthday treat and says she doesn't want the kids out of her sight after that morning. And besides she has something she wants to talk about with Ianto. Apparently Ianto "has been seen" having dinner...with a bloke. His sister points out that the other guy looked "like a movie star, like an escort". His sister asks "You haven't gone bender have you?"

A very embarrassed Ianto flounders a lot while his bewildered sister patiently listens eventually admitting in very very few words that he is seeing Jack, that he doesn't like all men - just Jack, and that he doesn't quite know what it is so he doesn't want to broadcast it. His sister agrees to keep quiet.

Her husband then comes in greeting Ianto loudly and jovially with "Alright gay boy?" He suggests that Ianto not leave the SUV outside as the estate isn't a safe place for cars. Ianto says its fine because its triple deadlocked. Cue sound of the SUV being nicked. Ianto races outside where his brother in law hurls bricks at the car as the kids who nicked it come around again for "a lap of honour".

Gwen meets with Timothy White at the hospital. He was found sleeping rough at the age of 11 and has been hospitalised ever since. He's nervous and twitchy and it takes her a long time to coax anything out of him. He'll only speak to Gwen once she's used a gizmo to shut down the security camera. Gwen tells him that she knows about aliens and he asks for her hand. He sniffs her hand and tells her that she knows she's speaking the truth. He says his real name is Clem Macdonald and that the aliens have been before and that they've found him. Clem then tells her that she's pregnant. 8 weeks. The nurse, alerted by the dead cameras, appears while Gwen looks shell shocked.

Frobisher meets with the Prime Minister to discuss the situation. It is suggested that "a blank page" is needed. The Prime Minister wants nothing to do with the situation and leaves it all up to Frobisher. A sickened and weary Frobisher returns to his office and hands his secretary a file. She opens it to see a blank piece of paper inside. Looking resolute she returns to her desk and sends an e-mail. Lois curious as to what is going on uses the security clearance details she was given to get into the system and check the sent items.

The last e-mail sent was a kill order. Captain Jack Harkness (active) - is listed several names down.

Jack is at the hospital with Rupesh. Rupesh takes him to the morgue to the body of a Chinese man who had died mysteriously that morning. Jack points out that the body hasn't vanished. Before he can turn to talk to Rupesh he pulls a gun and shoots Jack in the back killing him. Liza May Brice clad in sexy black assassins attire appears alongside an entire sqaud of soldiers. Rupesh asks why the plane changed - he had thought that they wanted him inside Torchwood as a mole. He's angry that all of his work has gone for nothing. She asks Rupesh who killed the Chinese man and he admits that he did. The soldiers pick up Jack's body and puts him on a gurney. Rupesh wonders whether what they say about Jack is true. Jack answers their question by reviving from the dead at which point Liza May Brice's character shoots him dead again.

She admits that they don't know how Jack revives but believe that its linked to the Hub and the rift which runs through it which is why it needs to be eliminated. Taking a laser scalpel one of the soldiers cuts open Jack and puts something inside him. Rupesh asks whats going to happen now - how are they going to get him out? When he realises that they're not there to get him out he starts to run - and is shot in the back.

Jack revives next to Rupesh's dead body and races back to the Hub.

At the Hub Ianto asks what happened and whether Jack died. Jack confirms he did and Ianto gives him a huge hug. Ianto is excited that he has found Clem Macdonald and the "Holly Tree" that he mentioned which used to be a lodge for young children. Gwen is distracted however by Clem's revelation and scans herself with some alien tech revealing that she is pregnant. Jack walks in on her scanning herself and he chats to a shcoked Gwen about whether its a good thing or not before Gwen agrees that it's "bloody brilliant". Jack hollers "Ianto we're having a baby" - a pleased Ianto decides that would be an opportune time to tell Jack that the SUV got nicked.

Jack puts his hand over Gwen's on the scanner and the tech scans him too. Alarms start to scream as the tech picks up the bomb inside him. Meanwhile around the world the children have started chanting again.

Gwen won't leave and has to be physically dragged by Jack nearer to the exit. She refuses to leave him until he screams that she's pregnant and has to go. She stops, realises she can't risk her unborn child and very reluctantly leaves. Ianto starts putting the Hub into lockdown and also won't leave. A furious Jack practically throws him onto the invisible lift. Ianto fears that Jack won't come back from an explosion. Jack kisses him passionately and tells him that he always comes back.

Frobisher is on his knees in his living room in front of his children screaming at them to stop.

A tearful Ianto waves at Jack from the invisible lift as it descends upwards.

The children continue to chant "We are...we are...we are coming back."

The Hub explodes in a ball of flame knocking an escaping Gwen to the ground.

End of Day one.





After 18 months of absence from our screens there was absolutely no way that Children of Earth- Day One could possibly live up to expectations. How could it? But there was always this rather horrible fear - what if it was really dreadful? What if after all that insanely long wait (I mean we're still what more than a month away from the air date and they still won't bloody announce it because they seem terrified that ITV will counter program against it) the end result was, god forbid, really not worth the wait?

Thank god then that Children of Earth- Day One is a fast paced, glossy, amusing and engrossing ride and a truly excellent re-launch to the show.

I thought the first episode managed the difficult task of pleasing those who have been watching the series since the beginning whilst being accessible enough that anyone new watching could instantly pick up on what was going on, back story be damned.

The episode looked great. Parts of series 2 looked as cheap as chips and were a little disheartening as a result but Children of Earth: Day One looked every bit as glossy and slick as its much more expensive American counterparts.

The pace was suitably fast and there was plenty of humour with some quite brilliant RTD one liners.

Whilst I may like my sci-fi its the characters I tune in for and I was delighted with the characterisation of Jack, Ianto and Gwen. The team dynamic was lovely. They come across very strongly as a cohesive unit who have bonded and are used to working together. The days of the scrappy, stroppy team we saw in series one are long gone. This is a team that enjoys working together and the banter between them was great (Jack saying that he needed something looking up and Gwen telling him there was a computer over there and he could look it up himself!).

The Jack and Ianto relationship was very sweetly portrayed. I wasn't at all sure whether they would simply sweep this under the carpet and then all the promo pictures of them started appearing posing together as a couple (generally when that happens the relationship tends not to be long for this world though...) It's clear that Ianto is a bit bewildered to have found himself one half of a male/male couple and doesn't quite know what to think about that or Jack. He's nervous and awkward about himself and his sexuality even though everyone around him are completely fine with him being with Jack. Most importantly Jack himself is clearly comfortable that he and Ianto are in a relationship and seems bewildered by Ianto's anxiety over it. There's no crowbarred in Gwack in this episode. No awkward expository scenes of Jack confessing his innermost thoughts to Gwen for no real reason. All the scenes between Jack, Ianto and Gwen show a lovely camaraderie between them but the relationship lines are clear - Jack is with Ianto and Gwen is in love with Rhys and they're having a baby.

Family is clearly going to be a big theme in Children of Earth. The scene between Jack and his daughter was interesting but didn't quite work. It felt quite strained. It will be interesting to re-visit it after the whole thing has aired. I'm not in love with the idea of the daughter appearing out of thin air. Acting wise she didn't entirely sell it to me and just came across as cold although I thought John Barrowman did a lovely job of portraying a gentler, walking on eggshells Jack trying desperately to maintain some sort of connection with her and deeply pained by the fact that he is estranged from his daughter and grandson.It was a really lovely nuanced performance from him. I can totally buy Jack being hard hearted enough to try and borrow his grandchild for a bit of (presumably safe) experimentation - he is still a soldier and leader first and foremost.

Best scene by a mile for me was the sequence of Ianto and his sister and her brood. Brilliant, brilliant lines and it just felt so real and so authentic and had a flow that the Jack/Lucy scene lacked. Loved the kids snatching the tenners out of Uncle Ianto's hand and barely looking at him and Ianto struggling desperately over his words as he tries to explain to his sister what Jack means to him. The two actors had really lovely chemistry and Gareth's performance was very sweet. The comic timing of the brother in law was also impressive.

And finally, finally we got the Gwen Cooper that we were promised way back in Everything Changes. I loved Gwen in this episode. Strong, intelligent, feisty, capable and very funny. Its like they finally allowed Eve Myles to actually showcase her personality for a change. Gwen was great in this - whether bantering with the boys or Rhys (she and Kai Owen have such sparkling chemistry), trying to calm a desperate mother or trying to coax the info out of Clem she was every inch the strong female lead that the show needs. I hope to god the writing for her character remains this consistently strong throughout the rest of the series.

And they managed to surprise me. I hadn't guessed that Rupesh was the bad guy or that he'd be eliminated from the story quite so quickly. He's Children of Earth's Suzie Costello. I had assumed that he had a major role in the show and that he'd be around for a while so when he shot Jack in the back it was a real surprise.

And it's always such a joy to see Peter Capaldi on screen and I thought he did a fabulous job as Frobisher - a civil servant whose good day deteriorates rather rapidly into assassination and alien invasion.

It's not perfect - the whole "chanting children" thing is quite horribly deriative and reminds me strongly of the Midwich Cuckoos and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the inhuman scream). Parts are just odd - why are Jack and Ianto happy to leave the hospital with Rupesh having seen the alien hitchhiker? Are they that blaze about their security? Previously anyone who saw anything alien got retconned as we saw from Owen's backstory in Fragments.

Are you telling me that super efficient archives dwelling Ianto hasn't discovered Jack's daughter yet? All that money he's giving her would leave a trail.

And whilst necessary for expository purposes the secretary just giving the new girl the security clearance details so she could see the kill order was just plain silly.

But niggles aside it was a hugely satisfying relaunch to the series and I can't believe I have to wait well over a month to see the next part!



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