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[personal profile] fairyd123


So after a quite ridiculous 18 month wait and over 3 weeks since I saw the preview screening of the 1st episode Torchwood is finally, finally on our tv screens. I'll be honest just seeing the names John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David Lloyd and Kai Owen flash up on my tv screen made me grin from ear to ear.

My lengthy synopsis and review from the preview screening is here in case anyone wants to read it.

I was intrigued to see how well it would hold up to a second viewing. Sometimes when you're as canon deprived us as poor Torchwood fans have been been and even though I have never mindlessly squeed over anything in my life it is easy when you're in the company of like minded fans and seeing something for the very first time to let your excitement and joy at seeing a new episode blind you slightly to its flaws.

So I was pretty pleased to say that I thought it stood up to a second viewing incredibly well and is as good as I remembered it. Fast paced, glossy, well acted, witty, suspenseful - it was prime time drama at its best.

I love, love how well the central trio was written for once and Gareth, John and Eve all played their parts wonderfully. I simply adore Gwen in this. It's so nice to finally be able to root for Gwen - it always made me a bit sad that the only two female characters on the show were frequently written as besotted, socially inept and very wet (Tosh) and self righteous, falsely sincere, smug and grating as hell (Gwen). But in Day One Gwen is fabulous whether she's refusing to let Dr Rupesh wander around the Bay like a lost lamb, bantering with her wonderful boyfriend (seriously Rhys has rapidly become the best tv boyfriend ever - cute, clever, capable - Gwen is a lucky, lucky girl), carefully gaining Clem Macdonalds's trust in the nursing home or coping with the revelation that she's pregnant. That moment where it sinks in that she's having a baby and she says "That's bloody brilliant" is just a beautiful piece of acting from Eve - really wonderful stuff.

Gareth was equally wonderful displaying killer comic timing in the opening sequence in the hospital, displaying wounded vulnerability (and a whole heap of insecurity) in his interactions with Jack and his scene with his sister is still my favourite in the episode. It's just such a brilliant scene - he's so disarmingly awkward and nervous in the scene and yet you get such a strong sense that they are siblings even though this is a sister who has just basically been magicked out of thin air for the purposes of this mini series. Poor Ianto he's so desperate for Jack to put a label on their relationship - to define what Ianto means to him that Ianto looks completely crushed when Jack refuses to play ball and says that he hates the word couple. And with his sister he can't begin to describe what Jack is to him because, well, he doesn't understand it himself. And he looks so relieved when her only and immediate response to him shyly admitting that Jack is handsome is to reassure herself that Jack is nice to her brother. It's a really lovely scene.

John gets a lot of stick for his acting and admittedly he has had more than his share of ropey moments but he equally gets a chance to shine be it bantering with Ianto at the hospital, the lovely moment with Gwen when she finds out she's pregnant or his scene with his daughter where he manages to be both wounded estranged parent, proud grandfather and callous bastard looking for a child to experiment on all at the same time.

In fact watching it again with one notable exception I was hugely impressed with the acting calibre of all the guest actors.

I do think it was a real shame that Rupesh was Children of Earth's Suzie Costello because he was an engaging, interesting character. He had great chemistry with Eve Myles and looked like he would have suitably spikey chemistry with John and Gareth. And his delivery of that beautiful but tragic little speech about how the reality of there being aliens is affecting people was great. Sad to see him gone so soon.

Loved Cush Jumbo's awkward turn as Lois - the bumbling awkward way she introduces herself in the meeting completely oblivious to the importance of what's being discussed and that the two men are just desperate for her to sod off and leave them to it was very endearing. I do wish RTD had found a much better way to involve her in proceedings rather than simply have the secretary hand over her password details but then I guess given that we live in a world where the wife of the new head of MI6 is stupid enough to put up personal details and pictures of them on Facebook the secretary handing her security clearance to a temp isn't entirely out of the realms of possibility.

Katy Wix is fantastic as Ianto's sister and made a huge impact with a very small part, likewise Nicholas Farrell as the rather repitilian Prime Minister and Ian Gelder whose Mr Dekker (who is entirely too excited about the 456 band being activated) made my skin crawl.

I even enjoyed Paul Copley as the very twitchy Clem. Its hard to play a mental patient convincingly - audience's tolerance for twitching and gurning is limited but he managed to make Clem engaging and sympathetic.

And I remain enormously impressed with Peter Capaldi as the civil servant having the worst day of his life. I mean this is the bastard who signed off on the kill order to have Jack blown up and the other two team members assassinated and yet he somehow manages to engage your sympathies. You may hate him for what he's doing to the team but at teh same time you can understand why he's doing what he is. He's desperate to keep the British government's prior involvement with teh 456 quiet and if that means killing a handful of operatives...? Well so be it.

Unfortunately the only actor in it I really don't like is Lucy Cohen who plays Jack's daughter. She just leaves me cold. I know the Jack/Alice sequence was meant to be awkward but it felt as if JB had nothing to act off. He was doing his utmost but they just had no chemistry at all and because I couldn't engage with the actress she just came across as a hard old bitch refusing to let her father into her life or the life of his grandchild.

And so Day One over already and no more Hub. Which I'm so sad about (and dubious as to why the government would risk killing innocent civilians as well as losing precious alien tech by having the Hub blown up - surely there were easier ways to permanently deal with Jack?) I mean where is Myfanwy going to live? It would be nice if we got a one liner in the future episodes acknowledging that by blowing the Hub up not only have the governent crippled the base of the one group of people who could have helped them to fight the 456 (and destroyed all their weapons in the process), not only have they destroyed Jack's home, but they've also killed his brother as well.

When the Hub blew up poor old Gray blew up with it, along with the remains of Suzie Costello and presumably Tosh if she was being kept in the morgue. The government destroyed the resting place of all those Torchwood employees. Somehow I don't see it being mentioned (nor the issue of the homeless Myfanwy addressed) but it would be nice.

Roll on tomorrow where I can finally see what the sequence in the ambulance (which I saw being filmed) looks like.

Date: 2009-07-06 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aresnz.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for your review. I'm glad John was able to shine in his own acting; as well as all the other actors involved. I cannot wait to see this for myself.


Lori

Date: 2009-07-06 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Glad you liked the review - at least it's not too long for you to wait until you can see it yourself.

Date: 2009-07-06 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] traciaknows.livejournal.com
Thank you for such a clever review. I really enjoy your descriptions and thoughts about the show and actors. I, too, hope that they at least mention something about the destruction of the Hub, which I always considered almost another character of the show. With it's ruin, so much technology and history are lost in such a senseless way. I hadn't even thought about Grey- but I hope that Jack does.

I look forward to watching GDL's performance. He's so remarkably talented. I love how layered he has made Ianto. He is not some wimpy Welsh Cake. He's able to kick some ass, but is vulnerable enough to want to know where his relationship is going with Jack. I don't blame him for wanting some answers. I think it's normal.

Will you be reviewing the next episodes? I'm in the states, and am stuck in Torchwood standby until the 20th. Boo Hiss. I'd love to read your impressions over the next few days.

Date: 2009-07-06 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
That's very sweet of you glad you liked it. It would be nice if they mentioned the loss of the Hub and Gray (and presumably Tosh and Suzie and countless other of Jack's long gone team mates) but I suspect that due to the nature of the series this time which requires the narrative to move at a break neck pace they won't.

Poor Ianto is very confused in this - doesn't quite understand how he's ended up dating a guy and is struggling to put a conformist label on a relationship which just doesn't work that way. He wants Jack to validate him by calling him his boyfriend or saying that they're a couple so that he can feel more secure in himself. It's a lovely performance to watch.

Yes I'll be reviewing the next episodes. I'll try and do a full synopsis as well as I did with the preview screening. The only one where I won't be able to get a review up quickly is Friday's (Day 5!) as I (along with many others) will be at Henley watching John Barrowman's concert.

Date: 2009-07-07 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] traciaknows.livejournal.com
Wonderful! I'll be sure to look for your updates. Thanks for such great work (and the screen caps!).

You'll have to let us know how the concert goes. I'm sure it will be brilliant.

I think you're right about Ianto's confusion and need for some type of validation. It would have to be confusing to be in a relationship with a man who is immortal, and that damn charismatic, and not have any definition to it. Ianto has always struck me as someone who likes to have all the answers- to at least the ability to get the answers when he needs to. I've working on something that deals some with Ianto's frustrations over Jack wanting to take his time in their relationship and really savor it because he knows that it won't last as long as he would like-while Ianto believes that they should do as much as possible because of his mortality.

Thanks again for such great work!

Date: 2009-07-06 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gogo-didi.livejournal.com
I didn't think about Gray at all, but that would be pretty big for Jack... I doubt it'll get a mention though.

I think the Jack/Alice scene seemed about right really, she just wanted him out of the house and didn't really care about what he had to say at all.

I'm not sure why, but I don't think I liked Lois very much...

The best scenes for me were all Ianto scenes. I love his sister and how real she and her relationship with Ianto seemed compared to the sureal Torchwood!Ianto

Can't wait for tomorrow :-)

Date: 2009-07-06 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Gray was beyond all help but the fact that Jack had him put in cryo rather than killing him meant that he felt (or hoped) that one day he could be saved and the government have just taken that away from him. They used him as the means to try and kill his friends and ended up blowing him and his brother to smithereens. Something tells me Jack won't be happy...

I'm just not felling Alice just yet - maybe I need to see more of her story. Jack is being an out and out bastard in that scene wanting to experiment on her son but at the same time he clearly wants to be in her life and I just wasn't feeling anything from the actress at all.

I liked Lois - liked the awkward bumbling first day nerves and the fact that she's doing everything just a bit wrong - I thought it was engaging.

The scene with Ianto and his sister was very real - lovely piece of work from both actors.

Date: 2009-07-06 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teaboyfan.livejournal.com
Your insightful comments and reviews will help me hang on until the DVDs come; I'm in the States and don't get BBCA, so I'm relying on the kindness of strangers to tide me over. Thank you!

Date: 2009-07-06 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Oh that's sweet of you to say. I'm glad you like the reviews. If you click on the link within the review you'll get a long synopsis and my original review of the episode if that's of interest.

If you have a fast enough internet connection I'm sure they'll be a download of the episode up pretty soon - people are rather good about that. Think the dvds are out in a couple of weeks.

Date: 2009-07-06 11:19 pm (UTC)
ext_3984: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lonelybrit.livejournal.com
Utterly agree about Capaldi. On the one hand you want to hate him for what he's doing... and yet I felt for him. He knows what has to be done and realises he effectively has to let it be on his own head, there'll be now support from the PM and co.

Equally I agree about John's acting during the scene with his daughter. I loved that scene. I do believe that Jack was genuine in his desire to be with his family if they'd let him, I believe in his love for his grandson... and equally I utterly believe in his having no qualms in being prepared to use the same grandson if he has to. And it was slightly chilling how even when he'd been caught out, there was no guilt in that stare. Quite the character is Jack.

And equally, whilst Ianto's scene with his family was charming and lovely... he was doing the same thing. Utterly prepared to use his own nephew/niece. He was just lucky that his sister was in the dark and had a different bee in her bonnet. He and Jack are definitely equals when it comes to Torchwood on some levels.

Date: 2009-07-06 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
It's the shot of him on his knees in front of his children that is so powerful. That and the horrible moment when he realises that the Prime Minister isn't going to step up. If he wants the situation dealt with - he's going to have to be the one that does it. Not a fun position to be in. Very difficult role - I can understand why he above everyone else is getting most of the kudos.

I'm just not keen on the actress playing his daughter - not yet anyway. And yes Jack is a rather frightening soul - wants to play grandad just as much as he wants to spirit his grandson off to the Hub and run tests on him. And yes Ianto is just the same going and seeing his niece and nephew on the pretext of taking his niece out (and you forgot her birthday - bad Ianto) just so that he could run tests on her. And when his sister is having none of it he just tries to leave instantly!

Date: 2009-07-06 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] felmyst.livejournal.com
I think that behaviour does make sense in terms of their characters..Torchwood is their whole lives. They will sacrifice all for torchwood and to protect the Earth..why not family members...I cannot wait to watch as I am in U.S. I am also jealous you are going to the concert on Friday....I dont think he ever comes touring here, just to conventions....

Date: 2009-07-06 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burntcopper.livejournal.com
Gah. I hadn't even thought of everyone in the morgue... Dear Government, wonder how much future timeline you've screwed up with all the possible frozen people down there, frozen for a reason?

Date: 2009-07-06 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Yup killed Gray and presumably blew up Suzie, Tosh and god knows how many others of Jack's long dead team mates they desecrated as well as blithely murdering all those people who as you said were undoubtedly frozen for a reaoson.

I get that RTD just wanted to blow up the Hub as it looks cool and having them on the run is a handy way to keep he narrative moving swiftly but seriously there were a 1001 ways to permanently eliminate Jack which didn't require blowing up the Hub and all the irreplaceable alien tech therein. I mean just lock him in a big old box and drop him at the bottom of the ocean.

And they killed Janet.

Bastards.

Date: 2009-07-07 03:35 am (UTC)
ext_41681: (Default)
From: [identity profile] catslash.livejournal.com
I mean just lock him in a big old box and drop him at the bottom of the ocean.

Yeah, but they already ripped off Angel once. (Sorry for the thread hijack, but I couldn't resist.)

As for the morgue and frozen people and so on, I wouldn't be too surprised to see a handwave along the lines of alien steel or whatever tough enough to withstand the blast of blah. I also wouldn't be surprised not to. RTD does not concern himself overmuch with things making sense.

Date: 2009-07-07 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bandgeek01.livejournal.com
When the Hub blew up poor old Gray blew up with it, along with the remains of Suzie Costello and presumably Tosh if she was being kept in the morgue. The government destroyed the resting place of all those Torchwood employees. Somehow I don't see it being mentioned (nor the issue of the homeless Myfanwy addressed) but it would be nice.

Couldn't agree more. It's the details like this that just make me go Ugh, someone somewhere have an answer.


Nicole

Date: 2009-07-07 07:31 am (UTC)
aryas_zehral: Close crop of Chiana's mouth, slightly open as if worried/breathless (Default)
From: [personal profile] aryas_zehral
Myfanwy!!! I'd forgotten about her. I hope she's ok.

Date: 2009-07-07 10:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eawen-penallion.livejournal.com
Sadly, I don't think Myfanwy is homeless, I think she's ROASTED...

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