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[personal profile] fairyd123

My god that was nerve shredding - I'm so tense and on edge after that I feel like I could snap! Day Three didn't feature anywhere near enough of Team Torchwood for my liking and it is increasingly becoming clear that the series will play so much better when viewed as a whole rather than independently but that was quite the master class in tension building.

Peter Capaldi is rather running away with this series. He truly is superb. I'm not quite sure how the hell he's making me feel for him every single step of the way considering that he's had Jack killed 4 times so far, tried to assassinate Gwen and Ianto, is weasly enough to encourage an alien race to lie about the fact that it's been to Britain before and is now holding Jack's daughter and grandson hostage. But he's managing it quite effortlessly!

I've never seen anyone look quite as terrified as Frobisher did talking to the 456 in his first sequence with them. That scene just worked so well. Starting with the 456's OTT method of arrival with the camera then panning to Frobisher looking so small and weasel like in that huge, magisterial tiled room, practically shaking with fear, with him having to build up the courage to speak and move towards them and the build up to the first time the 456 spoke - really really brilliantly done. Great acting, great directing, killer set design - excellent work from everyone involved.

And that moment when he walked out of the meeting with them and just slid to the floor shaking - very powerful. The whole scene was just superb - tense beyond breaking point and really genuinely menacing. I'm not the type to be scared by things - horror movies rarely make me even blink and its difficult to make a large tank full of dry ice and what did unfortunately look like a couple of left over Slitheen arms coated in vaseline look scary. But they managed it. The voice of the 456 is seriously creepy - devoid of emotion, dead in all senses of the word and just plain frightening. And it isn't easy to do a voice like that and inspire dread in your audience - more often than not you just inspire unintentional hilarity instead but whoever is doing the voice has seriously nailed it.

I do rather hope we don't get to see the 456. They're much more frightening as a disembodied voice emerging out of smoke. I rather suspect that if we see them unveiled in all their glory they will inevitably look a bit daft and about as threatening as a rubber chicken.

I kind of wish our country was run by the group of Machiavellian creeps that are running Torchwood's world. Somehow I feel we wouldn't quite be in the mess we are now if Nicholas Farrell's spectacularly weasly Prime Minister was running the country. The cold hearted way that he put Frobisher in harms way while equally ensuring that he couldn't enter Floor 13 and be anywhere near the deadly alien was quite awe inspiring. Nasty little creep.

I'm warming to Jack's daughter. Calling the police to try and find Jack was a daft thing to do but we'll give her a pass as she was obviously getting increasingly distressed at her failure to get hold of her father following the bombing in the Bay (the scenes of her trying not to cry and just continually calling his voicemail so she could hear his voice yesterday were rather affecting) and she was canny enough to use someone else's phone to do it. I still have issues with her being magicked into existence (it makes Jack's desperate desire to leave everything to be with the Doctor in series 1 Torchwood unconscionably selfish if by doing so he knew he would be abandoning his own daughter and grandson - estranged though they may be) but at least she proved to be every inch her father's daughter. I loved that Alice was alert enough to instantly realise that something was wrong because the street was so quiet and that she had no qualms grabbing a weapon and knocking that guy out with her cutting board (ha!) and grabbing his gun to protect herself. Jack would be proud!

Clem has unfortunately rapidly become a little grating. I do think that Paul Copley is playing his childlike demeanor very well but my tolerance level for the twitching and "isn't it, isn't it" stuff is woefully low. I do hope he does turn out to have a proper role to play in the next two episodes. And what was with the "Who's the queer?" stuff? Was that meant to be funny? I know that Rusty has a very odd sense of humour (the infamous date rape spray in Everything Changes for example) but that was just a bizarre line. And what's with putting labels on Ianto? Strange for a show that prides itself on having characters that defy labels and neat categories.

Very brief glimpse of Ianto's family this time but I still love them with a passion - especially the brother in law's entrepreneurial spirit charging the parents of the kids on the estate a tenner a kid for his wife to look after them.

Johnson is still a caricature (although a foxy one - I am beginning to find her rather attractive!) and I'm not sure I see that changing. The actress playing Bridget Spears is rather running with her limited screentime however. Poor Bridget, utterly devoted to Frobisher and destined to be the one forever watching while he commits infidelities with pretty girls who come and go. Her poisonous but wounded delivery of "don't go thinking you're the only one" to Lois after she (not very convincingly) implied she was sleeping with Frobisher was wonderful.

And yay for Lois stepping up again and proving to be a very capable field agent (making me fear even more for Ianto's longevity - she's a pa, she's a field agent, she can make coffee...) Nice to see the continuity with Reset reusing the camera lenses (and I loved Gwen, Ianto and Rhys cackling away like a bunch of schoolgirls about their "fun" with them ). Whilst pretending she was sleeping with Frobisher was a bit of a weak gambit it worked and she was brave enough to move in the 456 meeting room so that Team Torchwood could see what Frobisher was saying. If we get another series (the ratings so far have been great but it does rather depend what they do with the cast over the next 2 two days) I think Lois will be a great addition.

I kind of wish Gwen hadn't been written so truly dismally before because now that she's being written well it requires a huge suspension of disbelief that she's suddenly so warm, funny and capable when previously she was frequently portrayed as self righteous and about as useful as a chocolate teapot. I loved her teaching her boys how to be criminals, the impassioned way she convinced Lois to help them and her sensitivity with Clem (not to mention her mean driving skills getting them out of gridlock and back to the Hub 2!) Gwen is wonderful in this. Arguably she is still getting more screen time than our boys something I'm sure the anti brigade will pick on but personally I'm loving her in this - especially her amused complaining when Ianto was all "Hey Gwen you can get Clem out of police custody can't you? Course you can."

Blink and you'll miss it appearance by Tom Price as PC Andy but at least he was helpful this time rather than leading the killers to Gwen's door. And Kai continues to do sterling work as Rhys (and I absolutely adored his response to being asked to join Torchwood "No bloody chance now fix this so that I can go home eh" - I absolutely love you Rhys Williams! Brilliant.)

Of course it was Ianto that safely bought the team to a new hideout (although I was disappointed that Jack didn't have at least 2 back up Hubs on the go. The man's bloody immortal but doesn't have the foresight to have at least two fully equipped super secret bases set up stocked to the heavens with illicit alien tech? Jack you're bloody useless.) Liked the nods to continuity about his dad being a tailor (I have a good eye) and knowing that Jack won't be happy unless he's clad in a great coat (Jack's diva wailing about his outfit was highly amusing). His banter with Rhys was amusing and I like the sparky friendship that he has with Gwen.

His heart to heart with Jack wasn't quite the lovely nuanced moment that convention reports had suggested it would be. To me it fell ever so slightly flat but if you disregarded the words and let Gareth's face do the talking it was really quite affecting. His deeply pained reaction to Jack admitting that he felt himself being blown up, his very youthful and innocent expression when Jack is talking about his immortality (he looks so incredibly young next to John sometimes) and the pained realisation and nervous gulp when Jack says that he's a fixed point in time and Ianto's immediate acceptance of what that means for them - all lovely stuff. And bad Rhys cockblocking Ianto.

And oh Jack. Jack, Jack, Jack.

Is he a better man than Frobisher? Frobisher didn't hesitate to kill Jack, to try and kill Gwen and Ianto, to have Jack's daughter and grandson held hostage at gun point and Frobisher is right that Jack is a better man than to go back into the house and hurt Frobisher's wife and children. He's not that man and I'm not convinced he ever was. But Jack is ruthlessly pragmatic when he has to be. He gave Jasmine to the Fairies against the wishes of her distraught mother to stop them destroying the word, he killed Lisa in front of Ianto because she was a threat, he would have experimented on his own grandson to find out what was going on with the aliens and then retconned him afterwards and given the choice between the 456 raining down hell from above on the UK or giving them a handful of orphans that noone on earth gave a damn about?

He gave them the children.

And I bet he didn't think twice about it afterwards. Not because he didn't care. But because it simply had to be done.

But the way John Barrowman delivered the line "as a gift" was so chilling. You could just see all of Gwen's cute little fantasies of her knight in shining armour ripped away in that one moment. Ianto looked horrified and confused and she just looked destroyed. The dashing, heroic Captain Jack Harkness isn't meant to hand over children to hostile aliens.

It's an interesting question - if you were in charge would you give up the lives of a few children to save everyone else? If the safety of the many must outweigh the rights of the few how do you decide who is expendable? And when do you stop? How many lives can the government trade away before its too many? In the world of Doctor Who the answer would be that one child is one child too many but Torchwood has always operated in a more realistic and far murkier world with a much more flexible morality.

If Jack gave the 456 the children it must have been because he felt that they couldn't be fought and that in the grand scheme of things the likely deaths of 12 children was outweighed by all the millions who would live in their stead. But that still doesn't make his act anything less than unconscionable. He drove those children to their (probable) deaths. And he can't take that back.

And at the end of Day 3 the 456 are back again, like all good blackmailers, and this time they want 10% of the earth's children.

And so onto day 4 and I have to say I'm actually not really looking forward to days 4 & 5 - there is a press embargo on them for a reason and I can't help but feel that the chances of all of Ianto, Frobisher, Alice and Stephen making it alive to the end of day 5 are slim to none.

Big alien, tank full of poisonous gas, Jack and Ianto - I just don't see that working out well at all. I can easily see the place going into lockdown with the gas escaping and Ianto being trapped inside.

Here's hoping not but the anvils of doom have not been subtle and I fear that they'll be bloodshed before the week is out...

Date: 2009-07-08 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chandlershaw.livejournal.com
See I', just not getting the love for this series so far and its because its too much exposition and OCs and not enought TW main cast (and I don't like Lois much which doesn't help - if she does join up for any series 4 I personally will be very disappointed as I'm finding her a bit wet.). I completely missed that the Jack/Ianto chat was *the chat* I'll have to watch it again. As I said it might work better as 5 hours on the bounce but at the moment I'm thinking they could have done the whole thing in 3 hours (depending on the next 2 eps). I 'm also finding the whole thing very very cliched/old hat/obvious too. None of which is to say that I'm not enjoying it or I don't think its good but its not really TW for me, its just some relatively standard good quality if overlong SF film thus far.

Date: 2009-07-08 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Looking at it very very critically its a tad deriative (Midwich Cuckoos, every spy drama ever), much more Spooks with an alien edge than Torchwood, is a somewhat thin idea stretched over 5 episodes, has too many OCs meaning that we aren't getting quality time with the main cast and plot points are being heavily telegraphed as you said (even if I hadn't seen the spoiler pictures it would have been obvious as day that Jack was the one who gave the kids away). I mean there is absolutely no reason at all to kill off any of the main cast other than for super cheap shock value as they have introduced so many OCs into the narrative that they've shown that you can do an entire series with almost minimal input from the main cast (god knows how this took so long to film. John basically wasn't in Day 2 and while Day 2 was heavy for Kai, Gareth and Eve Kai and Gareth had hardly anything to do in day 3).

I think that was the chat that Gareth had mentioned yes and I wasn't too overwhelmed by it - his acting yes, the actual discussion - no.

I don't think it is quite all that but at the same time I'm liking all the actors and they're making it work for me. I think if you weren't a fan of Capaldi or didn't care much for Lois (I do like her actually and don't particularly find her wet) then it would be an almost unbearably dull watch as so far they simply haven't had enough of the team in it. It worked perfectly for day one but since then the team interaction has been a bit scrappy - sending Jack off for no reason so that we could have the dramatic reveal that we'd all already guessed that he was the one who gave the kids away.

So yes I can totally see why you'd be a bit ho-hum about it but it's just about working for me.

Date: 2009-07-09 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chandlershaw.livejournal.com
Perhaps wet is the wrong word but she really doesn't work for me at all. She's very bland.

Trouble is, I want to watch Torchwood. Series that grip me tend to be man cast heavy and involve good characterisation (whatever the series) and from that point of view I can't get invested in this. It's a good romp, but I think *my series* is sadly well gone..if it ever got here!

Date: 2009-07-08 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aresnz.livejournal.com
I like everything about this. Alice is her dad's daughter. Jack did sound very chilling at the end when he said 'As A Gift'.
The acting is brilliant.

You made a great point..episodes 4 & 5 were not previewed. I have a felling the last two eps is where the shit really hits the fan.

All we can do is wait and see. Ahhhh...Ianto....


Date: 2009-07-09 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] academia4me.livejournal.com
I'm very impressed with JB's acting I must say. All good stuff.

Date: 2009-07-09 02:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Well I have to say that compared to the rest of the cast JB has had the least opportunity to impress so far. He's good and he's definitely worked out telly acting versus theatre acting for this run (probably helped enormously by having a gifted director like Euros looking after him) but he hasn't actually had much screen time yet. What he's had has been good but given that he's surrounded by the likes of Capaldi, GDL, Eve Myles - well I can understand why the critics(as the press only had episodes 1-3 to review)have been praising the other actors from the rooftops (Capaldi especially) and have barely mentioned John.

So far this series has actually been remarkably Jack lite - I mean he was only in day 2 for about 2 minutes.

Date: 2009-07-09 12:47 am (UTC)
ext_3984: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lonelybrit.livejournal.com
Calpaldi has blown me away this series. As you say, the things he has done are monstrous and yet it's heartbreaking how he knows he's effectively a monster but obviously has enough faith in god knows what to find his conscience a sacrifice worth making.

If it weren't for the fact I think she's doomed and also Jack would never allow it, I was considering putting Alice on the shortlist of potential new TW recruits. She's had no formal training but she did okay until she got cornered by a small army of foot soldiers.

And what was with the "Who's the queer?" stuff? Was that meant to be funny?

Yep, that made me blink. Just felt a rather forced moment of humour, personally I think it would have been more interesting if he'd smelt Jack on Ianto and that started the tizz, but then again poor Jack and Ianto wound up being cockblocked by Rhys' beans. It's a hard life.

Date: 2009-07-09 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spacedye-vest.livejournal.com
I was whining early today how Lois is so obviously Ianto's replacement and... Ianto's not even getting much to do before that happens, and all the promised couple stuff? Damn it! :(

My download is ready now.

Date: 2009-07-09 04:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adjovi.livejournal.com
See I', just not getting the love for this series so far and its because its too much exposition and OCs and not enought TW main cast

it's weird, but my initial reaction upon watching is always "that was awesome"--but you are totally correct. waaay too much exposition and not enough emphasis on the team--pulls it away from being torchwood, to me, really. it doesn't feel like a torchwood episode or storyline, more like a big scifi show that features torchwood. and, if that scene b/t jack and ianto had been referenced previously as something significant...i hadn't heard that, but didn't feel like it was, one way or the other. i am holding on to hope that one thing positive i can say about the writing thus far is that it is subtle in the treatment of team torchwood--ianto's coming out scene, discussions about his father, etc., and that his anvilicious conversation about "dying of old age" was just that--a bunch of anvils. i really am trying hard to see how the death of one of the mains would have a dramatic impact at this point other than shock (and evidence of poor writing)--and just can't see how it could.

Date: 2009-07-09 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spacedye-vest.livejournal.com
waaay too much exposition and not enough emphasis on the team--pulls it away from being torchwood, to me, really. it doesn't feel like a torchwood episode or storyline

That's exactly how I felt. After every episode I found myself missing Torchwood, because this really isn't it.

Bad for me and Good for TPTB the un-Torchwood-ing Torchwood has paid off much better than expected in ratings.

Date: 2009-07-09 12:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burntcopper.livejournal.com
Personally loving it, and the tension in the room is great. Rhys, Gwen and Ianto? score. Lois is useful, and convincingly scared. Frobisher and Alice and the PM I love. As well as UNIT being somewhat pissed off that they're being left out of the loop - but so loving the political realities and machinations, like no way is the president goigng to be there, leave it to the civil service because they're expendable, etc.

Clem is definitely grating. And you'd have thought that he'd have picked up on a few more social niceties.

I can so see jack doing that, the only problem I have is that the government seems all too eager to capitulate to the demands of the 456... when we haven't actually had any notion that they're a threat whatsoever aside from the ventriloquism. This is the British civil service. They don't give anything away for free unless we've had a major *showing* of threat. here's hoping they tell us what it was they did in '65 to make the govt hand the kids over as pre-emptive.

Date: 2009-07-09 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lcacbc.livejournal.com
Can I just say lol at Gwen being as useful as a chocolate teapot...fab way of putting it. But I agree with you that she has got likeable this series. So much so it's like a different character. I didn't like the Gwack subtext, but it seems to have compltely disappeared this series, which is really weird.

Anyway great review. Like you, I am worried about the reveal of the aliens. I hope they don't disappoint!

Date: 2009-07-09 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
My biggest problem with Gwen previously is that we were told repeatedly that she was capable and compassionate and the heart of Torchwood and yet they frequently wrote her as bumbling, useless at her job, self righteous and smug. So it's a joy to finally have what the audience see actually match the producer's hyperbole. In CoE Gwen is incredibly capable and intelligent and compassionate and sweet and downright fierce. Yes it runs the risk of being Mary Sue Ninja Gwen but its just about managing to avoid that.

Theres no Gwack at all in CoE which is a huge relief.

I'd rather they just didn't reveal the aliens - better to keep them shrouded in mystery (and dry ice).

Date: 2009-07-09 01:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] damaduende.livejournal.com
You really think they are going to kill Ianto? After making me cry in Deadline? Crap the Powers That Be.

Date: 2009-07-09 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Yup. If he's still breathing at the end credits today I'll be surprised.People have been saying for about 9 months that he's dead - in a way it will be a relief when its finally over with. I just pray to god it's a decent heroic end and that he doesn't die hating Jack or thinking Jack has done him wrong.

Date: 2009-07-09 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] damaduende.livejournal.com
I hate you. :( ...
Really? I haven´t heard anything of the sorts anywhere, so you are really surprising me here.
I guess we´ll have to wait. If you are on the right, I hope, as you say, that is a good death and all. I would hate to him going thinking that Jack doesn´t love him or something stupid like that.

Date: 2009-07-09 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairyd123.livejournal.com
Oh god rumours have been around for months killing people's anticipation of the show stone dead. Started with a source on DWF who was the one who was completely wrong about who had been cast as the 11th doctor and was promptly backed up by a Marsters fan who knew about the Owen/Tosh deaths in Exit Wounds way before airing because of her connection to Marsters people and had heard about an early draft of the script. They've been claiming he's gone repeatedly for a long time. Hell I even asked Gareth straight out about it way back in February at Megacon and he just trotted out the "you'll have to watch and see card".

I don't want the character to be written out and I think it will be an incredibly stupid decision but its not looking promising.

Date: 2009-07-09 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] damaduende.livejournal.com
You are right!! I mean, I trusted you, but I had to go and see for myself and it´s everywhere. How come I didn´t see it? I´ve been a fan of this series since like forever and never came across that particulary nasty bit of rumour. I guess mine is one of those "there´re no worst blinds that those who don´t want to see" cases.
I´m not from the UK, so I´m an ep behind, haven´t seen Day Three yet, but I´m going to have to come here to read spoilers, cause I´m not watching Day Four without knowing what I´m dealing with. If I need Kleenex, I want to know, damn it.


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