Stupid Things From Torchwood: Week 2

Wow, did it not get any better this week. Apart from the sloppy writing, the insulting overexplanations, and the general stupidity of the characters, there's the incredibly slow pace at which the whole thing is unfolding. It seems that if Russel Davies should never be allowed to tell a continuous story of longer than five parts. And even Children of Earth ran a little long towards the end.


Captain Jack spends this entire week on a plane. This is a swashbuckling hero who dances across space and time, and the American audiences being introduced to him over two weeks. In the first week, he did essentially nothing. This week, he did literally nothing, as he spent the whole time convulsing in the throes of Arsenic poisoning.

2- The CIA is terrible at murder, apparently.

A CIA assassin poisoned Jack with arsenic. Basically the slowest-acting and most obvious poison she could have possibly used. What was her endgame here? Yes, the actual glass was handed to Jack by a steward, and he'd be the first suspect, but here's how long the investigation lasts:

Mekhi Pfeifer: Why did you poison him?
Steward: That shifty CIA agent poured the drink!

At this point in the story, Jack is being brought back to America, where he'll be turned over to CIA custody. Where they'll be free to kill him and Gwen at literally any moment of their captivity. Why attempt to kill him on the plane?

Perhaps it's because-

3- Wayne Knight is terrible at running an evil conspiracy.

The boss of Mekhi and Esther at the CIA, Wayne Knight arranges to have them framed for being Chinese spies by putting money anonymously in their bank accounts. His plan backfires when both of them are informed by their banks within seconds of the money arriving; Esther when somehow a financial adviser gets past the CIA switchboard to ask her - at work - how she'd like to invest this suspicious financial windfall; Mekhi, when he receives the world's most preposterous text message:

Esther then goes on the run, trying to flee the building as fast as she can. How does she escape? By taking her friend's ID card and using it to swipe her way past innumerable security doors! Why doesn't Wayne just shut down the building to keep her from escaping? His options are restricted because only a few people on the security force are in on his conspiracy. Which is great and all, except for the fact that he's framed her for treason - so he doesn't need to pretend that they're 'ha-ha, just running a security test', he can actually send everyone in the building after her. It's everyone's job to catch a mole.

4- It's possible that it's not just Americans that Russel Davies has never met, but humans.

The Bill Pullman storyline gets stupider this week - there's a legitimately good moment where we see him going to do a news show solely so he can raid the craft services table. It's difficult to buy food, you see, when you're the most hated man in America. The impact of this scene is undercut by the fact that Russel gives Bill a two-minute monologue to laboriously spell out what took me fifteen words to do one sentence ago.

Still, the scene wouldn't be so bad if we weren't what happens next. Bill cries on camera and says he's sorry for raping and murdering that 13-year-old:

And all of America, including a roomful of CIA agents-

-decide spontaneously to forgive him for his brutal, abhorrent crime.

That would be the first thing on everyone's minds, you see - saying 'live and let live' about the most hated man on the planet, while every institution is going to hell around you.

5- Speaking of hell

In case you couldn't tell based on her costume and hair colour, this woman is the devil. How has Russel Davies decided to personify evil? In the form of a Press Agent who can make the dreams of a child-murderer and a prominent doctor come true if they just agree to her terms.

Why am I complaining about his use of satire? Because Russel seems to be worried that American audiences still won't get the reference just because she literally tempts characters, and dresses like that. He actually has Bill call her the devil. Just in case we missed it.

Damn it, Russel. This had better improve next week

1 comment:

The Hoff said...

I was really excited when I saw the previews for this show. I haven't quite lost my faith in it yet, but it's fading fast. Great post to say what I've been feeling.