Stupid Things About Torchwood: Week 4

1 - You're in the CIA!

The episode opens with Esther, a CIA analyst who's currently on the run from her own government, swinging by her sister's house.  This isn't one of those secret sisters who she left off her job application, like in The Firm, no, this is her one living relative, and if you were an evil government agency trying to find her, this is the one place you'd go.

Which is exactly what happens. Later in the episode someone will yell at her for being so stupid as to make this mistake - but yelling isn't enough. There's literally no way someone could both have her job and be stupid enough to do something like this. Just two episodes ago she was conning her way out of the CIA building and changing identities, and now she's publicly visiting the only place on earth where people will be looking for? Inexcusable.

2 - All of you are spies!

Hey, remember when the Reaper followed Esther to the rest of the team back in DC? Well, he then proceeded to follow the entire care full of people to LA, since he's there stalking them outside of their hideout after they arrive.

Yup, Apparently the three trained covert agents and one supposedly brilliant technician and analyst didn't notice a sinister black sedan following them for two straight days, nor did they perform even the most cursory countersurveillance techniques, such as sweeping their car for tracking devices or changing vehicles in an underground garage to deter satellite tracking.

3 - Russel Davies doesn't know how names work (or thinks you're stupid).

Hey, speaking of Esther Drummond's sister, can you guess what her name is? Sarah Drummond. She has two daughters that seem to share that last name as well. Why? Because if she or the daughters had a different last name, then the audience might be confused about their relationship.

Even though adult sisters having different last names is basically more common in American than them having the same one.

Also, the sister lives on 'King Sovereign Road', which is an entirely plausible name for a street in Maryland.

4 - It's a semi-formal plague ship.

The evil cabal of doctors and whatnot have a new plan to deal with all the terminally ill people who just aren't dying - dump them all in a single hospital! The doctor we've heard of, the one who made the crucial mistake of sleeping with Rex, America's least sympathetic main character, goes to that hospital to see if she can help with triage at this disaster of a public health project.

But hey, tragic circumstances or professionalism shouldn't keep her from looking great, should they? Check out her stiletto heels:

And long flowing hair!

Yup, nothing's going to stop that doctor from looking fabulous - not even a global health crisis! And please take note - it's literally just her who's remarkably unprofessional. Check out all the other doctors leaving the grounds.

Caps for their hair and sensible shoes. It's a little odd, watching a show entirely from the point of view of the stupid, isn't it?

5 - Where's the line between convenient and contrived?

Without a drug contact in LA, Rex has to go to crazy lengths to find some more painkillers to help deal with the hole in his chest. At this point you may be asking "Hey, why didn't he just crab a case of the pills when he was in the 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' warehouse full of them last week?

He didn't so that this could happen:

Rex goes to see his ne'er-do-well father, who has, in an amazing coincidence, stolen a case of the exact same pills from a local drug store. What are the odds, right?

Rex then leaves, taking only a single package of pills with him. Because he's incapable of thinking more than an hour into the future. A quality you want to look for in upper management at any of your better intelligence agencies.

6 - What do you think social services are for?

One more thing about Esther's sister. When Esther goes to the house, she discovers that the sister has gone mad, boarding up the windows and doing this to the door:

Great job hastily installing those four new locks without scratching the wood at all, BTW. Anyhoo, the woman has become so paranoid about illnesses that she's keeping her daughters locked away from the outside world. Fearing for their safety, Esther does the only sensible thing, and calls Social Services.

This is all well and good, except later in the show she's shocked when the children have been taken away from the home, and the crazy woman is now in care.

Look - you're allowed to feel guilty about what you've done, and question whether it was the right choice. That's fine. What you're not allowed to do is be shocked at the logical outcome of your actions.

This is like calling the fire department to a burning building and then being angry and shocked when they put out the fire. "No! I just wanted you to come and assess the situation! Maybe give the fire a firm talking to!"

7 - Literally every single thing the Reaper does confuses me.

This is the Reaper. He works for  the evil conspirators, and is in the unenviable posiiton of being a paid killer in a world where people no longer die (easily). He's given a simple assignment. Kill Jack, do whatever he wants with the rest of the team.

Right after his introductory scene, he follows the team across the entire country. Now, you'd think that at some point during that 48 hour drive there would have been an opportunity to murder Jack and take the rest of the team out. He doesn't, though, instead passively following them. But why?

Later the team will plan to break into the Phicorp headquarters to steal a computer. The Reaper then mutilates a Phicorp executive so that he can also breach security:

If you're confused at this point, because you'd assumed that Phicorp works with the conspirators behind the immortality scheme (since they were planning for it), and therefore The Reaper wouldn't have to torture someone in order to get access to their building, you're not alone.

After breaking into the server room where Jack and Gwen are working, and taking them by surprise since they're both so terrible as their jobs, he ties them up and begins speechifying. The reason he hasn't killed Jack yet? He's fascinated by the fact that Jack is still mortal, and wants to know why that is, and why he's so important to the conspiracy.

Which is a clear enough motive, but it doesn't raise the question - why are you doing this now? Why go to all the trouble of breaking into a high-security building when you could have done this torture/questioning thing at literally any point in the past three days?

Grab them on the road, attack them in their apartment - by going to the high-security building all you've done is moved your crime into a place where you're infinitely more likely to get caught.

8 - Nothing anyone else does makes sense either.

Why, since Jack knew that there was a killer running around and attacking Gwen, was he taken by surprise by The Reaper? And if it was so difficult to get into the server room, how did Jack manage to get in there so he could be clonked on the head?

Hell, how could Rex just rush inside to save them at an opportune moment?

Why do they announce that The Reaper was shot in the throat, when he clearly wasn't? And even if he was, why don't they bring him along with them when they leave? There are plenty of other ways to interview the man beyond having him speak.

9 - You know, there was a Torchwood show before this one...

You'd think Russel Davies would know that, having created it and written a large number of the episodes. In that show, a clear timeline of Jack's life has been established, one that doesn't jibe with this show's cheeky comments about his past history with America. This week, in fact, he flat-out says that he hasn't been in California in 70 years. Except... no.

Let me present a quick timeline of Captain Jack.

A) Not an Earthican, Jack was born on an alien world populated by human colonists.
B) He became a time agent and traveled to London during the Blitz, hoping to salvage a valuable alien spaceship.
C) He jaunted around with Doctor Who for a while, and then became immortal.
D) Using a faulty time travel device, he wound up in Cardiff in the 19th Century, then remained there and joined Torchwood, knowing that eventually Doctor Who would show up in order to refuel the TARDIS.
E) In the year 2009, he was sent back in time and buried alive, then spend over two thousand years stuck in the dirt until he was dug up by Torchwood and placed in a a stasis pod, so that Jack (B) could jump out just minutes after Jack (A) was sent into the past.

So jack has been around for Earth's '1941' twice. The first time he was doing what he did for over a hundred years: never leaving Cardiff for fear of missing the Doctor. The second time he was trapped in a glass box.

So when, exactly, did he spend all this time in America?

1 comment:

Gamer-man said...

To be fair, i think he said he hasn't seen the pacific in 70 years meaning in a 1941 he could have served for the commonwealth in australia, but that still requires RTD to write that they broke him out of stasis and sent him to australia to fight before he came back to the UK and into statis, possible though sorta a stretch.