There’s a moment in Day Two that shows just what Torchwood does so well. Jack’s supposedly dead, and Gwen and Ianto are on the run. Having been split since the explosion in Cardiff Bay at the end of the last episode, Ianto phones up Gwen, whilst husband Rhys panics and gets everything into the car. Gwen asks Ianto where she should meet him, which Ianto shrugs off. Gwen promptly asks ‘Remember where we had the Ice Cream last’, and as her colleague gives her the negative, Gwen replies ‘You know, after the Grand Slam.’
It’s similar to the ‘What’s Occurring?’ line in the previous episode, although this time you really do have to admire the way first-time writer John Fay slots it in. The heat of an epic scene set up through Russell T Davis’ epic cliff-hanger from Day One, Fay fits in a niche joke that’ll have some in stitches, but be lost on most people. He also keeps the action flowing constantly- There’s not a scene without something interesting or exciting happening, and rarely one without an opportunity to laugh.
We where initially jumpy about the new format- One story, spread over five episodes, each one hour long, shown at a key timeslot on BBC One every night for a whole week. Especially when it was said that there were four different writers covering one story. We felt the whole thing could easily fall to pieces, although –as said- Fay picks up directly from where Davis left off, and you can’t see the join at all. It doesn’t feel like one five-hour story condensed down to a number of episodes, just to fill the times slot. Or –In reverse- a single Torchwood story, spread out to fill whatever the BBC has given them. It genuinely feels like different stories, and although they wouldn’t work on their own, they probably wouldn’t work in any other way.
There’s a few parts where we didn’t know what was going on, and one-or-two parts that seemed too far-fetched for even part of the Doctor Who universe, (The bit with the digger and the concrete block comes to mind) but we’ll have to live with that. Otherwise we’d be without Gwen and Rhys, and Jack would be forever buried in concrete.
It’s very well-directed and well-acted by all, and it all really leads to one option: Torchwood is in for a Grand Slam of its own. Played, five, won five? Looks set to be...