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TORCHWOOD

Children of Earth:

Day Five

WE'VE GONE there. Check the bottom of the page. We meant that. Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see a great big ’10’ at the bottom of the page. And that said ten happens to be the first-ever perfect score here on KN. Yes, the final episode of Torchwood really was that good.

 

Torchwood’s first series was –Whisper it- not that good. Too much of it felt like Russell T Davis and crew where just trying to say “Look guys, this isn’t Doctor Who!”, and ignoring plot and character completely. The second series was a massive improvement, and a few episodes outdid the main series it’s self. This third mini-series, however, is quite simply among the best things ever produced by that team from BBC Wales.

 

We may of lost Tosh and Owen end of last season, and Ianto’s tragic death in the previous episode left the Torchwood team at just three people, (One of which only just became a full member) but the series  still keeps going. And still keeps improving in the same way- This episode is the pinnacle of the series.

 

It kicks off with one of the most disturbing concepts we’ve ever seen on TV. We’re told why the Four-Five-Six (The villains of the piece) want 10% of the human race’s children. We’re not even going to explain why- We couldn’t do the concept justice, explaining it badly, and you’ll know what we’re on about if you’ve seen the episode and if you haven’t, -Well- it’d almost be worth watching all 5 episodes just for that one twist. Whoa, it’s a cocker, but a chilling one at that.

 

Sticking with the Four-Five-Six, the monster is excellently executed. By keeping it contained within a glass container all series, but knowing it has the power to kill the world, (As it did Ianto) but not actually showing us what it physically looks like, it kept an air of suspense by making us wonder exactly what the thing was, with our knowledge of the way it can slaughter keeping us afraid. Its’ voice is chilling, if slightly daft, and by also keeping us in the dark as to its motives, we’re more determined to watch on through the rest of the series. It’s one of the better aliens that have come from the minds of the Upper Boat staff.

 

Torchwood is a little trigger-happy at times, killing off characters left, right and centre. Here, we see five bit the bullet, and whilst all of them where introduced in the first episode of this series, we felt we knew them far better than that. Both death scenes moved us to tears- In particular that of John Frobisher. Peter Capaldi had been good all season, as had director Euro Lyn, and all the writing crew. With Bridget Spears, who we haven’t actually mentioned in any episode review yet, giving a beautifully done monologue on him, whilst the music harps away in the background, pulling a chord. The camera pans out from the half-shut bedroom door, as John walks in on his family, gun behind his back. Four gun shots come gradually, but far more tears came, and also at a far quicker pace.

 

 

The funny thing is, we hadn’t liked Frobisher at all. He’d really got on our nerves early on, although we saw that as how the character had been made more than anything else. Now, we’re looking back on that scene. Why did we cry? A similar question has to be raised over the whole episode. Why did we enjoy it so much? After all, all that’s happening is that there’s a guy who can’t die blowing up some alien who’s trying to nick some kids.

 

The answer’s simple. It’s been so well-written and so well-made, it’s tough to possibly dislike it. In years to come, these will go down as a genuine classic, and five of the greatest hours of science fiction ever made. There wasn’t a dull moment. Even those blimmin’ cabinet meetings that peppered the story where well-made, and had a constant cold air to them. The way the Four-Five-Six demanded 10% of world’s kids instead of all of them was far scarier than it would have been if they’d demanded all of them. The latter would have been far-fetched, and would lead to an immediate ‘No’. In keeping the figures low, we got the chilling idea the world really where going to do the deal, and decide how many children, or ‘Units’ they’d ship out. All of them agreed this was the best idea- As long as their own kids weren’t used, never sparing a thought for anyone outside the room. It was the same with everyone- They wouldn’t spare their own offspring, and so that was what made the climax all the more appealing.

 

Captain Jack Harkness isn’t quite human. For one, he can’t ever die, (As shown in the horrible skin-less scene in Episode Two) and secondly he’s the only one brave enough to make sacrifices, even if they really are for the greater good. With the entire Earth cuddling close to their children or just watching helplessly as the army carried them off, (The scenes with everyone fighting back where good, though. Johnson was a pain in the neck before, but fighting for everyone’s children –With PC Andy also joining in- was a fine moment indeed.) Jack was the only one who had a plan in his mind. After being prompted by that weird guy who always just happened to be there throughout the series, he was moved to make the ultimate sacrifice: He was going to kill his own grandchild to save the world.

 

However, we weren’t 100% sure that was how it was going to work. As the Four-Five-Six vanished and Steven was still gyrating like mad, jack and daughter Alice where both panic-stricken. Blood pouring out of his nose and eyes dead, the said Grandson began to collapse. We were expecting him to jump right back up. We were expecting Russell T Davis to see killing a child of nine as too dark. Oh, how wrong we where. Steven laid there- Dead. And Torchwood never looked back.

 

Jack, however, did. And as a result, we were left with a scene Six Months Later where Gwen’s almost ready to give birth, Rhys is still complaining and panicking, but Jack’s travelled the world, and now John Barrowman’s ready to give the acting performance of his life. Seriously, he has to stop doing all these talent shows and documentary voice-overs. This is what he’s good at, and it’s really a wasted talent.

 

As the captain declares he’s never returning to the planet, we were pretty shocked, although the shock didn’t override the emotion, as we let out our third and final tear-set of the night. Jack beams off, Gwen & Rhys walks off, and Torchwood gets the end it deserves. The only thing lacking was the score it deserved. Oh wait...

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