Thursday, 21 February 2008

The Apprentice: Martha

Episode 2.06 'Reset'
TX: 20th February 2008


Here we go, bitches. Miss Martha Jones [that's DOCTOR Martha Jones to you and Captain Jack - Carrie] comes to Torchwood. About fucking time.

Cardiff, of course. Torchwood, outside the government, beyond the police, and beyond tangible character development and rational plot continuity. The 21st century is where it all changes, maybe.

Night. Some kind of facility. A Weevil on the loose, being trailed by Owen and Tosh, lookin' fierce holding their torches right alongside their guns like kickass people do on TV. Owen sneaks up on the Weevil, it snarls at him and runs off. Owen finds a body where the Weevil was standing, and informs Tosh that it is dead. He is not wearing his doctor coat when doing this particular piece of doctoring, however, so I don't think it counts as an official medical diagnosis. Although if it did, it would be Diagnosis: Murder. Tee hee. And if you were expecting more sophisticated humour than that, why the hell are you reading a Torchwood recap blog in the first place?

ZOOM CARDIFF PR0N! Torchwood Three reception, with the ever-besuited Ianto on duty. An unseen person enters and Ianto tartly informs the person that they're closing, but the person holds up an ID card (which we only see the back of) which startles Ianto, who gestures the person into the lift [calling her 'Ma'am' as he does so. I LOVE IANTO - Carrie].

Hub. Jack identifies the victim from his papers as Meredith Roberts. Owen thinks the death is potentially non-Weevil related. Ianto informs them over the tannoy that the VIP visitor is here, to which Gwen retorts that she didn't realise they were having a visitor. Because everything that happens at Torchwood must be Gwen-approved, obviously. SHUT UP, GWEN. Jack waxes lyrical about the visitor, who is of course, Miss Martha Jones. Yay! Titles. Freema Agyeman is listed in them. Double yay!

Jack introduces Martha to the gang, and Martha wastes no time in pwning Owen by informing him that she's here to complete his post-mortem. Marry me, Martha! Jack says that Martha Jones is from UNIT. Gwen gets flustered, probably because she is very distressed at the idea of being usurped in everyone's affections by someone prettier and more competent, and asks Jack to explain who UNIT are. Jack explains it as UNIT being more professional and less ad hoc than Torchwood, but in all fairness even Pete Doherty is more professional and less ad hoc than Torchwood. Martha has identified a pattern in a series of recent deaths in South Wales, which are all being written off officially as suicides. Oh, wow. Obviously they can't have known this at the time of filming this episode, but such unfortunate topicality right here. Martha points out a puncture mark from a hypodermic needle on the body and informs Owen curtly that he'll find the bloodstream pumped full of ammonium hydroxide. And if Joel doesn't mind me repeating what he was saying to me earlier, this sort of behaviour would normally be utterly Mary Sue-ish, since Martha is pwning people left, right and centre within minutes of entering the building, but the difference here is that we know what she's capable of. We saw her living rough while travelling the globe undercover for a year to spread the word of the Doctor and save the world. She has earned the right to strut in and belittle whoever she likes. Unlike some people, Gwen.

Tosh gets her hacker on and starts searching the NHS database for Meredith's records, only to find they've been wiped - allegedly by a crash on the NHS servers, but Tosh notes that it's all been erased too cleanly and thoroughly to have been accidental. There's also the fact that the exact same thing happened to all of the victims with similar symptoms that Martha discovered at UNIT.

Jack and Martha have a catch-up. Martha's family is better after their ordeal, and she's pleased to see Jack. Jack flirts. Martha has grown as a person and says she doesn't miss the Doctor. Except maybe a bit, but she made her choice and is sticking to it. Good girl! She's now a qualified medical officer, and possibly [indubitably - Carrie] outranks Jack, which is awesome. Whip these bitches into shape, Martha! Except on this show, the writers would probably take that literally. It turns out that Martha got the UNIT job having been recommended by "an impeccable source", which Martha and Jack take to be The Doctor. Which sort of sucks, given that this was supposed to be about Martha asserting her independence and not being a Gallifreyan's lackey, but Jack suggests that the Doctor probably thought he owed Martha a favour, which is sort of sweet, I guess. Jack adds that they all do - awww. Jack asks for a red cap for Ianto. Dirty!

Gwen drills Martha for dirt on Jack, of course. Martha describes her time with Jack as "intense", which Gwen, who never met a man she didn't want to boff there and then, takes to the dirty place, of course. (In a furious and wounded way, that someone would dare fuck Jack, despite the fact that she's engaged and he's dating Ianto. Let it go, you hag.-Joel) Skank. Martha asks if Gwen is shagging Jack, which Gwen denies [not for the want of trying, though - Carrie]. "We must be the only two people on the planet," declares Martha. Hee!

Martha looks around Torchwood some more (can some plot happen now, please?) and eyes up some alien salvage which Owen claims focuses energy on a fixed point without harming anything that gets in the way, and attempts to scorch a piece of paper without harming the cup that holds it. (I have never in my life seen such an obvious Chekhov's gun in my whole life.-Joel) Unfortunately, he succeeds only in blowing up a piece of equipment perilously close to a passing Ianto, who screams and lobs a trayful of snack into the air before shooting Owen a positively murderous glance. Hee! Ianto informs Jack that there's been another attack following the pattern, only this time on a woman who survived is currently in hospital. DUN DUN DUN!

And the woman is none other than Jan Anderson of Tiger Bay and Casualty fame, whee! Marie (for it is she) is quizzed by Torchwood about her assailant, but doesn't know anything other than the fact that he had a big needle. Marie's dog bit him, and she kicked him in the nuts. Cool. Medical porn to the soundtrack of the Gorillaz, as Owen and Martha don their doctors' coats and do important sciency things. Martha notes that ammonium hydroxide is a weird way to kill someone, and hypothesises that the purpose was not just to kill, but to eliminate evidence in the bloodstream. [Yeah, I'm not sure the science here is all that sound. AGAIN. - Carrie] (Given that bleach won't even clean blood out of the grout if you've got some Luminol, I sincerely doubt it can actually clean blood itself.-Joel)

Torchwood team huddle: Martha announces that the motive of the attacks is to destroy all trace of the victims' medical condition, whatever it may be. The team are assigned jobs - Gwen and Ianto on the criminal investigation, Martha and Owen on medical matters [for they ARE DOCTORS - Carrie], and Tosh will endeavour to recover the medical records, though she frets that the procedures involved in doing so are illegal. I thought Torchwood was outside the government? Doesn't that give them carte blanche on this sort of thing?

Tosh tells Ianto that the police have found another body in Heath Park. Daytime Cardiff pr0n as the Obviousmobile transports them there to find student Barry Leonard, apparently died of toxic shock (I honestly thought that was only what you got from tampons.) but of course we know better.

Back at the hub, Martha points out that the attacks are pointed, not random, and border on assassination. Gwen wonders who would assassinate a student, and Martha guesses (jokingly, I hope) the Student Loans Company, which is totally dumb because then they'd have to write off the debt, so let's just pretend it was Gwen who said that. Deal? Okay, great. They vow to keep looking, but a call comes in from Ianto to say that the hospital has reported Marie having some kind of seizure. Owen thinks it's this strange enzyme they've found in her blood, which neither he nor Martha recognises. Looking over her records, they realise there is absolutely nothing wrong with Marie - indeed, she's so normal, she's abnormal.

At the hospital, Owen asks Marie what's been happening to her. Marie doesn't know. Meanwhile, Gwen and Ianto quiz Barry's best friend [who is quite cute, and also too old to be a student wearing studenty clothes - Carrie], and alarm bells start to ring when Friend casually mentions that time that Barry's diabetes got cured. Gwen asks who performed the miracle cure, but Friend does not know this, only that Barry suddenly had a lot of money. Ianto reports the news to Owen. Owen asks Marie if she had anything seriously wrong with her (although he phrases it a tad more tactfully than I just did), and Marie says that she used to have HIV, until it was cured by the Reset. "Buh?" reply Martha and Owen. Marie starts to cough violently, but has time to say that she got it from The Pharm - a medical research centre. Marie says that she was paid a lot of money to test it, but that she had to keep quiet as it was part of the contract. And then she dies. Sucks to be her, I guess. And then stuff comes shooting out of her mouth. No, seriously. It's maybe magic dust, or bees, or something? Oh, here we go: Owen captures one on his finger and they deduce that it's an alien larva that incubates in human bodies. Say it with me now: ew. It left her body when she died, looking for a new host, but died before it could infect Martha or Owen. Or disinfect them, perhaps. Martha wonders what the cute little bug grows up to be. I'm guessing she really doesn't want to know. (I don't think enzymes turn into dragonflies. Course, I'm not a doctor like Owen, but...-Joel)

Owen does a PowerPoint presentation to the team, and likens the drug to a virus scan on a computer. It's the greatest medical discovery in history, except for the whole part where it involves an alien parasite. Jack asks who runs The Pharm, and Ianto says that the public face is innocent enough. Much like Ianto himself, really. Tosh notes that their IT systems are far more sophisticated than they need to be, which: well, the laptop I'm writing this on now is far more sophisticated than I actually need it to be, but that doesn't mean I'm an evil alien druglord. OR DOES IT? But basically this means they have the ability to delete medical records, as we saw earlier. The head honcho is Dr Aaron Copley, or Jim Robinson to the rest of us. [Hooray! - Carrie] Owen is aware of Dr Jim's reputation; he's outstanding in his field, much like a scarecrow. Thank you, I'll be here all week! Jack perves on him, because really, what else can Jack do?

They arrive at The Pharm, and Jack says "Torchwood" to the security guard, because they're the secret agency that everyone knows about. Dr Jim apologises for them having a wasted journey, and denies all knowledge of ever having met them. He also informs Jack curtly that he's a Professor, not a Doctor. Sorry, Professor Jim. When Professor Jim denies all knowledge of the alien virus, Owen engages Suckup Mode 2 and mentions how helpful Professor Jim's works on immunology were when he was writing his MD thesis. Get you, Molly Mortarboard. The upshot of this being that if there were such a drug that acted like a giant reset button on the immune system, Professor Jim would know about it. Professor Jim agrees that he would, but specifies that no such drug exists. "I had a boyfriend whose nostrils flared when he was lying," Jack muses. Professor Jim invites them to kindly fuck off, unless they want the PR tour. Jack tries to be menacing. Jack fails. [Epicly. - Carrie]

So Jack and Owen go outside into the van, and do some kind of scan that tells them there are a lot of alien life forms in the building. Um, yay?

Tosh is still having trouble retrieving the medical records without letting them know she's onto them (don't know why she's so concerned, when Jack just blustered in there with all the subtlety of a hippopotamus having a wank, but there you go). Ianto's research reveals that they're looking for research subjects, so Martha volunteers herself and her mad doctor skillz to go undercover and investigate. Owen is not keen on the idea, and says as much to Jack in private. Jack's all, "she can totally do it. I'd rely on Martha if the world was ending. OH WAIT I DID."

Ianto shows Martha the plans of the building. There are buildings at the rear which are of restricted security, and Martha is not to go near them. Martha calls Ianto a spoilsport. Martha needs to get access to the IT system and close the firewalls so Tosh can hack in, and then get the hell outta Dodge. Martha mentions the UNIT cap thing to Ianto, who blushes. Martha enquires as to the precise nature of their relationship, and pulls what I have referred to ever since as the "blowjobs, yes?" face. It is awesome. Ianto tells her Jack's "dabbling" is "innovative, bordering on the avant garde". Too much information, thanks.

Martha will be undercover as Samantha Jones, and wearing creepy contact lenses that also serve as a camera and allow Tosh to send text messages that obstruct Martha's field of vision. I can't wait until Martha's at a crucial point in her mission only to be distracted by "ZOMG JACK GOT HIS COK OUT AGEN LOLZ" appearing in her peripheral vision. There's a lot of technobabble here which I shan't bother to transcribe, but let's just summarise: we will see what she sees, hear what she hears.

In the lab, "Samantha" is playing the role of a traveller and being quizzed about precisely where she's been, to check for viruses. Martha almost drops her cover by telling the...nurse? Doctor? Clinical researchologist? that she's very aware of medical issues. Tosh frantically texts her with "!", like duh, and Martha blags that her mum's a nurse. Professor Jim comes in, and Martha tells him she's a creative writing postgrad in desperate need of cash. Professor Jim tells her they have a lot of applicants, and Jack tells Tosh to tell her not to lose him, so Martha thinks quick and tells Professor Jim that she had a hepatitis infection.(I would have loved to see Gwen try and lie her way out of this. She'd just offer a blowjob and a Retcon pill.-Joel) Owen clarifies for the three-toed sloths watching the programme that Martha does not REALLY have hepatitis, this is just her way in. Professor Jim tells her this changes things, and asks her if she's available to start right now. Again, Owen clarifies for stillborn foetuses in the audience that this mean's Martha's in, like WE KNOW, and this causes Jack to namedrop Christopher Isherwood for the second time this evening, for reasons that are completely beyond me. Perhaps because Torchwood has literary aspirations, in which case I'd say acquire a basic grasp of continuity before getting ideas above your station, eh? [I utterly missed this. Will have to watch it again. - Carrie]

Night at Torchwood. Tosh brings Owen some coffee, and remarks on how beautiful Martha is, and how she is also a doctor, because Tosh is afraid that Martha is Owen's perfect woman, apparently unaware of my vow that if Owen goes anywhere near my beloved Martha with his dirty rapist penis I will cover him in barbeque sauce and feed him to Myfanwy. Owen says that Martha is not interested in him, and also thinks that Jack will kneecap him if he tries anything anyway. Jack will have to GET IN LINE, bucko. In a belated attempt at continuity, Owen asks Tosh what happened to the pool tournament she was organising back in 'Meat', and Tosh finally grows a pair and explains that it wasn't a tournament, she was asking him out on a date. Owen asks if she still wants that, and Tosh replies in the affirmative. Then, Owen takes her up on the date. No, seriously. Tosh, of course, thinks he's taking the piss, but Owen is sincere: one date, and they'll see where it goes, which may be nowhere. Tosh is fine with that. Owen clarifies that he's still allowed to flirt. Tosh agrees, and then runs off to write the best Dear Diary entry EVAR.

Back to Martha at Professor Jim's House of Dubious Alien Parasites, snooping around some corridors. Owen texts "BE CAREFUL", which: duh, (Srsly. LEFT FOOT RIGHT FOOT MARTHA.) and Martha walks along some more corridor. Tense music plays. Martha finds a locked door. Tosh uses Applied Phlebotinum to hack the door open, but oh noes, security people are coming. Quickly, Tosh, quickly! It scrolls down digit by digit in that way that password-unlocking programs only ever do on TV rather than just giving you the damn answer all in one go, but Martha escapes just in time, of course.

In the office, Martha finds a computer, and Tosh gains remote access to it. IT's not very exciting to watch. The parasite is called the Mayfly, and it is apparently beautiful but lethal. Just like Ianto, I'm guessing. Now that they have access to all of the top secret data, Jack tells Martha to GTFO. Gwen looks thoughtfully at a computer screen, for all the world like she has a clue. Nice try, Gwen, but you're not fooling me. Martha is attempting to sneak back to her quarters when an alarm goes off, signalling a breakout in sector A, which I'm guessing is that huge restricted section at the rear. Fnar. Owen texts Martha to get to safety, and Martha climbs out of a window. Gwen locates the subject data on the computer, and confirms that Meredith, Billy and Marie were all there. Didn't we know that anyway? She also happens upon the record of The Pharm's hitman, which is conveniently lying around in the same place. Damn those villains and their illogical filing methods! She also finds the records of an Elin Morgan, who has not yet been reported missing or dead. But for how long?

Martha tries to break out, but has to hide when the security squad come running to the gate. Owen points out that The Pharm hires hitmen and would have no qualms about bumping off teh Martha, and Jack's suddenly all "yeah, and I put her in there." Nice time to worry about that now, fathead.

Something is creeping up behind Martha, and then a radiation surge causes Torchwood to lose the signal from her magick contact lenses. Rather stupidly, this apparently causes Martha immediate pain and she has to take the lenses out. Nice work, Team Torchwood. Temporarily Incapacitating Contact Lenses. Just what every girl needs when surrounded by murderous biotechnicians. Anyway, Martha is on her knees when a giant mayfly swoops around the corner. She runs and hides behind some bins, but is shot by a tranquiliser dart intended for the fly. Doh!

Ianto and Gwen are in the Obviousmobile. They're tracing Billy Davis's (he's the chief hitman) mobile on the GPS, and he's three minutes away from Elin Morgan's flat. Ianto floors it.

Elin's flat. Billy enters with a big needle. He's about to inject her IN THE EYE EW EW EW when Gwen bursts in guns ablaze, and Ianto stuns him. [Too. Many. Jokes. But I do love when my Ianto does stun-gunning. - Carrie] (Word. I just want a show where Martha calls someone a twat and then Ianto stuns them.-Joel)

The Pharm. Martha is strapped to a lab table in a crucifixion-style position. Kind of like Jesus, but not in a sacrilegious way. Martha snits that she's a clinical volunteer and they can't do this to her, but Professor Jim has other ideas. He knows she lied to her. Martha pretends not to know about Torchwood. Professor Jim informs her that "Torchwood is irrelevant to us", which: hee!, and adds that really they've done him a favour. He says that they've analysed her test results, and she really is something special. Ooer.

Torchwood Three. Billy Davis is tied to a chair at Owen's mercy. I smell a rapin' in the offing! Bily won't talk so Jack sets the Weevil on him. Billy agrees to talk so Ianto pepper sprays the Weevil. Billy tells us what we basically already know - that the subjects were going to die anyway, so he had to get them before they displayed any weird symptoms in public.

The Pharm. Professor Jim tells "Samantha" that her lymphocytes are very special indeed, and unlike any human ones he's ever seen - more like alien ones, he thinks. The Researchologist tells Martha her lymphocytes "and God knows what other cells" have mutated from radiation not found on Earth. Professor Jim says that he's dealt with aliens before, but never anything as exotic as her - a human being who has travelled in time and space. He asks her how it's possible, what she saw. Martha plays dumb. Professor Jim is not discouraged - he's developing a revolutionary drug that can cure anything, and he'd like to see how it reacts to Martha's mutant lymphocytes. Martha is understandably unkeen about taking the drugs, but of course she volunteered, didn't she? Uh oh.

Torchwood Three. Jack tells Billy they're going into the Pharm and they need him to make it happen. Billy starts to cough up blood. Jack informs Owen that they need Billy alive, which is approximately the 56th line of utterly redundant and obvious dialogue so far this episode. Owen points the alien artifact from earlier at Billy, saying he's sure he's got it right this time. He homes in on the alien parasite inside Billy, and...Billy's guts explode everywhere. So much for certainty. Owen deduces that Billy must have breathed in one of the larvae when one of his victims died, and has a little "there but for the grace of God go I, or Martha" moment.

Down on The Pharm, Martha has been given twice the critical dose of Reset, and is fitting moderately. Researchologist has an attack of conscience, but Professor Jim tells her to keep her nerve.

Torchwood Three. Tosh has an idea of how they can use Billy's erupted corpse to get access to the Pharm. Ianto calls her "warped on the inside". Hee.

The genius plan basically involves Tosh driving the Obviousmobile remotely from the back, while Billy's Probably Rotting Corpse sits up the front like a Victorian sideshow. We do not discover what they would have done if the man at the gate had spoken to him in any way and required some sort of answer, but perhaps Tosh knew that the guard doesn't have his Equity card yet. (I would have loved to see Tosh throwing her voice.-Joel)Inside, Jack sends Tosh, Gwen and Ianto to investigate Zone A while he and Owen go after Martha.

And they find her in record time! Wow, Torchwood are awesome. Jack asks Professor Jim precisely what the fuck he is doing to Martha, and Professor Jim says, in wonder, that she's the only subject to survive past the larval stage. The insects practice sibling cannibalism until only the strongest one is left. Oh, just like Iant...no, wait, that's not going to work this time. Owen does doctory things with his white coat mysteriously absent to try to save Martha.

Meanwhile, Tosh, Ianto and Gwen are in Zone A. Researchologist is here, doing something shifty. Gwen pounces on her, and Tosh finds something disturbing in a giant glass case.

In the lab, Owen thinks Martha is dying. And that's it.

Back in Zone A, the creature in the glass case is a Weevil, which is being farmed for pesticides. No, seriously. (They're all, 'It is Unethikul to farm teh w33v1lz!', but apparently keeping one on a length of chain to menace prisoners with and then pepper-srpaying it in the face is happy weevil fun time.-Joel) The Researchologist says that the Weevil isn't what will get them "the Nobel", which is the point at which you know she's totally batshit, and points them towards a giant mayfly in a case, which looks pretty sickly. Ianto touches his ear, much like Phillip Schofield and reports back to Jack. Gwen looks on kindly at the mayfly. She's probably thinking about shagging it.

In the lab, Jack orders a total shutdown of the centre, and basically calls Professor Jim a murderer. Professor Jim defends his work on the grounds that all of the people who died would've died anyway if they hadn't taken part in the programme, so the world's win/loss ledger essentially remains unaffected, or something. Jack says again that he's going to close the place down, and Professor Jim's all "you and what army, boyo?" and Jack's all "no army, just my 1337 c0mput0r skillz!" Professor Jim denounces him for cyber-terrorism [Alan Dale actually delivers that ridiculous line with some semblance of conviction - Carrie], and Jack blathers on about tripping the fuses of somesuch and flooding half the centre with inert gases and other vaguely chemically menacing phrases like that. Professor Jim protests that they're on the same side. Jack is well up on his high horse by this stage and claims it is in fact not so. Martha is fitting quite severely at this point, so Owen pulls out the alien MacGuffin to try to fry her parasites without turning her insides out this time. Of course, this time it works, because Freema Agyeman is contracted for another two episodes and due back on the Tardis in season four. Mission accomplished!

Team Torchwood evacuates the farm, and Tosh is sealing its fate on her laptop, presumably. Owen prescribes rest for Martha [goodness, it was worth all that work on his MD thesis with that kind of diagnostic skill - Carrie] and flirts with her a bit, and Martha tells him she has a boyfriend. Gwen escorts the Researchologist out at gunpoint. Tosh shuts down the facility remotely, and some aliens scream in their death throes. And then suddenly there is Unexpected Jim, who appears with a gun, asking if they really thought they'd get away with it that easily. I'm guessing the answer to that question is "yes". Owen stands in front of Martha with his hands in the air and tells Professor Jim not to be so stupid. Professor Jim shoots Owen in the chest. He then stands there idly for a bit, telling Martha that she's next, because it says in the script that he should do this rather than just shooting her there and then as any sentient villain would do. This, of course, gives Jack a chance to put a bullet through Professor Jim's brain. [Nooooooooo! - Carrie] Everyone rushes to Owen's aid. Martha does medical things to him, but it's all for naught: Owen expires right there on the floor. So much for Tosh's happy ending. Gwen looks very sad, possibly because this is not all about her. The camera pans up, up, and away.

Next week: Owen is on a slab, and Martha is doing his autopsy. There's some kind of alien smoke monster, and maybe the Grim Reaper. See you then!

1 comment:

RAD said...

You missed Martha being the queen of innuendo re: Jack/Ianto.

And did I spot a wee homage to my avatar in there?