Episode 2.04 'Meat'
Tx: 6th February 2008
Blah de blah, Torchwood, 21st century, Captain Jack voiceover, blah de blah.
So anyway, we're back in Cardiff and hoping that this week's episode will be a little more inspiring than the last. It begins promisingly, because it's lovely Rhys, driving in his lovely car, listening to the lovely radio and beaming in a lovely fashion at his company's lovely advertising jingle. But then his lovely phone rings, and he has to pull over to answer it, because he is a responsible motorist. It's his secretary, Ruth, who tells him one of the drivers from his haulage firm has been involved in an accident. Coincidentally, the accident is right in front of him! [Actually I think that was just sloppy editing. Rhys may not be the brightest condom in the box, but I'm sure even he would've spotted a serious RTA that close by. - Steve]
The lorry driver IS DEAD. Rhys talks to the police officer, explaining that it's his firm, and that the DEAD lorry driver has a wife and baby. Insert your own X-Factor joke here. There are many sirens as the police investigators discover that the lorry was transporting meat. And look! Who approacheth in the distance? Why, it is Team Torchwood!
Captain Jack and his team of efficient pros inspect the large slabs of meat. It has NO BONES - it is just flesh. And, as Captain Jack hasn't noticed any giant cows around recently [apart from Gwen - Steve], he concludes that the meat must be alien. Gwen still hasn't noticed her fiance standing about five yards from her, by the way. Then they drive off again.
Cardiff! Owen is in an attractive plastic green apron today. Gwen is fretting about Rhys's potential involvement with the ALIEN MEAT, calling him "the most honest man I know". That's right, love, and he deserves some honesty in return.
Rhys is back in his Portakabin office. The phone rings - it is a police officer. Except it's not, it's Tosh, doing Acting, and she interrogates him about his knowledge of ALIEN MEAT. [Given the type of lowbrow humour this show likes to deploy, d'you reckon we can get through the whole recap without a joke about Jack's penis? - Steve] It turns out that Rhys's staff's paperwork, initiative and competence would rival Team Torchwood's, and there isn't any record of who they've been dealing with at the ALIEN MEAT TRANSPORTING COMPANY.
Owen has performed a scan that proves the meat is ALIEN MEAT. Ah right, yeah, that famous alien-meat scan. Apparently it's safe to eat. [Nnngggh! Too many jokes! - Steve] As Team Torchwood ponder this, Ianto announces that the pizza has arrived. Heh.
Gwen decides that she should go home to see how Rhys is. [I wish I had the sort of job where I could just swan off on a whim in the middle of the day to visit my boyfriend. Then again, Gwen's such a liability they probably welcome any excuse to get her out of the office. - Steve] She pretends she cares about Rhys's driver dying, and that she knows nothing about the accident. Then she decides to go back to work again. Rhys tells her it was hardly worth her coming home, but she argues that it was, because "I get to see you". Like she cares.
Rhys isn't daft, he knows something is up, so he follows Gwen in stealthy fashion. She meets Jack in very unsecretive fashion, and asks him, "Have you ever eaten alien meat?" I think we all know where this punchline is going to go, don't we? [GAH! And we were doing so well... - Steve] Let's move on. Rhys follows Jack and Gwen in the Obviousmobile to the storage warehouse. Owen and Ianto are recceing it. Tosh is stuck at home. Poor old cow.
Having decided the best plan of action would be to burst in on the warehouse operatives and stun-gun them all, Jack and Gwen finally notice that Rhys has been following them, and they then spot a posse of dodgy boys in a white car. Star detective that he is, Captain Jack immediately decides that because Rhys and the dodgy boys are in the same place, they must be in collusion, and therefore Rhys is in on the ALIEN MEAT SCAM. Gwen refuses to believe that Rhys would lie to her, and goes to get him. Jack grabs her and pushes her against the wall. There is no sexual chemistry here whatsoever, in case you're interested. [Trufax. Unless a huge awkward pause where no one says anything and two people stare at each other's noses passes for sexual chemistry these days. - Steve] The new plan is to let everyone go in the warehouse, wait outside and see what happens. Why the plan should have altered so hugely from the stun-gun one that had been devised 30 seconds earlier simply because Rhys is now perceived to be one of the dodgy boys' gang, I'm not sure.
Anyway, the dodgy boys take Rhys through the warehouse into an office. The office door has blood spattered across the door, just so we all know this is a BAD place. [Also, the leader looks like Sylar.- Steve] Rhys, showing the sense and initiative that will never get him admitted to the Torchwood team, tells the dodgy boys that he is there to replace DEAD Leyton; it'll be him "clearing up old meat" from now on.
The dodgy boys accept this as a plausible reason for him to be there, and take him to meet the big old alien. It's having chunks hacked off it, and it wails and wails. Rhys DOES NOT WANT, and vomits. The dodgy boys tell him they don't know what it is, but no matter how much meat they cut out it keeps growing.
Jack and Gwen, meanwhile, have done bugger all and continue to observe the building. They see the dodgy boys and Rhys leave. They Do Not Understand. Everyone goes home.
Rhys and Gwen's place. Gwen attempts to tell him off for being in cahoots with dodgy boys, and Rhys SHOUTS. Oh my, this is magnificent. He tells her off good and proper about EVERYTHING - about lying to him constantly, to which Gwen responds, "All I ever asked was that you trust me." HA! Yeah, right. Then she has the cheek to criticise him for taking such risky action as entering a warehouse with a bunch of dodgy boys - "You prefer to blunder in without thinking...Heart's in the right place, brain's a million miles away." Sound like anyone else you know? [Well, the only other person in this show who possesses a heart or a brain is Toshiko, so... - Steve] Gwen finally tells Rhys about her alien-hunting metier in life, and he is unimpressed and disbelieving - "Aliens? In CARDIFF?" - so I'm not quite sure what the hell he thought that creature was in the warehouse that regenerates no matter how much it's dismembered and how much it bleeds. [Joan Rivers? - Steve]
Aerial shot of CARDIFF! Tosh, seemingly unscarred by her Lost Love from last week, tries to come on to Owen. It's dull and unsuccessful. [And pretty much flies in the face of what little character development Tosh and Owen have managed so far this series. Who the hell wrote this episode? - Steve] Aerial shot of CARDIFF! Gwen is taking Rhys to Torchwood Three, and has apparently rung ahead to warn her colleagues, like you need clearance to get in that building. Rhys meets the team and asks if they are a cult. Heh. Jack quizzes him about what he saw in the warehouse. Rhys tells him, and Owen does doctor-esque explaining, despite his white coat being nowhere in sight. Tosh realises that this form of meat supply is infinite - "We could feed the world!" "We could release a single," snarks Ianto. Jack, who seems to be competing with Gwen for the title of Most Loathsome Torchwood Team Member this series, shouts at Rhys; Rhys is having none of it and gives him a telling-off too. [And if I may quote verbatim from Jack here: "All you did tonight was mess things up. Now we have to think of a way to get back in, and thanks to you they'll have tightened security." I believe that's Torchwoodese for "We'd like you to work with us. We think you'll fit in perfectly." - Steve]
Rhys is a temporary member of Team Torchwood now, though surely he's far too competent to be recruited permanently. They have a team meeting. There is a reference to Scooby-Doo, which I'd like to think is a knowing wink to the fact that, well, Torchwood is like a grown-up alien-hunting Scooby-Doo, but I'm not sure this show has that much self-awareness. Jack wants to save the alien and send it back through the rift, despite never having seen it. Ianto knows full well if the alien comes back to Torchwood HQ, it'll be him looking after it - "I'll stock up on plankton."
Tosh brings Owen sandwiches, and offers to keep him company, and continues to drop even less subtle hints about the possibility of them having sex. BORED NOW. [Seriously. Tosh's utter failure to read the room here is beyond gross. I hate the way she's written in this episode. - Steve]
Gwen and Rhys have a Serious Talk about the Danger of the alien rescue mission. Rhys tells her that he will stay and be part of the team for this little escapade because he doesn't want to leave her with all the sexy young men. Rhys, Tosh is so sexually frustrated at the moment I suspect you might have more to fear from her. Gwen and Rhys kiss. Jack watches them and glowers. So - what, he loves Gwen now? I thought he was going to take Ianto out for dinner? [Told you it would never happen. - Steve]
Rhys's office. Jack flirts with Ruth the secretary. Ew. [And just so nobody misses some of the quality double entendres here: "Would I need a licence for TRUCKING?" "Yes! It takes four weeks and then you can go long-distance." "Oh, I don't think THAT'll be a problem." Seriously, who writes this garbage? - Steve] Rhys and Jack get into the Obviousmobile, and as they drive Rhys continues to give Jack a good talking-to about his management skills, concluding the rant by asking him if he is gay.
Rhys is sent off to Do His Work - he gets in the front of the delivery van. Team Torchwood get in the back of the van, and are utterly concealed by the impenetrable Welsh flag hanging between the cab and the storage space. Rhys drives into the storage depot, does excellent distraction of the depot staff so that he can release Team Torchwood, and when he goes to open the door THEY HAVE ALREADY GONE.
Yes, of course, they are wandering around the building, stun-guns in hand, making a reasonable attempt at stealth. A man hacks off more bits of the alien, which wails. Jack, Gwen and Tosh inspect his wounds. Jack looks pained, and emotes: "What have they done to you, my poor friend?" Ouch. John Barrowman has many qualities, but serious small-screen acting isn't one of them.
70s American cop show music as Owen and Ianto leap about the bloodied building doing spying and eavesdropping. Dodgy boy number 1 is proved to be heartless and evil because he doesn't care about the lack of sedative in the building, meaning that the alien can feel pain. Owen ransacks the stock of chemicals. Ianto is discovered by the dodgy boys, and they work out that Rhys has worked with him to get him in the building. They punch Rhys and take them both hostage, tying Ianto's wrists together. O NOEZ. Obviously they know that Ianto and Rhys wouldn't be working alone, and lure Gwen out, because SHE LOVES RHYS and does not want him to get hurt. Then Jack and Tosh are spotted because they are bad at stealth. Jack tries to explain to them about the alien. Although they are not listening, it buys Ianto time - he has untied the ropes round his wrists. [Which Nerdeo fails to see, despite standing RIGHT BEHIND HIM. Jesus. - Steve] He is pretty, snarky, clever and supple. The chief dodgy boy is unmoved by Jack's alien information and shoots at Gwen. Hooray! Except Rhys is chivalrous and lovely, so he leaps in front of her and takes the bullet. Boo! Ianto punches the dodgy boy, and chaos ensues. Owen continues to gather more chemicals.
The dodgy boys pack their bags and try to escape. Except Ianto is on the case, and today he is being both sexy and efficient, and stun-guns them all into oblivion. Ha. Owen tries to sedate the distressed alien. Jack shouts at him. SHUT UP. I have shouted, "Fuck off, Jack!" more times tonight than I shout, "Fuck off, Gabriella!" when I watch High School Musical. Meanwhile, while Owen is doing his sedating, Rhys is on the floor bleeding to death, but obviously the doctoring skillz are needed to euthanise the alien instead. Owen has to explain that he's had to perform a mercy killing. Jack looks pained. Finally, Owen does some doctoring on Rhys, which appears to equate to chucking some cotton wool at him. The alien wails some more in its death throes. Owen is sad and apologetic. Tosh takes this opportunity to try and grope him some more.
Cardiff! Rhys is in Torchwood HQ, all bandaged up. Gwen is being a nice girlfriend. Ianto tells him, "Next time, let her take the bullet." [Word, Ianto. - Steve] We discover that the dodgy boys have been amnesiafied, because the crime of mutilating an alien wouldn't stand up in court, so best all round just to forget it. Rhys is sad about the alien. Jack tells Gwen in confidence that Rhys has to be amnesiafied too. Gwen says she'll do it at home. She SO won't. [Why not? It never bothered her before. - Steve]
Outside Torchwood HQ. Rhys is all better now, with just a sling to show for his afternoon's work. He wants an ice-cream. He and Gwen sit by the sea and he talks about the amazingness of alienz and how his life has been changed. Gwen is unimpressed because it's, like, so mundane. Rhys compares himself to Jack, for no real reason. Rhys's phone rings, and Gwen takes the amnesiafying pill out of her pocket.
Torchwood Three. Gwen returns, all sirens and alerts blazing. She is refusing to amnesiafy Rhys. Shocker. Her argument seems to be that Rhys is much nicer than the rest of them, which is true, but not entirely convinced by the logic. [Her argument was also that he did it for her, just in case we forget that Gwen is the centre of the damn universe. - Steve] "I've lied to Rhys for long enough...He did it because he loves me." She says that she'll quit if Rhys has to be amnesiafied. Jack looks cross for all of two seconds, and replies: "Give Rhys my love and I will see you tomorrow." Gwen leaves and returns to Rhys. Jack is watching them on the CCTV. Voyeur. He sees them kiss, and he weeps.
Well, that was...odd, but fun. At least I laughed this week. Join us next week for more Scooby-Doo-Wood!