Thursday, 28 February 2008

Things to do in Cardiff when you're Death

Episode 2.07 ‘Dead Man Walking’

TX: 28th February 2008

Aerial shot of Cardiff! Drink! Torchwood - outside the government, beyond the police. On the evidence of last week though, that’s more of a ceremonial position. Oh well.

You may have forgotten what happened last week, but Owen is DEAD. He has a big hole in his chest. It must still be the same day as last week, because Ianto’s wearing the same black suit-red shirt combination. Martha’s dressed up in her autopsy clothes. Everyone else has gathered round to watch, and I’m sorry but how fucking ghoulish are these people? [Because he is a valuable member of the team, and at least three of them fancy him, so obviously they get their jollies from watching him sawn open. - Carrie] I’m going to lightly skip over the question of why an autopsy is actually necessary when it’s fucking obvious how he died and they all saw it happen. It’s like they just do it for kicks, the sickos. But wait! Jack bursts in and is all like, “STOP! Nobody touches him till I get back! Is that clear?” So were they all going to take turns autopsifying him? And is Jack making an urgent call to his local Necrophiliacs Anonymous meeting?

No, he seems to have gone to some sort of Victorian opium den. A young girl tells the bouncers to let him in because she’s been “looking forward to seeing the Captain again”. Christ, just when you thought Jack couldn’t stoop any lower... what would Jeremy Kyle think? Oh, it’s okay, she’s just some kind of tarot-reading fortune-teller type. He discovers “it” is hidden in a church, and I’m sure he isn’t talking about a resurrection glove, because that would definitely not make a comeback, right? (Superswots may remember Ianto's ominous comment that gloves "come in pairs" from last series.) The girl says that “When they found out what it could do, they built the church around it.” Then she’s all like, “If I told you bad things will happen, will you still use it?” and he’s all like, “You know why I want it,” and she turns round the Death card. Oh, THAT is what you might use a RESURRECTION GLOVE for! She must have real occult power to work that out. As an aside, why do TV shows always take tarot so bloody literally? If they bothered to do any research, they’d realise that Death doesn’t actually mean death, but they’re probably too busy surfing for alien porn. Oh, and it’s in St Mary’s Church. [What, the alien porn? - Carrie]

A church. We know it is St Mary’s because a big sign says so. Captain Jack has his trusty torch. The floor seems to be covered with sleeping weevils. They really ought to get pest control in. Captain Jack has to be extra stealthy. He makes it through, but I think he should concentrate more on where he’s going and less on glancing over his shoulder. Then he does very bad stealth whilst opening a big box full of old dolls. D’oh! It’s a bit like the Crystal Maze. Uh-oh, he’s woken the weevils. You’ve only got 30 seconds, Captain Jack – get out! Get out! Or it’ll be an automatic lock-in and a mauling even he might struggle to recover from. He grabs the box and legs it. [Dear Torchwood, please never force me to sit through an entire scene of Barrowman wordlessly hamming it up ever again. Cordially yours, Steven.]

Captain Jack returns to Torchwood Three with the box. There’s an alarm going off, but I’m not sure why. I’m pretty sure there isn’t an alarm that goes off every time Captain Jack enters the building, although, on reflection, there probably should be. What’s in the box? OMGZ, it’s the resurrection glove! I bet NOBODY was predicting that. Mainly because it seems like such a terrible idea, going on its past form, so inevitably it had to be Plan A. Captain Jack: “I’m using the glove. I’m bringing Owen back.”


Gwen, for a change, is acting sensible and cautions Captain Jack against using the glove because they can’t work it. Jack says it has to work for him and he’s not going to give it any choice – I think he’s saying the glove is his bitch. Yes, he really is going to resurrect Owen, if only for two minutes, so “If you’ve got anything to say to Owen, now’s your chance.” I can’t imagine there would be anything that urgent he needs to know before he dies. Again. Jack gets to work, pulling his best orgasm face, and the dialogue does nothing to help: “Owen, hear my voice... He’s coming!” Is that possible when you’re dead? Poor Ianto will probably have to clean it up later. Anyway, Owen wakes up, suitably confused, and Jack explains what’s going on and tells everyone to say their goodbyes. Tosh is all “I’m going to miss you and I love you - always have,” which: duh, and Owen is probably thinking, “You brought me back for that?” Then Captain Jack says he needs to know the code for the alien morgue, which is pretty shit information management on their part, and Owen is seriously offended that’s the only reason why he brought him back. Jack is all like, “I know what death is because IT IS LIKE I AM DEAD and I want you to be ready.” Owen mutters something about darkness and Captain Jack tells him to “Be brave”. Then Owen is dead again. Violin music swells. I guess he must be really dead this time. Captain Jack clutches his hand. Is anyone falling for this? Well, Ianto looks a bit teary. [It's kind of funny that Burn Gorman only looks fractionally more pallid than usual. - Steve] Then – OMGZ, he is NOT DEAD. Owen: “I’m really going to need that hand back.” Jack realises he has stopped using the glove, but Owen’s STILL ALIVE. He and Tosh exchange looks, and I’m sure she’s wishing she had made sure he was going to be properly dead before she went shooting her mouth off like that. Owen thinks maybe he wasn’t meant to die and is being kept alive. “Somebody pass me my pants.” Behind them, the glove is twitching. That can’t be good, can it?

Owen, because although he is DEAD, he is still A DOCTOR, is examining himself and discovers he has no heartbeat or pulse. Martha tells him that he can’t lead the investigation because he’s the subject of it, and also because HE IS DEAD. Plus he isn’t wearing his white lab coat. Gwen says Suzie survived because she was draining energy from Gwen, so maybe Owen is draining energy from Jack, but Jack says he feels fine so it can’t be him.

Tosh tries scanning Owen with her handheld magic scanner of goodness, but doesn’t find anything. Ianto postulates that because this is a different glove, they don’t really know whether it works differently. Perhaps Captain Jack should have thought of that before he used it? Tosh is off to do an analysis of the glove. J: “Owen, I don’t need to tell you that you’re under quarantine.” Owen: “You don’t, and yet you still do.” Same snarky old Owen, then. [Not bloody surprised. Jack is a famous incompetent, whose one strength lies in not BEING DEAD. Owen may be an amoral mind-rapist, but at least he's a DOCTOR and serves a purpose. - Carrie]

Gwen calls Rhys, rudely waking him up just because she’s upset, and he teases her about never coming home, and she cries down the phone at him. Now Rhys is all worried, and all she says is “Tough day.” Poor Rhys.

Owen tells Martha she’s kind of cute when she frowns. She gives him some kind of monitoring bracelet. Owen is concerned about the logistics of flirting now he is DEAD and whether it’s “still necrophilia if I’m conscious”. Ewww. [But it's fine with the object of HIS affections is the one who's unconscious. - Steve] Martha wants to know what it’s like to die. Owen is reluctant to tell her because he doesn’t think the living should know. Martha demands that he tells her, but he makes up some stuff about rushing towards the light and pearly gates. Martha calls him an idiot. Owen ‘fesses up that there was nothing, but Suzie said that there was something beyond life, something in the darkness. Suddenly Owen collapses – oh noez!

Owen is in a dark and wibbly place. It might be what it feels like to be on psychotropic drugs and trapped in a nutshell. [It's also like that terrible, terrible episode of Charmed where Kaley Cuoco runs past some anthropomorphised playing cards whilst trying to act "scared". Thanks for reminding me of that, Torchwood. - Steve] Then, just as suddenly, he’s back in Torchwood and tells Martha about the darkness and that there was something waiting for him. Then he clings to Captain Jack and cries like a girl. For fuck’s sake, Owen, I know you’re dead but have some dignity, man!

Torchwood Situation Room. Martha explains that Owen’s cells are not decaying but changing into an energy she can’t identify. Gwen asks whether the energy in the glove came from “the same dark place” as Owen went when he collapsed. Jack asks Owen where he thinks he went, thereby trumping Gwen for the stupidest question of the episode, because if he knew that, they wouldn’t be sitting around brainstorming it.

Meanwhile, Tosh is concerned about damage control. “What I said before - I thought you were dying.” Owen says he knows she didn’t mean it, which: just how clueless is he? He says it’s not love, just grief. Tosh is about to correct him, but Owen says he’s going to the toilet.

Oh dear, Owen’s back in the dark and wibbly again, with additional scary voice. Now he’s back in Torchwood, but his eyes have turned black, which is never a good sign [unless he popped out for some laser eye surgery on the quiet - Steve], and he starts spouting some guttural growly language. It might be Welsh. Hmmm, do we think he’ll mention this to the others?

Martha has been monitoring Owen, and has noticed that his energy level went “off the scale”. Tosh says he went to the loo, and Martha points out that his digestive system has shut down so he wouldn’t need the loo. Jack reassures everyone that Owen isn’t dangerous. Martha gets all haughty and wants to know why Jack didn’t mention to UNIT that they discovered something with the power to bring people back to life, then points out that Owen is currently only 50 per cent human, and that 50 per cent is DEAD, and they need to stop thinking of him as Owen.

Owen seems to be in some kind of music video. No, wait, it’s Cardiff city centre. There are bright lights. He’s gone clubbing, so whatever it is that’s taking him over must be, like, really evil. When you’re dead, what better to do than go out drinking Guinness? Especially when your digestive system has shut down. A woman dressed as an angel, so presumably on a hen night, comes up to flirt with Owen at the bar, but her choice of chat-up line is poor: “Smile, it won’t kill you!” This is followed by the incredibly subtle, “You’re gorgeous, you are.” Owen comes over all manly and snogs her. She reaches into his pants, only to be disappointed. Welsh slapper: “Don’t you like me?” Hasn’t she heard of foreplay? Owen realises that no blood is pumping round his body, meaning even all the Viagra in the world will be no good to him now. Captain Jack turns up. Owen is all, like, “How’d you find me?” He seems to have forgotten his tracking bracelet. He’s still sore about being brought back for an alarm code. Owen and Jack do a bit of girly shoving, then Owen tries to punch Jack but misses, then the bouncers step in and chuck them out. There are police waiting outside the club, so they were obviously expecting trouble. Owen tries to tell them he’s “special ops”, and Jack does his best drunk normal person impression, “Special needs, more like, huhuhuh.” They must have found some cops who haven’t actually heard of Torchwood.

A jail cell. Owen rails at the guards and kicks the door. Jack reminds him that he is DEAD and, “If you break your ankle, what are the chances it’ll knit back together?” Owen then realises the error of his ways, in that the alcohol won’t go anywhere because his digestive system isn’t working, forcing him to stand on him head in order to line up his oesophagus or something, and then he projectile vomits across the room. Jack: “That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.” Insert your own joke here. Owen farts, just to gross him out a bit more, and then whines about all the things he can’t do now he’s dead. Jack: “Only in suffering do we recognise beauty.” O: “Who said that? Jack: “Proust.” Owen: “You’ve read Proust?” Jack: “Yes. Well, no... we dated for a while. He’s really immature.” Owen: “No one takes you seriously when you say those things.” I don’t think anyone takes him seriously anyway, to be honest. Jack: “When you’ve lived as long as I have, you don’t make it up.” Owen whinges some more about how it’s not fair that Jack will live forever, but Jack reckons forever is overrated because you get blasé about life and you send your friends into danger knowing they might get killed while you walk away unscathed. Owen asks why Jack wanted to bring him back - guilt? Jack: “No... I wasn’t ready to give up on you. I guess I was hoping for a miracle. I still am.” Bleurgh. Captain Jack decides they’re done with their male bonding session, “Let’s go home.” Then he bangs on the door and starts spouting his Torchwood authorisation. So how come the police are going to listen to him now, when they completely ignored Owen before?

Meanwhile, back in Torchwood Three. Deputy Chief Gwen tells the others that Jack has called in, he’s found Owen and they’re coming back. Tosh asks if Owen is himself, then reveals that in a moment of stalkerish madness, she wanted to know why Owen left, so she checked the CCTV. Lucky he was right in front of a camera when he had his crazy schizo episode, eh?

Outside the police station, Jack and Owen are being stalked by weevils. Lots of weevils. How come Torchwood keep one pet weevil locked in the basement, but aren’t bothered by hordes of them roaming around Cardiff? I’m just asking. Jack thinks the weevils are after him because he stole the glove from them, and they run away. Into a car park. Is it just me, or does a lot of Torchwood’s action take place in car parks? Having escaped from immediate danger (although whether a man who can’t die and a man who is dead are actually in danger is debatable), they stand around a bit. Jack tells Owen to “Stay here.” Owen looks alert. Jack looks around a bit. He sees a weevil. Now there are many weevils. They run off again, up to the roof of the car park. Is that the same car park where Captain John materialised? Anyway, perhaps running down instead of up would have been a good idea, because now the weevils have cornered them on the roof. [Fear not, kids, because Jack is good on roofs. - Carrie] Jack tells Owen to go behind him and whips out his weapon. [NOT LIKE THAT. God. - Steve] Just as he’s wondering whether he brought enough bullets, the weevils all start grovelling. Jack probably thinks they’re worshipping him, but it’s Owen – he’s turned mental again. Captain Jack looks worried.

Back at Torchwood, Tosh has realised it might help to know what Owen was saying, so Ianto gets the Alien Translaty Thing of Greatness out of the vault. The words translate as: “I shall walk the earth and my hunger will know no bounds.” Gwen: “I’ve got a really bad feeling about this.” Jack: “You don’t know the half of it.” They are back unscathed, it seems.

Down in the dungeon, Owen observes the pet weevil’s reaction to him. “King of the weevils. That ain’t good.” Gwen has been kind of useful and found the first ever pictures of the Grim Reaper in an article about the Black Death and reveals that the person who said those words was “Death himself”. Owen points out that he is DEAD, not Death, and there is a difference. Gwen asks whether the weevil knows that. She calls the weevil “he”, but I’m pretty sure in an earlier episode they said it was a girl weevil.

Torchwood Situation Room. Gwen explains that the picture she found is a wood carving from the 15th century, from a small parish called St James. They built a wall around the town to keep the plague out, but it didn’t stop a little girl dying. I’m not an expert on the Black Death or anything, but I thought it was highly contagious and the chance of just one person catching it was pretty slim, but what do I know? Anyhoo, the parish priest performed a miracle (which nobody seems to bat an eyelid at) and brought the girl back to life – the only trouble is she brought Death with her and he walked amongst them. Tosh is appropriately sceptical about Gwen having done research, and asks if they are “seriously going to act on something she’s Googled?” Hee. Putting all the pieces together – because they need to spell it out – the name of the church was St Mary’s, which was the church where Jack got the glove, and the Parish of St James became Cardiff. 12 people died before, but Death needed 13 souls to get a permanent hold on Earth, but they only know that what stopped death was “faith”.

Martha is worried that the energy is making Owen a host. Owen realises that the monster wasn’t waiting in the dark for him – it’s “trying to get here through me”. An alarm goes off. It’s Owen’s bracelet. It’s at 80%. Owen is worried about turning out to be a monster. Jack reminds him that, “Even if we have to fight you, you’re already dead.” Not sure how that helps. Owen is determined to take positive action by embalming himself with formaldehyde, thereby petrifying his neural pathways and freeze-drying his brain – “It’s the only way to be sure.” I must observe that Owen’s not looking very corpse-like. Suzie looked awful when she was brought back from the dead. [Awful in a FIERCE way, obviously. - Steve]

Owen is preparing for his selfless sacrifice. Gwen asks him whether he’s sure about it. Owen replies that formaldehyde is full of carcinogens, but he doesn’t really need to worry about that. “I can’t sleep, drink or shag – three of my favourite things.” Gwen gives him a hug. Owen whispers that he “came back different... hollow, like I’m missing something. I do not want to be like this.” A single tear runs down Gwen’s cheek. Owen: “I’m ready.” They nod cursorily at each other.

Owen walks nostalgically through Torchwood to the autopsy room. Ianto looks respectful. Martha says the level is at 95%, so Owen says, “Let’s not waste any more time. No goodbyes.” Martha turns to get her syringes and sees the glove moving. It flies at her, but with Gwen’s help she manages to climb out of the autopsy pit. Jack tells Owen not to move and everyone else spreads out. Ianto wields an hockey stick, and Jack looks at him like, “What the hell are you going to do with that?!” Martha thinks the glove went under a cabinet. Everyone looks tense. Martha stupidly leans over the railng to look, and the glove jumps up on to Martha’s face in a definite Alien facehugger tribute/rip-off. How the glove propelled itself is anyone’s guess. Martha’s hand has gone all wrinkly. They might have to send Ianto out for emergency Oil of Olay supplies. Owen traps the glove under his foot and demands Jack’s gun. Jack throws it to him. I think Team Torchwood may need some firearms safety training. Owen blasts the glove into a million pieces. Gwen is all, “Oh my God. Martha!” The glove seems to have aged her. Their old-age make-up is as good as it was in the last series of Doctor Who, ie absolutely terrible. [It took me literally till the second time of watching it to actually work out that she was supposed to look old. - Carrie] [I thought it had turned her part-Weevil. - Steve] The team turn to Owen for help, because he is a DOCTOR, but he has turned all demonic again. Then black smoke starts coming out of his head and forms a big smoky monster shape and leaps at the camera.

Jack wakes up outside the hospital. Team Torchwood are inside. Owen is looking a bit the worse for wear. Gwen is all, “Police officer!” (I though Torchwood were beyond the police? “I need a medic now!” I’m not sure how they’re expecting the medical staff to cure Martha of premature old age. The smoky Death monster is roaming free. A nurse comes along and Gwen feeds her some crap about them all being Martha’s neighbours. She’s dehydrated and, erm, something about her blood cell count, and it’s all putting great strain on heart. The nurse guesses that she must be about 80 and isn’t very optimistic, but Gwen asks her to do what she can.

Martha, looking at herself in the mirror, croaks that, “It must be death because it’s stolen my life.” Gwen is more bothered about working out how Death was stopped the last time after killed only 12 people, and what the whole faith thing is all about. Captain Jack tells Ianto they need answers, and he whips out his laptop, which presumably has mobile internet. Is he allowed to use that in a hospital? Oh well, I expect Torchwood are beyond the NHS. Jack says he wants Owen back at the hub because he’s not safe, but Owen says he knows what it is – hunger. Jack looks out of the window to see weevils creeping towards the hospital – “It’s here.” Jack doesn’t think it followed them though – probably it just senses the near-dead. “If you were death, wouldn’t you target a hospital?” [I'd target Gwen, first and foremost. - Steve]

In another ward, smoky Death creeps along the floor and a middle-aged woman flatlines. She reaches for the panic button and misses, as it forms into a more traditional Grim Reaper skeleton-type shape.

Gwen and her loud mouth take charge, telling everyone that they need to evacuate the hospital, and broadcasting the fact that they work for Torchwood, in case anyone didn’t recognise them. Everyone leaves, except a child who is hiding in the toilet playing on his PSP and wearing headphones. He’s wearing a bandana, so he obviously has cancer. [And his PSP appears to be from 1980. - Steve] Jack tells Ianto to hack into the hospital communications system, but Ianto has already done it because he rules. Jack says they need to do a body count.

A nurse has noticed the missing boy, whose name is Jamie. She looks under the bed for him, but Death materialises behind her. The prognosis doesn’t look good.

Jack and Gwen are on the sixth floor counting fatalities. Their total comes to 8, meaning there are at least five to go. Jack realises that, “There are five of us.”

Tosh and Owen are on a separate floor. Tosh points out that even if they find Death, they have no idea what to do with it. Ianto says he’s trying to Google the phrase, “I shall walk the earth and my hunger will know no bounds”, but he keeps getting redirected to Weightwatchers. Owen says, “It’s here, I can feel it.” Tosh is creeped out. Owen says he’s “not exactly reassuring myself”.

Jamie is in an eerily orange-lit ward. He drops his PSP on the floor, and sees the dead nurse under the bed. Sensibly, he turns and runs. His survival skills are better than most of Team Torchwood. Gwen would probably hang around and try to talk Death out of killing. [Or shag it. - Carrie] All the doors in the hospital seem to be locked, even double swing doors that – let’s face it – are never locked. Death advances down the corridor. Owen appears from a side door that apparently wasn’t locked, so it’s a shame Jamie didn’t try that one. Owen rescues him.

Gwen reiterates that Death will be able to rule Earth forever if it gets 13 souls, which we know already! Now there are 12 dead and it only needs one more.

Tosh and Owen are trying to escape, but they can’t open the door. While Tosh tries to open the door with her Magic Toy of Doing All Things, Owen has a doctorly chat with Jamie, who has leukaemia, but his last lots of chemotherapy didn’t work. They’re making him have it again,but he doesn’t see the point because the cancer will come back and he’s going to die.

Ianto, with his wizzo interweb skillz, has finally discovered what they need to know –Faith is the name of the girl who was brought back to life. She stopped Death. Owen realises that it’s because she didn’t have anything to lose – she was already DEAD. Owen tells Jamie not to despair because the chemo didn’t work, because not everyone dies from leukaemia, and “the ones who make it are the ones who believe they can beat death, and sometimes you can. So watch and learn.” Jamie: “Watch what?” Owen: “Watch me beat death.” Tosh gets the door open, but Owen has come over all heroic. Tosh says she’s not leaving him to face it on his own. Owen says he knows what to do, and kisses Tosh. “You’re so going to hate me for this,” he says, displaying her gadget as the doors close, separating them, and then chucking it carelessly on the floor. Fuck’s sake, that’s delicate technology!

Death advances on Owen, and they engage in some manly hand-to-hand combat. Owen: “How long can you last here with only 12 victims? There’s nothing here for you. Owen Harper’s soul has left the building. There’s nobody here but us dead men.” Srsly, he should be a wrestler with smack talk like that. Tosh is like, “NOOOOOOO!” Owen is too busy fighting the smoky skeleton to notice. “What else have you got? What else do you do to the dead?” he growls. Jack and Gwen also arrive in time to bang uselessly on the glass. Try shooting it, duh. Owen: “Is that all you’ve got?” Oh, Jack and Gwen have managed to find another way in, but it’s too late. Death evaporates and Owen is left kneeling on the floor. The door opens, and Tosh rushes in to make sure Owen hasn’t damaged her toy.

Ianto, who always misses out on all the fun stuff, is all like, “Jack? Gwen? Anyone? WTF happened?” Then he doesn’t care because Martha is alright again.

Martha and Owen are being doctory. Owen apologises for getting Martha hurt, although personally I’m placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Captain Jack. Martha replies that she’s more worried about Owen because he “soaked up a colossal amount of energy, but it’s dissipating now”. Owen: “That doesn’t sound good.” Martha says they don’t know anything about the energy’s properties – Owen could have 30 years to live or 30 minutes. Perhaps he will start raising money for charity like Jane Tomlinson.

Owen goes to see Jack, and tells him, “People died because you brought me back. We owe them, you and me. I’m still a doctor. Put me to work – see if we can’t even that score.” Jack: “We’ll see.” He ought to go and work in an emergency room – he’d save more lives there. [I didn't get this bit either. Do Owen's doctoring skills extend to raising the dead? I initially took it to mean that Owen wanted a transfer to working in proper medicine and Fighting Death on that front. - Carrie]

Tosh asks Captain Jack, “Did he really beat death? Jack replies that, “You can never escape death – it’s always in the shadows waiting.” Tosh: “So what now?”

Owen just stands there like a lemon. What kind of ending is that? [A shit one, but I really, really want to express my intense admiration for Burn Gorman this series. I think he's been amazing. - Carrie]

Next week – they think Owen’s fine – but they’re wrong. Owen takes advantage of being NOT DEAD. Perhaps he will enter The X Factor. Join us next week to find out!

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