Saturday, 29 March 2008

Rubble rubble

Episode 2.12 - Fragments
Tx: 28th March 2008

Isn't it ace when Torchwood are in The Past and Barrowman gets to do character acting? No? That's a shame. Anyway, we have the usual montage pre-titles, then we get an artistic shot of the ObviousMobile flying round a chicane. The team, minus Gwen, leap out. Ianto is on the phone leaving a message for their errant chum, saying they are going into a building that has signs of life, and she should get her lazy selfish arse there ASAP. Tosh says the lifeforms aren't weevils. [Good. I'm BORED of bloody weevils. - Georgi] Jack sends Ianto and Owen round the other side of the building, and Tosh sticks with him. Tosh reads her magic computery device, and says there are lifeforms at both ends of the building. Owen thinks the creatures may be sleeping.

Or in fact, as Tosh then notes, they might not be creatures at all. Instead, they are explosive devices. The entire team stand there gormlessly and watch the LEDs tick down to zero. Kaboom! [Is it worth pointing out that explosions that size would probably have blown Team Torchwood to smithereens rather than just bringing down some bricks on their heads? No? Fine. - Georgi] [It is very much worth pointing that out, if only to make yourself feel better. - Steve]


That lazy slut Gwen wakes up and picks up her message from Ianto. She decides it might be an idea to get dressed and go to work. Just a thought, like. [I'd rant about lazy bloody Gwen not going into work on the one day everyone gets targeted by bombs, but since everyone is improbably not dead despite their proximity to the explosion, it seems rather a moot point. - Steve]

Jack is buried underneath the rubble, but fortunately he has sustained no injury to his face, his VALUABLE FACE. But as we know, he'll be fine anyway. Flashback to 1,392 deaths earlier - this is Barrowman's chance to do period character acting. You can't say I didn't warn you. Jack is wailing because he has a bottle shoved through his stomach. His sideburns are quite nice. Two women are standing in front of him. From their costumes, this is late 19th century. Jack chortles, and says, "Torso o'steel (a steal), shilling a feel!" It works marginally better as a pun when spoken, but not hugely so. He gets to his feet and claims he has a "flesh wound". The woman approach in intimidating style. Jack introduces himself as "Jack Harkness". Hang on. Did he not steal that identity from the lovely wartime captain? If so, how come he's got it now? I get so confused. [But you have to remember that Captain Jack has only been deathproof since David Tennant's first series of Doctor Who, which implies that this is after that, as opposed to being properly in the past. Pesky time travel. - Georgi] [Not to split hairs, but wasn't he deathproof in the Christopher Eccleston series? That's when Rose brought him back to life with magic Tardis power and made him unkillable. We didn't SEE it happening until Torchwood got spun off, of course. Either way: thanks a lot, ROSE. - Steve] The women beat Jack up comprehensively. Hooray! One sits on his chest, straddling him, and of course he takes the opportunity to slime, "You only had to ask. Can we get a room, though?" She stuffs a handkerchief in his mouth and gags and chloroforms him. Hooray! (Incidentally, Barrowman goes a very odd purple colour here. It's either method acting or the most convincing he's been all series.)

Cut to a cell, where the women are chucking buckets of water at him. He screams. Hooray! They attach electrodes to his chest, and summarily electrocute him. He screams. Hooray! They don't understand. He demands to know where he is. One of them shoots him. Hooray! This is the best episode of Torchwood EVER. Everything goes black.

Everything comes back again, still in the cell, and lady no 1 rolls her eyes, demanding, "Why aren't you dead yet?" Jack doesn't know. They want to know who the Doctor is. They have transcripts of his conversations with randoms in pubs in which he mentions the Doctor. Jack wants to know where he is. Of course, these lovely ladies are Torchwood Cardiff, but a hell of a lot more kick-ass than the 21st century version. They want to "combat the threat posed by the Doctor - and other phantasmagoria". Jack laughs. Way to placate these hard-bitten bitches, you fool. He tells them the Doctor is the one who will save them from their phantasmagoria, but he doesn't know where he is, because he was left behind. For a reason, Jack. Anyway, he hoped they'd find each other. The ladies suggest that he works for them in locating a missing person.

Or, in fact, a missing blowfish alien type, who has been stealing stuff, in period costume. Jack rounds him up and brings him in. The blowfish alien type says, "I said sorry! You can't lock me up!" Jack suggests sending him back where he came from. Lady no 1 has another idea, which is shooting him through the head. Jack is outraged, and tries to be masterful, but lady no 1 shrugs him off. [Jack would have just humanely imprisoned the blowfish alien in Torchwood's dungeon 4EVA. - Georgi] Lady no 2 gives him his wages, and another assignment. Jack tries to refuse it. Lady no 2 says he is their ally now, but if he doesn't work for them he becomes a threat; lady no 2 says, "And you've seen how we deal with threats." Yeah, you kill them, but you already know that JACK WON'T DIE. [Actually I have always wondered whether Jack would be able to come back to life if you actually dismembered him. Nobody ever bothered trying. - Georgi] [Chop off his actual member and he'd lose the will to live, no doubt. - Steve] They tell him to sleep on it, and he stalks out, presumably attempting "brooding melancholy Byronic hero". Lady no 1 watches him leave, and says to her colleague, "He's pretty...but you're prettier." So...has bisexuality always been a pre-requisite for a job at Torchwood? [That, and utter incompetence. - Steve]

A drinking den. Jack is drinking shots. The weird little tarot-reading girl appears, and despite Jack telling her to piss off, she reads his cards. "He's coming, the one you're looking for. The century will turn twice before you find each other." ZOMG, Jack will have to wait a hundred years to find him. He is angered and sad. Therefore he does need money, therefore he goes to take the job from Torchwood, and signs his name (his stolen name, which he should steal in a few decades' time) on various papers.

New Year's Eve 1999, with Natasha Kaplinsky narrating the TV coverage. [Wasn't she still at journalism school or something in 1999? She definitely wasn't working for the Beeb, anyway. - Georgi] Jack returns to the hub to find his staff all murdered by the one surviving member of his team, Alex. Jack's choice of minions has always been excellent, obviously. Alex is all tortured and starting into space - "We got it wrong, Jack, we thought we could control the stuff we found. And what's it brought us? So much death...It's good you're here, you always did have good timing...Give this place a purpose before it's too late...I looked inside, it showed me what's coming. They were mercy killings, the kindest thing I could do...I'm sorry I can't do the same for you. The 21st century, Jack! Everything's going to change! We're not ready!" And having set up the pre-credits sequence for the foreseeable future, Alex shoots himself through the head.

Cut back to present-day buried-under-rubble Jack. Rhys is all panicky - "He was dead! I checked his pulse!" Gwen tries to get him out of the rubble, but before he does that he chooses to shout a bit about Rhys being there at all. Rhys - fucking leave him, then, the whinging bastard. Gwen says that Rhys gave her a lift because she was late. She really is shit. [I'd call her a virgin who can't drive, but that's obviously only a half-truth. - Steve]

Switch to poor little Tosh, crushed under a wall. Bless her. She should really get a better job than this. Flashback to five years earlier. Tosh is working late in an office, and her boss tells her she works too hard. [Tosh is also wearing glasses; apparently one of the many benefits of working for Torchwood is that it either cures near-sightedness, or at least has an affordable contact lens payment plan. - Steve] He leaves; she stays, and promptly whips a key out of her desk drawer to unlock his cubicle office. She logs on to his computer system to get a key code, then rushes downstairs to a filing room to steal a box file from the shelf. She takes a couple of sheets out, sticks them up her jumper, and takes them home with her. We see that she works at the Lodmoor Research Facility, a division of the Ministry of Defence, so presumably she's just stolen some official secrets.

Tosh at home, which is a significantly smaller home than the one we're used to seeing. She unfolds the plans, gets out a circuit board and wires and various gadgetry, and does some good wiring and gadgeting and soldering. She rushes to a scary graffitied door down a back alley, and tells the people inside that she wants to see her mother. The lady in charge wants to see "the piece" first, which we discover is a "sonic modulator". [Is that like a sonic screwdriver? - Georgi] Tosh's mum is brought out. The lady in charge says that Tosh is a victim of her own success - they want her to do more work, and if she refuses, her mum will stay with them. The lady in charge dons some headphones and switches on the sonic modulator, and Tosh and her mum fall to the ground clutching their ears. [I guess not - Georgi] Then a troop of red caps burst in, and take Tosh away. She is put into a red jumpsuit and thrown into an empty cell. Her face is covered in cuts and bruises, and a tannoy announcement informs her that she no longer has any rights as a citizen and is being held in a UNIT facility. Montage of Tosh being sad in her horrible cell and walking around with other red jumpsuited prisoners. Do you see the MODERN-DAY PARALLELS? Where is my shot glass? I need a Drink!

The tannoy announcement tells Tosh there is an inspection for which she must prepare. She drags herself to her feet, the door opens, and there is Jack - just when you thought things couldn't get any worse. They go for coffee in a big empty room. Jack tells Tosh that her mum is safe and also retconned. Nice. He says he is nobody and doesn't exist, "and for a man of my charisma, that's quite an achievement". Oh, fuck OFF. She asks if he is a lawyer. He scoffs. He tells her that because she stole official secrets, they will make an example of her and never release her, and he is sorry. [But to make an example of her, they would have to publicise the fact that they are imprisoning her in a concrete cell for ever, and Amnesty just wouldn't stand for it. - Georgi] He has the sonic modulator with him, and asks, "You made this, right?" She says she just followed the plans. He is unconvinced - "Yeah, kinda!" But Tosh is clever because a) she understood what a sonic modulator was, and b) there were mistakes in the plans, which she fixed as she went along. "What I'm trying to say is - oh, baby, you're good!" Ew. Ew. EW. Jack suggests she could work for him for five years, and then her record would be wiped clean. Ooh. That means that Tosh's tenure with Torchwood is nearly up, then? Maybe she can get a proper job and a boyfriend and a life, then? [As if. - Georgi] She asks what it is that Jack does, and he claims it is "protecting people". He says she'll be able to send her mum postcards, and that he trusts her because of his instinct. His finely-honed, well-judged instincts. The same ones that appointed the manic depressive homicidal Alex. [And batshit crazy homicidal Suzie. And utterly incompetent Gwen. And...well, you get the idea. - Steve]

Cut back to present-day Tosh under the wall, with Gwen trying to help but as Tosh screams in pain, "YOU'RE MAKING IT WORSE!" Could be Gwen's epitaph, really. Tosh asks her to hurry. Gwen wanders off to find more men to help lift the wall, leaving Rhys there, all of a-flutter and "ZOMG my beloved new wife it could have been you!"

Cut over to poor Ianto, with his pretty little fingers cut to ribbons and his face all red and his eyes all bloodshot. Jack is shouting for him. Flashback to 21 months earlier, with Jack being savaged by a weevil. Ianto suddenly turns up with a truncheon (snarf) to join Team Jack in the anti-weevil battle. Jack bags and sedates the weevil. Oooooooh, Ianto is in jeans and a studded belt. Ianto and Jack introduce themselves. Ianto says, "Lucky escape." Jack claims to have had the situation under control. Fuckwit. Ianto notices that Jack has stopped bleeding. He says it looked like a weevil, and Jack says he doesn't know what he's talking about. He hoicks the weevil onto his back, and tells Ianto that he'll take it from here. He strides off, and Ianto calls after him: "By the way - love the coat." Hehe.

Aerial shot of not-quite-two-years-ago Cardiff! Ianto is waiting for Jack outside the hub, with a cup of coffee for him. Aww. Ianto and his hot beverage-making ways. Jack loves the coffee. Aww. Jack has done research on Ianto, which he spouts off, and apparently he was born in 1983. Seriously? Ianto's supposed to be 24, nearly 25? Like hell. Seriously, I'm not saying he looks old or anything, because clearly I love him, but Gareth David-Lloyd is obviously in his late twenties. Anyway, Ianto is wearing a cute necklace also, and he demands a job from Jack. Jack says there is no job. Ianto is adamant that he wants a job. "There's no job for you here, and there never will be!" shouts Jack. This might be why every fucker knows about Torchwood - because you go around yelling about your recruitment policy in the middle of bloody Cardiff. Ianto admires the coat again. Heh. [You can tell this is a Chris Chibnall because it's the only time anyone acknowledges the existence of bloody Lisa the ridiculous robot girlfriend. - Steve]

Aerial shot of Cardiff. Jack is in the ObviousMobile, talking to Owen, Tosh and Suzie via the magic communicator. Ianto, now in a suit, jumps in front of the ObviousMobile, forcing Jack out. Jack stomps round the car, and instructs Ianto to leave Cardiff and go back to London. So Jack is now also in charge of the UK's migration policy? Jack is stroppy a bit more, then Ianto says, "You're not going to help me catch this pterodactyl then?" The only special equipment Jack has is a big syringe; Ianto says Torchwood London would have dinosaur nets in the back of the car. The pterodactyl squawks, and Ianto wonders if it could be Jack's aftershave. Of course, Jack isn't wearing any - "51st century pheromones. People have no idea." They crack on, and Jack seems to be attempting to seduce the pterodactyl by inviting him back to the hub. Ianto is annoyed that Jack will let a pterodactyl in and not him - "I could be the receptionist!...Dry-cleaning! That coat of yours must take a battering! I could be the butler!" Ianto interrupts Jack's plan-developing to tell him he is going to distract the pterodactyl with chocolate, so Jack should approach him with the syringe. The pterodactyl ain't quite that daft, though, and sweeps Jack up into the air. He does eventually manage to do the injection, and falls from the pterodactyl - on top of Ianto. [Didn't see that coming a mile off, no siree. - Steve] There's a bit of sexual tension until Ianto gets up and walks away. Jack tells him to report to work tomorrow, and admires the suit. Ianto looks all tearful.

Cut back to Ianto under the bricks. Gwen and Jack lift him out. He has a dislocated shoulder. Jack fixes it despite having no medical training, nor indeed a white coat. Ianto asks where the others are, and reminds them - and us - that if anything happens to Owen, he can't heal himself. Glad we got that little aide-memoire in, Mr Chibnall.

Owen is under bricks and appears to be trying to prevent a big old sash window falling on him, Ghost-stylee, through the power of his mind. Flashback to four years earlier, and Owen is on a bed doing wedding planning with a young lady whom we presume is his fiancee. She tells him that it's not too late to back out. He says he is marrying her if it kills him. The fiancee goes to make a cup of tea, but she seems to have forgotten how to do it. We learn that her name is Katie. Owen goes to the kitchen and walks her through tea-making step-by-step. Katie is getting cross and frustrated.

A doctor's office. Owen is talking to the consultant, and tells him that he promised Katie a summer wedding. And hang on, Owen was 27 when he Died a few weeks ago - so he's supposed to be 23 here? Sorry, don't buy that either, mostly because he's THIRTY-FUCKING-FOUR. Anyway, the consultant thinks it's early-onset Alzheimer's; Owen is unconvinced, and demands more tests. The consultant agrees. Shot of Owen watching Katie sleep; Owen is sad and pensive. Shot of Katie having the MRI scan, and Owen watching outside. Owen and Katie have a little chat out in the corridor, until the consultant turns up and says there is a tumour on Katie's brain that wasn't there last week. Katie looks at Owen, and weeps - "I can't remember your name!" [He obviously got a taste for that feeling - it would explain all the date rape. - Steve]

They go into theatre. Owen is waiting outside and pacing up and down. Suddenly the door moves, and Jack turns up. They go into the theatre and EVERYONE IS DEAD, and Katie has her brain hanging out, complete with alien life-form escaping from it. The alien incubates in the brain, and emits a toxic gas, which clears very quickly, when threatened. Jack wants to take Katie's brain; Owen is opposed to the idea so gets chloroformed for his trouble. He wakes up in a hospital bed, where the nurses wrestle him into submission. Owen then goes to see who we presume is a psychiatrist, and he is unimpressed with Owen's story, advising him to take three months off work. Owen looks at the CCTV footage, and sure enough, Jack and the whole alien brain thing are no longer recorded on there. He doesn't understand.

Owen goes to put flowers on Katie's grave, and sees Jack on the other side of the cemetery. He runs over, and punches him! Hooray! And again! And again! And again! Hooray! Then Owen cries, and Jack hugs him. [Boo! Punch him more! - Georgi] They have a little walk through the cemetery, and Jack tells him that he isn't having a mental breakdown - it's the rest of the world that's delusional. He then chooses this moment - when Owen is at his very lowest - to recruit him to Torchwood. Owen has a look round the hub. He says he became a doctor because he thought saving one life would make his own worthwhile, but it turns out that even if you do succeed, you can never save enough. [And Jack persuades him that he might save more by Saving The World From Aliens Regularly. - Georgi]

Cut back to Owen under the rubble. Gwen charges in to rescue him, and he points out the fuck-off great window about to fall on them. It judders down a bit, and Gwen shouts at it, because clearly that'll work. She moves a couple of bricks, and Owen is freed. Seriously, that was all he had to do? [For a moment there, I thought some plate glass might smash Gwen's head in. What a disappointment. - Georgi]

The team are reunited. Tosh has a broken arm, but that's all the injuries they incurred. [It would be Tosh, wouldn't it? Jesus Christ, the writers HATE her. - Steve] Oh, except the ObviousMobile, which has gone missing. And oh, Jack has a wristwatch message. The holographic figure emerges, and Ianto moans, "Oh, no." Of course, it's Captain John! About bloody time. Captain John complains that Jack can't die - "all that life, all that time, and you can't spare any for me." So John's just tried to kill everyone, solely motivated by unrequited love? Slightly over the top, wouldn't you say? John has "the family" with him - Jack's brother, Grey. "Everything you love, everything you treasure, will die. I'm going to tear your world apart," threatens John. "Maybe now you want to spend some time with me." [Hee hee! Captain John is my favourite villain! Although, no way Jack is worth all that effort. - Georgi]

Whoa. Join us next week for the series finale(s)!


Rad said...

Gareth David Lloyd was born in 81, which makes him a lot closer in age to Ianto than Burn Gorman is to Owen (1980? Hahahahahaha)

Vincent said...

Torso o'steel = Torso of Steel

And he stole the name "Jack Harkness" prior to meeting the doctor when he was in the 40's as a conman

Leen said...

I got the impression Alex was the boss at Torchwood when he killed all of his staff at the start of the last year before the turn of the millennium (except Jack who obviously can't die), and only then did Jack get to run the place. So bitching about his lack of judgment when choosing employees doesn't really apply to Alex.