Episode 2.08 'A Day In The Death'
TX 5th March 2008
Previously, Owen got shot by Jim Robinson. Jack brought him back from the dead, causing Death to walk the Earth taking souls, which was perhaps not the best idea, and now Owen is a walking corpse but without Jack’s handy-dandy regeneration ability, so he’s going to end up like at the end of Death Becomes Her with the cans of spray paint and industrial strength adhesive.
We’re treated to a little bit of Owen’s life, including various alien fighting extravaganzas, and, strangely, that bit where he raped a woman by giving her pheromones to make her fancy him. Not something I’d really put on my ‘these are my high points as a character, love me!’ CV, myself. We see him not eating breakfast, and not shaving, and being upset that everyone at work is chipper. Which is fair enough, really. He says that three days ago he died, and they think he’s fine. ‘But they’re wrong!’ And as ever, Torchwood cannot leave anything to the imagination of the viewer – we would have got that he wasn’t fine, what with the whole being dead thing.
He’s on a roof [he's stealing Jack's shtick! - Carrie], with a lady, and asks her if she’s ready to jump. It looks like the car park that Captain John threw that guy off, but I guess car parks are car parks.
At the hub, Jack tells Owen that he can’t go out and about any more, that he wants Owen’s gun and pass, they want to test him, and that basically, if he doesn’t agree to it, they’ll lock him up and test him anyway and if he’s dangerous they’ll kill him. Exceptional people management skills there. Ianto takes the gun and pass, and Jack tells Owen that he can make the coffee if he wants to be useful, because, as noted, he’s being a bit of an ass. [Srsly. Jack has been such a fucking twat this series. He has previously had at least a modicum of charm to redeem him - I even spent most of Series 1 quite fancying him, although obviously I don't fancy John Barrowman. This series, though, he's been simply hideous. - Carrie]
Ianto shows Owen how to work the coffee machine. Owen can’t, and rattles it. Ianto gives a sad face. Owen snarks about how Ianto has won now, going on missions, shagging Jack, and Owen is stuck making the coffee. [So Owen's ambition all along was to shag Jack? He kept that one quiet. - Steve] Ianto says it’s not like that, with him and Jack. It totally is. But not for Ianto. Which is sad. Poor Ianto.
Owen say it’s shit to be dead, and Ianto says everyone in Torchwood has shit, but Owen has done amazing stuff so shouldn’t be depressed.
Martha runs tests on Owen. She doesn’t want Owen’s job. And she doesn’t fancy him. Owen has no muscle decay, and Martha asks if there was any stiffening. She cuts off his dirty joke and he says no rigor mortis. If he exercises he won’t decay, and he won’t age.
Gwen summons Martha to the boardroom. Owen will make some coffee.
They’ve been looking at John Parker, a millionaire collector of alien ephemera. There’s a massive energy spike from his house. They’ve known about him for ages and never thought he was a threat. Owen brings in the coffee, and then sits down and says there’s nothing to be scared of. They all look grossed out that he’s even there and daring to contribute beyond the coffee. [And not one of them even says thank you. Seriously, Torchwood: what a bunch of fuckers. - Steve] Owen is apparently scared of TinTin, we learn via a random little tangent. Gwen starts giving orders, despite the fact that Jack is sat right there, asking for Parker’s medical history, list of purchases and so on.
Back on the roof, Owen says that nearly 1,000,000 people kill themselves a year. That’s 3 times the population of CARDIFF. Roof lady asks if he’s some sort of suicide geek and he says he’s a doctor.
Back in Hub Owen asks why Martha is doing his job and she says it’s because Gwen asked her to. Owen’s idly tossing a scalpel up and down, and slices his hand open without feeling anything. He doesn’t bleed. Martha graphically stitches him up. He gets snappish and takes over the stitching. Martha tells him that he’s fragile – bones won’t mend and bruises won’t heal. And I would have that he wouldn’t bruise, if he has no blood flow, but maybe my biology is less good than Owen or Martha’s. I don’t own a white doctor coat, after all. [You should get one. It's a good look. And authoritative. - Carrie]
Roof girl tells him off for pushing away Martha when. He says that he doesn’t go for social niceties now he’s dead. Roof Girl, who totally has his number, says, ‘You did before?’ Owen’s like, you’re a bitch, that’s why your bloke dumped you. She’s like, he’s dead, you arsehole, and goes on to say that just because they’re both jumping off a roof doesn’t mean they have a connection.
Hub – Owen will go home if he can’t do anything. Jack says fine. Watch TV. Chill. Owen is like lol I am dead I am already chilled. You get to live forever, I get to die forever.
At home, Owen watches To Buy Or Not To Buy, on a massive TV in a massive flat. He gets huffy and chucks stuff out to the accompaniment of some shit music. No more toilet roll, or toiletries, or food. He seemingly only eats beer, cheese and smoothies.
Tosh turns up with a pizza. Cos she’s a bitch today apparently. Owen says that Jack sent her, Tosh is like, no, fuck off, I’m here for me, like, because oh my god, Jack called me early in the morning, and then Gwen was like ‘sorry you is not a bridesmaid’ and I was like zomg as if I even want to be a bridesmaid… [This whole scene was so ridiculously out of character for Tosh, I can't even begin to express my annoyance. I mean, come on. You need someone to come into a scene for the sole purpose of being self-obsessed, and Gwen isn't doing anything, yet you send...Tosh? Whatever. - Steve]
Roof Girl tells Owen about how her husband died on their wedding day in a car accident. They’d only been married for a few hours. We see her staggering in the road in a bloody wedding dress. It’s actually quite well shot, and rather sad. I expected to see the Obviousmobile go past, meaning that he’d swerved to avoid it and that’s why he died and stuff, but it didn’t so well done Torchwood for avoiding that obvious bit of bathos. [Also, considering what happens in next week's episode, someone on the Torchwood writing staff apparently has wedding issues. - Steve]
Owen asks why she waited for a year to kill herself. She said that she believed the people who said it would get better, but it hasn’t.
We cut back to the kitchen, where Tosh is still gabbling. ‘Why are you here, Tosh?' She says that she’s there to help. Owen says that she isn’t, and that he’s her project; that this is the date she’d been after and now she’s finally got it, now he’s as screwed up and emotionless and broken as she is. Tosh screeches, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and Owen says that he’s ‘broken’. To illustrate that fact, he snaps his little finger. Then he runs off and throws himself into the harbour, where he flails about a bit
Jack’s there when Owen pulls himself out of the water, and there’s some vaguely inappropriate banter about wet men in tight jeans. Hush, Jack. [This was DISGUSTING. Poor Owen. - Carrie]
Back at the Hub, they go on about the security at the big alien energy spike house. Lots of guards, its own generator, alarms, all sorts. And solar-powered body-heat sensors so even if you turn off the generator, you’re still screwed. Owen’s like ‘Oh, hai! I hear u liek pepul without body heet?’
Ianto gives him a gun. Tosh gives him back his keys and says, ‘I turned your telly off.’ Roof Girl is shocked that that’s all she did, after Owen was so mean. Owen says Tosh is always professional. Roof Girl goes on to say she doesn’t give a shit and is here to jump. Owen’s like, go on then, and rushes her to the edge. She is scared. She wants to know how Owen got from there to being on the roof.
Outside exciting alien house, Martha’s like, no fighting, no touching of anything, no nothing, or you’ll break. Jack tosses Owen a big white rag and says he’ll need it. In his earpiece, Tosh says that there is 1 minute 20 seconds between the generator going down and the backup starting.
Gwen distracts one of the security guards by phoning him and pretending to be from the hospital and saying his wife was in a car crash. And that’s just…lovely. The other guard gets on the phone to tell his boss what’s going on, and Owen sneaks past.
There’s this awesome massive greenhouse, covered in moss and stuff, lit really brightly from within. We find out nothing about it, but it was more interesting than some of the rest of this episode.
Owen rolls up to the generator. The guard stops him, but Owen points a gun at him. He unfurls the white rag thing, which turns out to be a TinTin tshirt. Lol. He sticks his fist into the generator, wrapped in the tshirt, and pulls out the wires. ‘I’m dead already, mate’. Security guard is understandably freaked out, and Owen knocks him out. He sneaks inside, looking very much like Justin Timberlake in the Cry Me A River video where he’s breaking into a house that totally isn’t supposed to be Britney’s. Well, he’s wearing a hoodie and breaking into a house. That’s about it.
Tosh radios that there are only 30 seconds til the backup generator starts, and the system must have changed. However, these are TV seconds, so he’s got ages. Owen notices that he’s not being picked up by the heat sensors, which, duh, and says, ‘I am literally too cool for school’. Except not, in any way, but he’s dead so I’ll cut him some slack.
Tosh directs Owen upstairs. The power comes back on, and another security guard points his gun at Owen. He says he’ll shoot, but Owen keeps walking up the stairs, talking about how a bullet rips and tears flesh and stuff, then says ‘You can’t kill a dead man’. The guard asks who he is. Owen says, ‘I’m Doctor Owen Harper, and I’m having a hell of day’. [LULZ! - Carrie] Then pistol whips him and goes into old man Parker’s bedroom.
Old man Parker is Richard Briers! [Whoop! Give Torchwood their due, they have AWESOME guest stars. - Carrie] He is bed-ridden, with all sorts of beeping machines about. Owen says he’s a doctor, and Richard Briers says, ‘you’re a very violent doctor, I’ve been watching,’ and indicates his little monitors. He goes on to say, ‘You’re Torchwood, yes?’ Owen’s like , ‘how do you know?’ Erm, because you all drive around in a massive black SUV with Torchwood written on it and barge into crime scenes saying ‘Torchwood!’ and use your Torchwood status to get out of prison cells and basically trample the whole of Cardiff underfoot with your Torchwood blah-di-blah, so seriously, don’t be surprised when people have heard of you. Richard Briers says that they should have sent the ‘lovely Japanese girl’ and shouts, so that Tosh can hear down Owen’s earpiece, that she has lovely legs.
Richard Briers has a funny glowing pink bean in his bed with him. It makes whale noises. He says that’s called the Pulse – he named it – and it’s what is keeping him alive after about a million heart attacks. Owen says nuh-uh, because the energy is building up but isn’t going into him. Richard Briers says that Owen is young and doesn’t understand anything about death. Owen’s like, I do, a little bit. He asks if it’s really better to be alive with a million machines than dead. Richard Briers says yes it is, basically, but then goes off on a bit of rant about how he’s travelled the world, fought in a war, been married and widowed and now he’s lying there in his own piss. He says, ‘Why don’t you just take it?’ and gives Owen the Pulse.
He then gets a bit scared, saying he’s alone in the dark. So alone and scared. Owen says that he’ll come and visit. Richard Briers says that if he does, he can tell him about Torchwood and aliens and other such excitement. Owen hesitates, and Richard Briers is like ‘oh, ffs, I’m nearly dead, who am I going to tell? Besides, as we’ve already established, you’re the worst secret agency in the whole of fiction and everyone knows who you are, despite your collective fondness for mind-raping people who you think might know who you are.’
He hacks and coughs, and the machines flatline. Owen tries to administer CPR, but can’t, because he has no breath. (Although I think he couldn’t speak in that case?) [Ah, Torchwood, and your crazy ways of playing with the laws of physics, biology, space and time! - Carrie]
On the roof, he tells Roof Girl that he couldn’t give him air, because he didn’t have any. (Oh yeah – at some point earlier on, he showed Roof Girl his bullet hole and freaked her out by being the walking dead, but she’s over that now.) Owen says it was just another person dying because of him, and he wanted it all to end.
Back in the house. Tosh is like is the device dong anything? There’s too much energy and it’s going to explode. But it’s okay, because Owen’s going to hold it and absorb it. Even though the energy didn’t go into Richard Briers. Owen tells Martha to be the new doctor, Jack not to dare to bring him back if he dies, and says sorry to Tosh. She says, ‘I love you’. Lots of purple stringy energy flows out of the Pulse.
Back on the roof, Roof Girl asks what happened. Owen says, that we always assume life is going to be shit, but sometimes it’s not. He pulls the Pulse out of his bag. He talks about how in the 70s NASA sent off a space probe with information on, and the Pulse is a reply, but they don’t know who from. Nice job, aliens – we’ll send you an information-capsule that is so full of energy that it could blow up and destroy the world.
They all see Martha off. Owen gives her a hug and thanks her. Gwen hugs her. Ianto gives her an air kiss. Martha tells Jack it’s been interesting, and he says that it’s been fun. She leans in and kisses him full on the lips, and says, ‘well, everyone else has had a go!’ Ha! Jack says that she can come back any time, and please yes, this show needs Martha.
Tosh and Ianto are in the Hub. She says she’s there for him and makes him promise not to bottle things up any more. We see Owen walking along the street and something falls from above. It’s a photo of Roof Girl and her husband. Roof Girl says, ‘I thought you came here to jump,’ and he’s like, nah, I came to give you this. Roof Girl asks what she should do now. Owen says, ‘a cup of tea, a cigarette, your mates. If there’s a tiny glimmer of light, isn’t it worth the risk?’ He asks her name, and she says it’s Maggie Hopper. Owen says, ‘well, Maggie, it’s up to you.’ The Pulse is giving off lots of streams of light. The voiceover says ‘My name is Owen Harper, and this is my life.’
The end. So presumably she didn’t jump. [I am starting to quite love Burn Gorman. I may cast him in things when I am in charge of all performing arts. - Carrie]
Next week: shape-shifting alien vampires make Gwen pregnant on her wedding day. And Nerys Hughes!