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Torchwood: Miracle Day IX

I think I have a slight issue with Torchwood. It's Oswald. We're supposed to think of him as a monster, and I guess I do sort of know that he is. Thing is, he's never been shown as a monster. Not since the very first episode. We got that great line then, about how his victim "... should have run faster." Great line. Great illustration of his lack of humanity. And then, after that, nothing. Oswald's nice. He's a likeable man, he really is. Half the point in casting Bill Pullman was to make him likeable; but they really should have shown him being a monster as well. In this week's episode he joined forces with the Torchwood gang, and everybody was really horrible to him. Rhys and Gwen both beat him up; Rhys threatened to kill him; Gwen was too afraid to leave them alone together in case Rhys really did kill him. And, to be perfectly honest, all that I saw in those scenes was two people bullying a defenceless man. A really amiable defenceless man at that. Gwen had a nice little scene describing previous paedophiles and murderers that she's encountered, and how none of them were as monstrous as Oswald. Nice lines. Nice delivery. All the same, I'm still watching a likeable, friendly, smiling man, and I'm just not seeing the monster. Couldn't he have killed somebody else? He beat up a prostitute last week, and we did see some flashes then of the rages he has inside; but that really wasn't enough. Show, don't tell. If I'm supposed to buy Oswald as Public Enemy Number One, then don't tell me he's a monster, show me. Right now, with the obvious exception of Jack, Oswald's the most likeable character on the programme. I'm really not sure I should be thinking like that about him.

Other than that, a mostly good episode tonight. Nice reveal about the line through the Earth, that is possibly somehow governing the Miracle. Jilly continues to be an interesting character, although I could do without the massive "entire length and breadth of the last eighty years" conspiracy that she's caught up in the middle of. I never did like conspiracies. That's one of the reasons why I stopped watching The X-Files. They're all about boring labyrinths of lies, all tangled up with each other, and calling for masses and masses of people all over the world to be constructing even more lies, usually for a really silly reason. Also, the big reveal turning out to be some sort of giant pink vacuum cleaner in the middle of the Earth could have been a bit more dramatic. Mostly by not being a giant pink vacuum cleaner in the middle of the Earth.

Still, we're getting somewhere now. We should have been getting there at least three episodes back, so that everything doesn't have to be happening in one episode; but we are getting somewhere. It still feels poorly constructed, though. Great scenes where Gwen's father is torn away from his family, and shipped off to be incinerated because he's been declared Category One - but it felt like it belonged in a different show. Something like that deserved more than a two minute scene in a show where lots of people were running around shouting about conspiracies, and worrying about giant pink vacuum cleaners. The whole thing about the Category Ones and the ovens deserves more than five minute updates every other week. They should have given more time to showing the effects of Miracle Day, with all of these dreadful things that are going on - the shortages, the collapse of society, the ovens, the rising dictatorships - and less of Rex yelling at people, and Esther sobbing in cars. Maybe that way ten episodes wouldn't have felt like about three episodes too many.

Only one episode to go now, anyway. Next week is likely to be a non-stop, fifty minute rush of insanity, with everything falling over itself in order to happen before the end. There's far too much that still has to happen for this to have anything like a neat conclusion. The conspiracy goes far too deep, for starters. Another reason why I hate conspiracies - you can't fight them. Your heroes can't ever win against them, unless they blow up the whole world, or something. They're a narrative black hole, and I've yet to see the story that features one that wouldn't have been better if it didn't. I guess it's possible that by disabling the vacuum cleaner they'll end up killing everybody who has received "the Blessing", which would effectively destroy the conspiracy - but that would be a bit rubbish, wouldn't it. I assume its rumoured ability to allow you to see yourself as you really are has something in store for Oswald and/or Jack, thereby making it more than just decoration - but in the meantime it remains a giant pink thing. I'm not sure that that could ever be anything other than underwhelming.

Still, enough about next week. Pictures!

Jack, threatening somebody with a gun again. He likes doing that.

Jilly, quite obviously trying to be noticed. It seemed rude not to oblige.

Oswald. He even has floppy hair, for goodness sakes. Floppy hair is universal shorthand for "loveable".

Lest we forget where Rex is based.

Jack and Gwen have a Torchwood moment.

A giant pink sucking thing in the middle of the planet. Whatever.


( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Sep. 9th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
I don't need to watch Torchwood - I just read your reviews and look at the pretty pictures :)

Sep. 10th, 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
Poor Torchwood. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only fan it has left!

There may be a good reason for that...
Sep. 9th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah - too much left to the end. Where we are at should have been at least three episodes ago.

there has been way too much padding and storylines that have gone nowhere. And "Two Months later"!!!!! WHAT!!!!

I'm now just waiting for the posts describing what that big pink vacuum cleaner reminds people of. And I'm ashamed that my mind has gone to the gutter.
Sep. 10th, 2011 10:19 am (UTC)
The two months later thing was necessary to allow Jack to recover. I guess they like fast-forwarding things to show how society is collapsing as well. I wouldn't mind that, if they were actually showing us a collapsing society, but they're not. I think they probably need a book to properly illustrate that.

There's a lot of good ideas in this show, but the execution is incredibly clumsy. It needed some serious editing.
( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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