Torchwood: “The Blood Line”

Posted on September 11, 2011

Showrunner Russell T Davies and writer Jane Espenson have come in for quite a bit of criticism for this series and virtually all of it is warranted, in our opinion. Whether it was far too many scenes – and even entire episodes – that turned out to be nothing but filler; characters acting either out of character or acting in a way that no human being would act; cynical ideas about the nature of people that don’t correspond to any real world experience; getting big and loud at times when the story called for subtlety and nuance, or attempting subtlety at points when the audience probably needed an explosion or two; you can look back on this series (assuming you’d want to) and practically write a book about what happens when creators clearly don’t have a lot of respect for the audience. But with all that – and it’s all true – we feel they should at least be complimented for devising an entirely new and exciting literary tool. Forget Russell’s tendency to employ deus ex machina endings; we should all be congratulating him for devising the brand new and exciting deus ex vagina ending.

Ugh. We can’t with this show anymore. Good thing we won’t have to.

What a shame that John Barrowman and Eve Myles did their best work ever with these characters. It was wasted in such a shitty story and in all likelihood, due to the critical drubbing this show received and the less-than stellar ratings, we’re not likely to see a new season of Torchwood any time soon. We suppose we should be at least partially thankful for that because we’re not particularly interested in a world where Rex Matheson can’t die.

Can you believe that ending? We saw it coming as soon as Esther mentioned the transfusion, but even then we rolled our eyes so hard we think it may have been audible. Davies and Espenson seemed determined to kill off the most likeable new characters (Vera and Esther) and they seem weirdly in love with the least likeable character of all; Rex. This goes back to the sort of childish, teen-angst version of cynicism that sometimes characterizes Davies’ work. The worst episodes of the early seasons of Torchwood were awash in that kind of darkness and when ridiculously pointless character Oswald Danes went out with a cry to his victim that he was going to spend all of eternity raping her, we felt like we were watching a first-year film student’s first attempt at screenwriting.

In fact, looking back on this whole series, it feels like they wrote a first draft of a story and just shot it for the cameras. Did we need to spend so much time on Phicorp? What exactly was the point in making Oswald into a messianic figure? How did that serve The Families? And why did they suddenly drop him? What happened to those cults that were springing up? Let’s see… what else…? Oh. Right.

WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE BLESSING AND HOW THE FUCK DID IT WORK?

Talk about insulting your audience. “Oh that big thing that the entire story hinges on? We’re not gonna explain it. Aren’t we clever? Look! Tea Party! Healthcare crisis! Corporate control of government! Aren’t you dazzled by our scathing critique of American culture?”

There’s been some talk amongst the Who-vians about how this entire story seems to deviate from the Whoniverse from which it sprang. We’re more than happy to pretend that this all happened on a parallel earth somewhere and there will be a season 5 of Torchwood set in Wales, where none of this ever happened and Gwen and Jack recruit a bunch of plucky Brits (instead of American stereotypes) to make up the new Torchwood team. Let’s all wish real hard to make this happen. Davies is fine (problematic but fine) working on his home soil, writing the kinds of characters he knows well. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that seems very slim, which is a shame, because they’ve done fantastic work with the character of Gwen and even managed to get us to compliment Barrowman’s acting, which we never expected.

The episode had its moments: Geraint’s death scene was tear-jerking, the tension was really high all throughout the episode, we got a slight beatdown on Jilly (but not enough of one; we could have watched Gwen punching her for another 40 minutes), and Esther got some great moments showing how far she’s come from the wimpy, unsure analyst she was at the beginning of the story. But it struck us after Rex killed that guy in Buenos Aires (by throwing him into a vagina) that the villains of the piece were, for the most part, completely unknown to us. Who was that guy in Buenos Aires? Who was the lady in Shanghai? Were their names even mentioned? The entire ten hours led to a showdown with two practically unknown villains, with hazy motives, and a phenomenon that went largely unexplained. How did The Blessing make everyone immortal with Jack’s blood when there’s nothing special about Jack’s blood; something that’s not only part of past continuity but was mentioned several times in the story. And if the world became immortal from Jack’s blood, why was it different from the kind of immortality Jack actually has, where he heals from wounds almost instantaneously?

But we think the most laughable part (apart from the “I’m coming to get you, Suzie!” death speech from Oswald) was how we were supposed to believe that the world just went back to normal after this was all over. Esther’s sister is magically cured of her madness and reunited with her children, and apparently the ovens, and the terrifying government overreach and the abolishing of drug prescriptions (Did that ever go anywhere?) have all been resolved because Torchwood blew up Mother Earth’s vagina.

Actually, no; the truly laughable part was how they left several plot points dangling in the expectation that there will be a new season to explore them and an audience willing to watch it. That’s hilarious, Russell. Good one. You got us there.

    • Anonymous

      I just imagine them brainstorming the concept for this series: “Ok, what’s different from aliens? Oh, Mother Earth! Which can be….. oh, know,  a giant hole in the earth! That looks like a vagina! That gives life! THROUGH BLOOD! ‘Cos vaginas bleed on occasion of course. Ooo, we’re so clever. Ok, job done. Meet you at the bar in ten”. 

    • http://twitter.com/lbcubbison Laurie Cubbison

      I’m an academic, and I do write about fandom and television story arcs. I think I could write that book you’re talking about with regard to lack of respect for the audience and why the story arc didn’t work here. At this point, I think a big part of the problem was the season-long plotting. Davies has said in The Writer’s Tale that he doesn’t like to do linear narrative, but linear narrative is popular for a reason. If you’re going to work as many plot threads as were in TW:MD, they need to come together in a tight braid, and they don’t. One mistake is the uncertainty of how much time has passed in the first few episodes. By keeping Children of Earth a strict 5 days, it worked a lot more tightly, even though some of the timing there was wonky (a few hours to round up 10% of all the children in the world?). In MD, the panic was happening too quickly, and so was the response.  How quickly were the camps set up? How many legislative hearings would it have taken, given this divided Congress? My disappointment was how many intriguing ideas were raised, and then we never heard from them again, such as the “Dead is Dead” crowd, not even as backdrop to later scenes.
      Also I resent that the only female characters we’re left with, Gwen and Jilly, are narcissists. Gwen was never the nicest of women, but at this point, she’s downright unpleasant. Jilly, at least, was fun because we were being asked to see her as a villain, whereas Gwen is an unappealing heroine.
      Ever since Friday night, I’ve been trying to work out how it could have been plotted so that it would have worked better. I’m pretty sure it could have been incredible. The premise was fascinating.

      • Anonymous

        I disagree with you about Gwen being an unappealing heroine. I find her highly appealing but perhaps not to an American audience or in an American way. She is very Welsh and plucky in a very Welsh way. The character of Gwen was much more appealing than any of the female American characters. 

        • Anonymous

          I’m an American, and as I said above, I adore Gwen. I have English, Irish and Scotch (Scottish?) ancestry, maybe if I’m lucky, some Welsh is in there also.

          Plucky—great adjective!

          • Anonymous

            I’ve always liked Gwen too (I’m also an American).  She’s definitely flawed, but I think that’s a good thing–much more enjoyable to watch, especially in a world of fairly flat* and predictable female leads in most tv shows and films. 

            *Not physically flat, of course. :)

          • Anonymous

            Scottish :) Unless you were descended from whisky ;D 

            I really like Gwen, and I like her because she’s a stroppy, mouthy cow. I particularly like her response to being called English, as my own would be similar LOL!

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              “A stroppy, mouthy cow.” I LOVE that. It’s so perfect. I think even Gwen would characterize herself that way.

            • Anonymous

              With pride I would think.

          • http://twitter.com/Red_Rabbit2 Red_Rabbit

            I’m American too and Gwen is an obnoxious, charmess, lecturing pain in the ass. When they arrived in the US she insulted the blonde girl’s small car. What a bitch. She should have been happy they had a ride at all and if she didn’t like it she could walk. In fact I wish she would – right off of a cliff.

        • http://twitter.com/lbcubbison Laurie Cubbison

          I think the reason I never really liked Gwen (and I’ve seen all of TW and read some of the novels) is that she always came across to me as fundamentally self-centered. If there was a moral issue, as in Small Worlds, then her position was the only moral one. If it was a romantic issue, then her choices were right, no matter that she was cheating on and retconning Rhys or lording her coupled status over her single co-workers. I’ve liked her best in COE and in the beginning of MD when she was the fierce mother, but beginning with the Angelo episode she returned to acting as though only she knew best for the whole world.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elaine-Lang/100000366510311 Elaine Lang

            Laurie, I share your feelings about Gwen for all the same reasons.   She treated the people around her really terribly some times, and just because she was often kick-ass and clever doesn’t mean she gets a pass on the really shitty things she did to others.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q3DOO5BG6PPGYUEY57HOB4KDZI Hope

            Yeah, it’s the unrelenting self-righteousness (and the way she and everyone else ignores how incompetent she is in order to praise her brilliance) that gets on my nerves with Gwen.  I wanted someone a lot more like Aeryn Sun, not the Speciallest Snowflake EVA

        • http://twitter.com/lbcubbison Laurie Cubbison

          I think the reason I never really liked Gwen (and I’ve seen all of TW and read some of the novels) is that she always came across to me as fundamentally self-centered. If there was a moral issue, as in Small Worlds, then her position was the only moral one. If it was a romantic issue, then her choices were right, no matter that she was cheating on and retconning Rhys or lording her coupled status over her single co-workers. I’ve liked her best in COE and in the beginning of MD when she was the fierce mother, but beginning with the Angelo episode she returned to acting as though only she knew best for the whole world.

      • Anonymous

        I can’t imagine how you can put Gwen and Jilly in the same basket. Have you seen Gwen in the previous series of TW? Apparently the audience is rather divided on her, something I never understood. I have always liked her, even when she has had to do detestable things. Because I think over time the character has been fleshed out, has depth, and deep convictions and yes, even a moral code. She finds herself in extraordinary circumstances, and acts bravely. Strong and gutsy, with a dash of Welsh humor. My kind of heroine.

        Jilly, on the other hand, is one of the poorest written characters I’ve ever seen. We never learn any of her back story, her motivations for acting the way she does. From the beginning I saw her as extremely shallow, silly, willing to hop on whichever side of the fence she saw would butter her bread. It will take a lot for Lauren Ambrose to redeem herself in my eyes after taking on this one-dimensional character. I loved her fine nuanced work in Six Feet Under, and have a hard time understanding why an actress of her talent would be attracted to play such a character, while so different from Claire, had nothing but surface embellishment to sink her acting chops into. So pathetic at the end, so unappealing, so unpleasant, narcissist barely covers it.

        She doesn’t have a soul. Gwen does.

        • glennethph

          You mean Gwen was forced to mindrape Rhys so that she could deal with her guilt? I’ve tolerated gwen because seriously, the best thing about Gwen, for me, is Rhys.  He humanizes her and makes her loads better than normal.

          • Anonymous

            Gwen and Rhys have had a very complicated, often tortured, mindfucking relationship, which has changed, and grown more mature over time. Their history isn’t pretty. It’s been quite some time since I watched the early seasons of TW and the evolution of their relationship. Forced to mindrape?? I’ll have to get back to you.

            Rhys is one of my favorites. He’s a normal man, married to a volatile woman, having become equal partners in an extraordinary world. I agree that she would be a very different person without him.

            • MilaXX

              I think she’s referring to early on when Gwen lied to Rhys, cheated on him with Owen, then confessed out of guilt and retconned him.

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              If Retcon is “mind rape,” then a whole lot of mind raping was going on in all 4 seasons of Torchwood, including Jack “mind raping” Esther early on in this season.

              And I hate when “rape” is used as a hyperbolic device. Rape is rape and it’s an ugly, horrible, real world thing. Using it to describe the old sci-fi trope of memory wiping vastly diminishes the word.

            • MilaXX

              I don’t casually toss around the word rape either. Just second guessing what the OP may have meant by mind rape.

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              Oh, I know. That wasn’t directed at you.

            • Anonymous

              Just to clarify, I hope that “mindfucking” didn’t translate as another way of saying “mind rape,” because that’s certainly not what I intended. I meant it in the way of “mind-blowing” or unreal.

              I was really taken aback by the notion of Gwen forced to mindrape Rhys. I find that gruesome.

      • Anonymous

        Agree with everybody else here. I’m American and I love Gwen. She doesn’t take shit from anybody. What’s not to love?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1629311043 Marjean Fieldhouse

        Question, why the hell does Gwen have to be ‘appealing’ ? she’s out there blowing up concentration camps while wearing a leathers and riding a motorcycle AND she always remembers to put ear protection on the baby before blasting helicopters out of the sky.

        Seriously, we need women characters who are
        1. not pleasant when they are dealing with the CIA and/or bad guys
        2. in love with their husband instead of the unattainable man whore Jack
        3. Moms
        Personally I was rooting for rooting for Ester to get hit by a bus and dragged from day one when she tottered off on an espionage mission in 6 inch heels and then whined, whimpered and cringed thru the next 9 episodes.

        We need a lot more women characters who are neither ‘pleasant’ or even ‘likable’ but tough, complex and capable.

        Unfortunately Russell pissed away the whole Torchwood franchise.  Fortunately, we still have Steven Moffett who writes brilliant, strong and stylish women characters

      • drdarke

         I love Gwen, @twitter-24206281:disqus – as do a lot of people on here. She’s tart, often pigheaded, smart, willing to kick ass and take names, and from what little we saw of her running Torchwood at the start of S2 (before Jack came back from DOCTOR WHO) she seems like a lot better commander than Jack ever was!

    • Anonymous

      kudos to you for writing so many words especially during fashion week when it seems like one “sucked big time” would have been enough.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, so many plot holes beyond just the blessing. 

      I wanted at least for aliens to be involved (or the Doctor showing up to save the day, which obvs was a pipe dream)…that would have at least helped to redeem the rest of the sucking. Although, Rex kind of grew on me a bit towards the end…I’m not that unhappy with living forever Rex even though it makes no sense in previously revealed Captain Jack mythology. 

      But Oswald…wow, what a sad waste of Bill Pullman 

      • Anonymous

        Matt Smith looks far too intelligent to have anything to do with this unholy mess.

        • Ianto Jones

          Amen to that!

    • Anonymous

      I’m convinced this series had been planned out as 5 or 6 episodes but then the Starz deal has resulted in it being padded out. UK series are generally 6-8 episodes if they’re a running story-arc, usually only episodic shows are on longer runs (Original Torchwood, Who etc). If it had been solely a BBC production I’m sure it would have been far shorter, and it would’ve therefore been much tighter. The way the story has run, with it’s diversions and dead-ends as well as odd variations between overly slow progress then too fast for probability jumps, the pace just seems all over the place. It whiffs of them having to write extra time-filler scenes that wouldn’t affect later parts of the story.

      For all it’s faults, overall I have enjoyed it. I like Jack, and I like Gwen (I don’t find her unlikable at all – maybe I’m just another stroppy celtic woman). I don’t see it coming back to it’s roots now, if it continues it’ll be under it’s present production scheme and that’ll mean the predominantly US writers, team and locations. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m convinced this series had been planned out as 5 or 6 episodes but then the Starz deal has resulted in it being padded out. UK series are generally 6-8 episodes if they’re a running story-arc, usually only episodic shows are on longer runs (Original Torchwood, Who etc). If it had been solely a BBC production I’m sure it would have been far shorter, and it would’ve therefore been much tighter. The way the story has run, with it’s diversions and dead-ends as well as odd variations between overly slow progress then too fast for probability jumps, the pace just seems all over the place. It whiffs of them having to write extra time-filler scenes that wouldn’t affect later parts of the story.

      For all it’s faults, overall I have enjoyed it. I like Jack, and I like Gwen (I don’t find her unlikable at all – maybe I’m just another stroppy celtic woman). I don’t see it coming back to it’s roots now, if it continues it’ll be under it’s present production scheme and that’ll mean the predominantly US writers, team and locations. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m convinced this series had been planned out as 5 or 6 episodes but then the Starz deal has resulted in it being padded out. UK series are generally 6-8 episodes if they’re a running story-arc, usually only episodic shows are on longer runs (Original Torchwood, Who etc). If it had been solely a BBC production I’m sure it would have been far shorter, and it would’ve therefore been much tighter. The way the story has run, with it’s diversions and dead-ends as well as odd variations between overly slow progress then too fast for probability jumps, the pace just seems all over the place. It whiffs of them having to write extra time-filler scenes that wouldn’t affect later parts of the story.

      For all it’s faults, overall I have enjoyed it. I like Jack, and I like Gwen (I don’t find her unlikable at all – maybe I’m just another stroppy celtic woman). I don’t see it coming back to it’s roots now, if it continues it’ll be under it’s present production scheme and that’ll mean the predominantly US writers, team and locations. 

      • Ianto Jones

        I’m a stroppy Celtic man who knows quite a few stroppy Celtic women, and I’m pretty sure we’re a little less of the self-centred, two-faced, lying, selfish, arrogant, adulterous cow variety than Gwen Cooper.

        It takes real heartlessness to treat people as awfully as Gwen Cooper.

        • Anonymous

          You don’t like her then? ;D

    • Anonymous

      I’m convinced this series had been planned out as 5 or 6 episodes but then the Starz deal has resulted in it being padded out. UK series are generally 6-8 episodes if they’re a running story-arc, usually only episodic shows are on longer runs (Original Torchwood, Who etc). If it had been solely a BBC production I’m sure it would have been far shorter, and it would’ve therefore been much tighter. The way the story has run, with it’s diversions and dead-ends as well as odd variations between overly slow progress then too fast for probability jumps, the pace just seems all over the place. It whiffs of them having to write extra time-filler scenes that wouldn’t affect later parts of the story.

      For all it’s faults, overall I have enjoyed it. I like Jack, and I like Gwen (I don’t find her unlikable at all – maybe I’m just another stroppy celtic woman). I don’t see it coming back to it’s roots now, if it continues it’ll be under it’s present production scheme and that’ll mean the predominantly US writers, team and locations. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m convinced this series had been planned out as 5 or 6 episodes but then the Starz deal has resulted in it being padded out. UK series are generally 6-8 episodes if they’re a running story-arc, usually only episodic shows are on longer runs (Original Torchwood, Who etc). If it had been solely a BBC production I’m sure it would have been far shorter, and it would’ve therefore been much tighter. The way the story has run, with it’s diversions and dead-ends as well as odd variations between overly slow progress then too fast for probability jumps, the pace just seems all over the place. It whiffs of them having to write extra time-filler scenes that wouldn’t affect later parts of the story.

      For all it’s faults, overall I have enjoyed it. I like Jack, and I like Gwen (I don’t find her unlikable at all – maybe I’m just another stroppy celtic woman). I don’t see it coming back to it’s roots now, if it continues it’ll be under it’s present production scheme and that’ll mean the predominantly US writers, team and locations. 

    • http://twitter.com/Athenabast Athena Bast

      I just kept waiting for the series to get started and all it seemed to do was clunk and sputter to the end.

    • MilaXX

      I think the show should have been shorter, no more than 6 or 7
      episodes. I also don’t think we needed Jilly or Oswald Danes. I get that
      part of what they were trying to show us was some sort of statement
      about government and media and how fast systems crumble or some pish
      posh, but it went on too long having that embodied in those 2 characters
      and we had scenes with them that just, took you out
      of the story.You could have made those same observations by giving the
      Torchwood team better back stories. I also don’t think Jack needed a
      mirror. Having Oswald Danes as a pedophile be his so called mirror
      didn’t work for me because comparing the sacrifice he made in CoE to
      what Osawald did was apples and oranges to me. Oddly enough I didn’t
      mind Rex becoming immortal. However, if by some chance there is another
      series, just give me a few alien romps and leave the long range story
      arc alone.
      You need to include characters that people care about (even unpleasant
      ones) which the show struggled at times to achieve, a sense that the
      story is constantly progressing (I felt like there were literally about 4
      episodes in the middle where nothing interesting happening) and a
      pay-off to justify the initial outlay of viewer time and goodwill. The
      Blessing itself was too poorly realised visually and its effects on
      people too vague. We know it showed people their ‘true selves’ because
      the show told us, rather than showed it. The Families were also too
      thinly drawn. We have no idea how they came to work together, or found
      the Blessing, or thought to synthesise Jack’s blood, or why they thought
      to introduce the two, or how they designed the PhiCorp logo, or
      influenced all those ‘middle-men’ companies like PhiCorp, or what Phase 2
      of the Blessing was, or why they chose out Jilly, or indeed what
      remains of them and their organisation after MD. That’s a lot of loose
      ends and unanswered questions, some of it left purposely vague in all
      likelihood should there be further seasons but a lot of it is just bad
      writing. The Families were villains because they were villainous. No
      moral complexities or dynamic between them. Just villainous. At least
      the 456’s motives made sense.

      While I’d love to see Eve Myles and
      John Barrowman continue to be gainfully employed, part of me hopes the
      show gets cancelled (and this from a viewer since the beginning).
      Overall, Torchwood’s flashes of brilliance were simply not enough to
      sustain the series and I’d much rather see a Captain Jack and Gwen
      two-parter on Doctor Who than another vacuous season of Torchwood.

      • Anonymous

        Would LOVE to see Torchwood UK brought back and would LOVE to see Capt. Jack interact with the new Doctor. That really really needs to happen. 

        • Anonymous

          What we need is Captain Jack and Madam Vastra going on adventures and such together. If done reasonably well, the sexual banter alone would make this an instant hit.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elaine-Lang/100000366510311 Elaine Lang

            SO MUCH YES TO THIS.   The innuendo alone would be priceless.

        • Anonymous

          What we need is Captain Jack and Madam Vastra going on adventures and such together. If done reasonably well, the sexual banter alone would make this an instant hit.

      • Anonymous

        I love your comment, and agree with everything you said in spades, except I hated Rex becoming immortal. Well thought out, MilaXX.

    • Elena

      I liked Torchwood, absolutely loved Children of Earth, and watched the first episode of this series and stopped. Now I’m thinking I made the right decision.

      • Anonymous

        You absolutely did. Thank yourself you are free of this mind pollution.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ailsa-Martin/644946901 Ailsa Martin

      I’ve read that RTD actually planned this to be THIRTEEN episodes and Starz made him trim it down. Can you imagine?! 

      I gave up on this weeks ago but I might watch on Thursday (in the UK), solely because you used the phrase “deus ex vagina”. Brilliant.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ailsa-Martin/644946901 Ailsa Martin

      I’ve read that RTD actually planned this to be THIRTEEN episodes and Starz made him trim it down. Can you imagine?! 

      I gave up on this weeks ago but I might watch on Thursday (in the UK), solely because you used the phrase “deus ex vagina”. Brilliant.

    • Anonymous

      I was so angry after watching this debacle that I had to keep reminding myself it’s only a tv show. Talk about taking your intelligent audience for an insane clown posse* roller coaster ride into the mouth of hell. If you had posted earlier, I might have had much more to say. Thankfully it has faded rapidly from my mind, and Doctor Who more than made up for it.

      *apologies to any ICP fans, I don’t even know their music, I just liked the sound of the phrase :/

      I’m in total agreement with all your points. I may kid myself about never watching PR again. I guarantee I will never watch TW again.

    • Anonymous

      I am going to pray to the Giant Vagina that UK Torchwood comes back sans Rex and his over-emoting nostrils. I love Jack and Gwen. The rest can go jump. 

    • Toto Maya

      I refuse to watch this show, but as a Doctor Who fan I have to know. Does Jack get his immortality back? Because if not that is BS.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, he got it back.

      • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

        But he manages to “pass” his immortality to someone else as well. So the BS still stands.

      • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

        But he manages to “pass” his immortality to someone else as well. So the BS still stands.

    • glennethph

      Davies and Espenson seemed determined to kill off the most likeable new characters (Vera and Esther) and they seem weirdly in love with the least likeable character of all; Rex.

      *

      But isn’t that the case with RTD?  He kept on pushing Gwen at us, stating that she was the heart and soul of Torchwood, even at the time when she was slutting it up with Owen and cheating on Rhys plus retconning the shit out of him.  When the fandom began loving Ianto, RTD couldn’t believe it (and probably had to kill him so we couldn’t focus on him anymore).

      Anyway, you talked about insulting the audience.  That’s par for the course with him. 

      • MilaXX

        I also think this was RTD dumbing the show down for US viewers when in fact if he should have just written a good script and trusted the audience to catch on.

    • Lattis

      Well, the most common phrase in our house since we watched this finale is, “…and another thing.” As in “And another thing that didn’t make sense is . . . ” 

      There is a tv trope that captures the problems of this series:Viewers Are Morons – Television Tropes & Idioms

      I love science fiction and there is so little good SF on tv that when something as promising as Torchwood flames out I just feel like punching someone.

      • Anonymous

        Sign of really bad writing. All the viewer can, or wants to, focus on are the stupidities and plot holes. The World Vagina was a flame-out when it was first revealed, so the final episodes were left with nothing to focus on but the writer’s idiocies.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve probably mentioned this in a post somewhere already, but why do you guys cover Torchwood and not Doctor Who?

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        Because we only recently found out that there was a sizable number of Who-vians among our readers and we’re at the tail end of a 2-season long arc with the show. We might have a few things to say when this season wraps up and we might consider blogging the next season, so long as our schedule permits it.

      • Anonymous

        They said their plate was too full to take it on. Our loss! But it’s good TLo are so busy.

        • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

          Check out last week’s Torchwood post for our thoughts on the Moffat era and the Pond-Williams family saga.

          • Anonymous

            Ah. You know, I’ve been reading these Torchwood write-ups sporadically, and that was one I skipped.

    • http://twitter.com/vintagegoddess just julie

      I just can’t get past the whole “jack’s blood” thing and lack of explanation. Jack is not immortal for any biological reason, but because he is a fixed point in time. And as a fixed point in time who could Rex then become immortal. That’s just too much for me.

      • MilaXX

        Okay this bit I actually understood. The giant vagina “read” the world and basically reversed things. Hence Jack became mortal and the rest of the world  immortal. So when Rex transfused himself with Jack’s blood and he & Jack fed the giant va-jay-jay, it once again “read” Rex as mortal so when it reversed things it them made Rex immortal. If so much of this series hadn’t sucked, I wouldn’t mind this twist. It’s just it was one more moment of WTH? in a script chocked full.

        • Anonymous

          But why would The World Vagina ‘read’ Jack as immortal because of his blood? According to Whovian mythology, there’s absolutely nothing different about Jack’s blood from any other human.
          That’s probably the single most infuriating writer’s crime of the whole series. Effing up Torchwood is bad enough, but they’re also screwing with the Whoniverse.
          Not kosher.

          • MilaXX

            No idea. All I can say is despite then even saying on this very series repeatedly that there is nothing special about Jack’s blood, that’s the reasoning for Rex becoming immortal. I think it’s stupid, but that’s the reasoning behind it.

    • Cesar Negrete

      Me-ow!

    • Anonymous

      ” it feels like they wrote a first draft of a story and just shot it for the cameras.”

      I have increasingly been thinking about RTDs penchant for last minute scripts, as well documented in The Writers Tale. I do believe that tendency is not well suited to season long arcs. I think Bill Pullman was interviewed and said he signed on for Danes *even though* Davies had nit yet figured out where the character was going.

    • Anonymous

      Despite the fact that I found most of this series unwatchable, I really feel that if I had read the basic outline of the plot I would have thought it brilliant. In some ways MD was disappointing & frustrating in the same way as the Killing- the basic ideas were great, but suffered from poor writing and execution.

    • Anonymous

      The only thing I can say is that I am not quite as pissed off as I was by The Killing. I still love Gwen and her family, and by the end of The Killing I could not stand any of the characters. If there is another Torchwood, I really, really hope Rex is not a part of it.

    • MilaXX

      Forgot to mention one other thing; I was really starting to like Gwen this series and then they gave her that speech at the end that once again was all me, me, me and end with her saying something about how she brought death back to the world. Not Torchwood, not her Jack, Rex & Esther. It was once again Super!Cooper to the rescue.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        I don’t think she was commending herself for bringing death to the world. I think she was berating herself for it. It wasn’t something she was boasting about; it was something that deeply haunted her and for which she was willing to take responsibility.

        • MilaXX

          I get that but the others were just as willing and in fact did make the same sacrifice. Having her voice it in that manner made it once again feel like Gwen and only Gwen was making this grand noble gesture.  It just felt selfish to me. I guess it goes back to the convo she had with Jack in the car about how she loves being part of Torchwood because it made her feel special. It’s just a trait I dislike in the character.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t see another Torchwood series in the future, but I almost wish they would just to see if RTD could somehow redeem himself.

    • Joshau Norton

      It all boils down to the fact that RTD has the creative capacity of ten year old. Death is so dramatic! Oy vey. A better writer can create drama without constant death.

      I gave it a chance because it had Jack in it and he is RTD’s greatest gift to the world of Sci Fi. I shudder to think that RTD thinks there is something original about TW. A secret government agency in charge of combatting aliens? That has been done (well and horribly) at least a dozen times.
      But I tuned in. And instead of the grinning, jokey, hilarious Jack that we had fallen in love with, I got
      mopey, grim, serious Jack. It was really disappointing to see all the things that had made Jack so fun be taken
      out so RTD could indulge his infantile obsession with angst.

      None of the new characters were particularly appealing. And with any show, if you can’t get me on board with
      the characters, you’ve lost me. Add to that the mediocre writing (I can think of maybe 6 episodes that I
      thought were actually good) and I stopped caring about TW after S3 came along.

      So I listened to the news of this new Torchwood with ambivalence. RTD has done a great thing bringing GLBT characters into the Sci Fi world and for that he should be commended. Beyond that, he’s basically a crap writer with no good reason for that mammoth ego of his.

      • Alyson Lamble

        Slight problem here: Davies didn’t create Jack.  Steven Moffat did.

    • Anonymous

      I wonder if the producers/writers of “The Killing” were instructing  RTD on how to write for an “American Audience.”  Because it certainly does seem as though they followed the same manual on how to truly piss of their target audience. I am especially disappoint with Jane Espenson, because she has done stellar work in the past. Then again, I have no idea how much influence she she had on the story arc.
      I actually enjoyed Gwen’s character this season, even when she was recoiling in horror at the crass lack of Britishness found in the U.S. Rex’s character was unattractive in every way possible, and I actually liked Mehki Phifer in “Lie to Me,” so all I can think is that the writing and directing demanded that he behave in the most belligerent, arrogant manner possible. It was as if he was told to exhibit a complete and total lack of self-awareness. I also enjoyed seeing Reese’s character get a bit more development, even if it he is forced into the roll of plot device more often than not.

      Speaking as a geologist, the vagina that split the earth, is just…I can’t. No words.
      Does this mean that every time there is seismic activity, that it’s due to PMS? Why did the pink flesh rocks keep falling into the vagina, but gravity exerted a perpendicular effect on the dude who was pushed over the edge?

      Science is your friend, TV writers, think of it as fashion for your brain. Now I am going to wait for  “Alphas” and “Warehouse 13″ to come on so that I can at least have fun suspending my disbelief.

      • Anonymous

        See, in contrast it felt very American to me. Not like a British series at all, well apart from some odd flashes. So I’m sticking to my theory that they compromised somewhere in the mid-Atlantic and then fell in!

    • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

      No aliens, no logic, no explanation, and no reason to care about 90% of what went on this season. I was expecting a disappointing finale, but wow did that exceed my expectations.

      There was one little moment that I liked: when Gwen said yes, I am willing to kill my entire team to save the world. It said a lot about her character (in a good way–I loved Gwen this season) and it was a great follow up from her earlier conversation with Jack in the car. Then I thought, briefly, that they were setting us up to THINK that everyone would die, only to have everyone live for once in the show’s history. That would have been sort of ridiculous and great. But no, in the end they had to meet their death quota, and I barely even cared that Esther didn’t make it because I was still too busy fuming over the fact that Jack’s Blood was the only answer they could give us after 10 convoluted episodes.

      And why did it make Jack mortal?! No, no, if I start listing things that don’t make sense I’ll be here all day. Any nonsensical Doctor Who-ish technobabble explanation would have been better than no explanation at all. I am so not interested in another season.

    • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

      No aliens, no logic, no explanation, and no reason to care about 90% of what went on this season. I was expecting a disappointing finale, but wow did that exceed my expectations.

      There was one little moment that I liked: when Gwen said yes, I am willing to kill my entire team to save the world. It said a lot about her character (in a good way–I loved Gwen this season) and it was a great follow up from her earlier conversation with Jack in the car. Then I thought, briefly, that they were setting us up to THINK that everyone would die, only to have everyone live for once in the show’s history. That would have been sort of ridiculous and great. But no, in the end they had to meet their death quota, and I barely even cared that Esther didn’t make it because I was still too busy fuming over the fact that Jack’s Blood was the only answer they could give us after 10 convoluted episodes.

      And why did it make Jack mortal?! No, no, if I start listing things that don’t make sense I’ll be here all day. Any nonsensical Doctor Who-ish technobabble explanation would have been better than no explanation at all. I am so not interested in another season.

    • http://twitter.com/Kaptain_Killjoy Nimith

      I agree that there were some major missteps and missed opportunities and some egregious examples of pacing and plotting. I think that’s due in large part to the writers’ inability to work with the number of episodes they’d been given to work with – this would have been a better season if they’d been given fewer episodes to work with.

      But, I did enjoy Miracle Day and think that it’s brave, if perhaps a little foolhardy of them to try a multi-season arc. Torchwood fans might gripe at the absence of aliens, but let’s not forget that the Miracle would not have been possible if not for the blood of an immortal that was made so by alien intervention.

      In any case I think Davies has said that after Children of Earth he wanted to focus more on the darker side of humanity and Torchwood has always been about (mostly) ordinary humans grappling with malevolent forces. Which I think was the point of Danes. They rather clumsily drew the parallels between him and Jack, but the point was there, one was searching for a way to redeem himself, while the other was simply there because he really had no choice. And I liked that Danes never got a moment of redemption. He was a villain right to the end and served as an example of the monstrous element of humanity as opposed to the side that comes out when society crumbles and we are pushed to the brink.

    • Anonymous

      I watched last night, hoping that you wouldn’t forego a review because of Fashion Week, because I was waiting for someone/anyone to tell me what I was missing about the final episode that made it worth nine hours of my life to get there.  Thanks for validating what I already knew. 

    • Anonymous

      Now that you’ve finished with Torchwood, any chance you’d be willing to start blogging Doctor Who? Steven Moffat (in my opinion) has been doing absolute wonders for what was already a great series to begin with, now with 50% less one-dimensional females and storylines with way, way, way too many plot points tucked into them.

    • Ianto Jones

      But how the Hell could a giant vagina running through the Earth have the power to rip open time and change it so that Rex is also a fixed point because of a momentary confusion? The only living creature that has anything close to that technology is the TARDIS, and even then she had to use Rose in order to access it.

      The absolute fuckery of this series and the lack of respect for audience, canon and storytelling knows no bounds.

    • http://masquedbunny.tumblr.com masquedbunny

      “we’re not particularly interested in a world where Rex Matheson can’t die”

      THANK YOU

    • Anonymous

      RTD has taken a great show and totally fracked it up. I completely agree with everything you said in your post.  I can buy freaky sci-fi crap but not an all knowing earth vagina.  Nope can’t do it.  Sorry!
      And Davies listen, if you want to know how to interweave current social/political commentary into your stories, try watching Battlestar.  That’s what good observational TV looks like.  

      • Anonymous

        Didn’t Jane Espenson write for that?

        • Anonymous

          She did, as well as my beloved Buffy and Firefly.  That’s why I put most of the blame squarely on Davies shoulders.  
          I can only think that given Espenson’s fab resume, Davies controlled the overall story arc and planning so tightly, that Espenson was only responsible for the dialogue and writing the individual episodes.  I imagine Davies gives her a bullet list and saying write dialogue and story to fit around these points and don’t deviate. I tend to think the parts I enjoyed most were Espenson’s.  

          btw, I also adore Gwen and the “stroppy mouthy cow” is spot on!  Gwen is so different from American leads and most BBC television is, which is why I adore it so much more these days.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, Oswald’s weird ranting about finding Susie was like a Bizarro Fred Sanford and his fake heart attacks . (I’m comin’ to join you Elizabeth!)

      My biggest frustration with this show, as others have pointed out, is wasted opportunity: great premise, really good cast, 10-episode arc, and cable/no commercials. To leave the viewers without real explanations of The Three Families, the mystical vagina, and– really–the WHY of it all is just unconscionable.

      Thanks for the posts T Lo, especially this last one, given you’re attending Fashion Week. And thanks to the other for such great comments and analysis. Reading the posts and comments was actually the best part of watching the series!

    • Rand Ortega

      Watching Russell T. Davies take a big nasty crap on American culture because STARZ paid him to just doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe the long stretches of exposition & filler were network edicts, but this series simply didn’t possess the magic of Welsh (yes, Welsh, not British) Torchwood. What I loved about the former series were the characters & their flaws. Gwen was Captain Kirk w/out the JFK polish; she went into situations she had no business in, thoroughly screwed them up then went home w/ her tail between her legs into the arms of a man who loved her, mistakes & all. Captain Jack was a fascinating depiction of what a hero was like w/out the moral conventions that come w/ the constraints of time. Sometimes he was exhilarating, sometimes so cold & calculating because he had no emotional connection to the moment he was downright frightening. Ianto was a big tough guy until he met the man of his dreams then he melted like a wet matzo as soon as Jack kissed him. How often do you see characters like that on television? Even Owen & Tosh had their revelations. And to top it off, even if the plots were cheesy @ times, the twists & turns were @ least entertaining. It was an interesting if not always heady combination. This series was a pale shadow by comparison. Very sad to see such potential squandered so blatantly.

      • Anonymous

        Wales is still Britain :) Reluctantly at times perhaps, but they still are. And as the lead actor is Scottish, Torchwood can’t really qualify as 100% Welsh.

        • Scott Hester-Johnson

          Wales may be part of Britain, but what I think Rand was saying is that while all Welsh are Britons, not all Britons are Welsh. There is a certain loopy, whimsical nature to the Welsh identity (see: Gavin & Stacy) that meshes with perfection with the Who-niverse.

          Torchwood needs to get the F back to Cardiff, get rid of the american nonsense and get back to form. Welsh form, tidy.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Space_Kitty Space Kitty

      WORD.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ehormell Eric Hormell

      Well, I thought it was good. There, I said it.

      No, seriously, I didn’t think the series was great, but I was satisfied that the story had a conclusion, even if it didn’t answer all the questions. Oh, and I didn’t predict the ending because I probably missed some parts; blood makes me run screaming from the room.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ehormell Eric Hormell

      Well, I thought it was good. There, I said it.

      No, seriously, I didn’t think the series was great, but I was satisfied that the story had a conclusion, even if it didn’t answer all the questions. Oh, and I didn’t predict the ending because I probably missed some parts; blood makes me run screaming from the room.

    • Anonymous

      “We’re more than happy to pretend that this all happened on a parallel earth somewhere and there will be a season 5 of Torchwood set in Wales, where none of this ever happened and Gwen and Jack recruit a bunch of plucky Brits (instead of American stereotypes) to make up the new Torchwood team. Let’s all wish real hard to make this happen.”

      Wishing over here.

      I know I’m late to the comments but before I go through and read, I’m so P.O.ed about it being about Jack’s blood, Rex, stupid stupid stupid STUPID expository dialogue for everyone and wasted time.  Why couldn’t there just have been aliens?  oh, wait – because the plot was somewhat lifted from one of my fave Dr. Who episodes, where we met Jack and where the nanobots on the alien medical ship were fixing humans based on a faulty gene model (Are You My Mummy? creepy kid and all) so no, that would have been too close.  Oh yes, let’s just make up a terrestrial alimentary canal that what, recirculates blood and keeps track of humanity?  What the freaking hell?  Oh, I’m so mad.  mad mad mad.

    • Anonymous

      This season was so disappointing that part of me hopes that the show dies a merciful death.

      But if it doesn’t, here are my 5 wishes for any future series:
      http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/09/5-things-i-like-to-see-on-next.html

    • Anonymous

      THANK YOU. Just…amen. Amen to all of this.

    • Anonymous

      I’m from the US too – and I really like Gwen a lot, though not as she was written here! She was at her best in S2 of the TORCHWOOD television series, where she was the capable second-in-command who would make sure everything ran smoothly so Jack could jump around and be all heroic – but knew she wanted more out of life than chasing aliens with Jack.  That whole ranty speech she gave Jack when she kidnapped him in Ep. 7 about hating Torchwood and hating herself for loving it“

    • Robert Wines

      I hope the show comes back.  Rex made the show interesting without him it would just be another boring Dr. Who spin off.