‘Torchwood’ blogging: “Reset”

Torchwood blogging is back! Haul out your Season 2 DVDs and get watchin’. (Before commenting, please read the intro to my Doctor Who blogging; the same caveats apply to Torchwood.)

(previous: Episode 5: “Adam”)

Torchwood blogging is late again this week — sorry!
Now, honestly, Tosh should have known that Owen’s sudden acceptance of the idea of a date with her was too good to be true. Isn’t that always how it goes? The guy you’ve been pining for forever finally notices you, even if it’s with a slightly jaundiced eye — “one date, see how it’s goes, which might be nowhere” — and next thing you know, he’s dead, shot in the chest by a deranged scientist who’s been experimenting on people by injecting alien insects into their bloodsteams. I hate when that happens!

Excellent concept for this episode, the biochemical button that sends the human body back to its “factory settings.” (Something to do with telomeres, probably — now those are some pesky little buggers, never mind the alien larvae in the bloodstream.) Man, Torchwood chews through ideas in one episode that could power an entire series — imagine a sci-fi ER — or at least a big-budget three-picture Hollywood franchise. That’s some confidence right there, on the part of the writers and the producers, to go right for the creative jugular and cut deep, secure in the knowledge that another spectacular idea is right around the bend. (The alien medical scanner? Coolness.)

I love Martha coming back into the mix: she so got the short end of the adventure stick with the Doctor, seeing as she was unable to keep her feelings for him apart from the awesomeness of traveling in the TARDIS. (I think I might be content to pine for the Doctor forever — not that he wouldn’t fall madly in love with me, of course, but speaking hypothetically — if it meant seeing all of space and time.) I love how evidence of her travels in space and time show up in her biochemistry. (I’ve often wondered whether the Doctor’s former companions end up dying from bizarre cancers brought on by their exposure to weird radiation in distant galaxies). And we see here how well she fits into situations weird and dangerous — look how much fun she’s having with Owen:

We know Owen’s got a little thing for her, but for Martha, it’s all about being back in the middle of a big mysterious mess, and getting to use her medical skills to solve it all.

At first I thought that Ianto was jealous of Jack’s clear affection for Martha — a whole shared past, including memories of an entire year that no one else has, will do that folks, bring ’em together and cement a lifelong friendship. But then it becomes obvious that Ianto, like Owen, kinda has a thing for Martha, too (maybe she reminds Ianto of Lisa, my Torchwood-watching pal Bonnie, aka bronxbee, suggested when I wondered aloud whether he was jealous). But then Ianto has no problem telling Martha about his and Jack’s love life: “We dabble,” Ianto says, in a way that’s “innovative… bordering on the avant garde — yeah.” The look on his face… I guess a 51st-century guy who’s travelled in space and time has picked up a few tricks here and there.

Random thoughts on “Reset”:

• It was only now, as I was zipping through this episode of Torchwood to grab my screencaps did I realize that huge quantities of this show consist of people — usually Tosh — sitting in front of computers tapping on keyboards:

Usually this is the kiss of death, certainly for a show (or movie), like this one, that’s primarily about the action. And yet this show makes it work, so well, in fact, that it’s only now, 20 hours or so into the show, that it even registered. Bravo.

• UNIT is “the acceptable face of intelligence gathering on aliens”? Huh. Acceptable face to whom? Cuz it’s still all secret, right? Acceptable to governments? To the aliens? (I kid… I think…)

• Alien larva:

I hate these guys. (Of course, they’re even worse when they turn into big-ass alien bugs.)

• Didja catch the newspaper taped to the door of Ianto’s little tourist-info hut/secret Hub entrance?

Jack’s little joke, perhaps? Cuz he was there at that mayor’s downfall…

• Ianto really is the snazziest dresser:

Not many men can pull of a shirt in a hot pink quite that hot.

Also, how not afraid of the weevil is Ianto? He truly is coolness personified.

• Great quotes:

“Oh, you are warped on the inside.” –Ianto to Tosh (that’s a job requirement for working at Jack’s Torchwood, I think: warped on the inside, adorable on the outside)

“I’d rely on Martha if the world was ending. In fact, I did.” –Jack (oh, how he loves to tease his fellow Hub creatures with tantalizing glimpses into his past)

“We must be the only two people on the planet…” –Martha, on not having slept with Jack
“I know! What are we doing wrong?” –Gwen (ladies, you’re just not trying — it’s not like he plays hard to get)

(next: Episode 7: “Dead Man Walking”)

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Thu, Dec 18, 2008 5:19am

After Jack asks if Gwen and Martha are talking about him. Gwen says, “No, no, we were just discussing alien flora, weren’t we.” Martha agrees. Jack mutters, “She’s no fun.” Just like Jack to inject a little sexual innuendo into an otherwise innocent remark (as if flora had been capitalized).

This episode makes you wonder about Torchwood in the political landscape. Prof. Copley thinks Torchwood can’t stop his research, at least through official channels. Jack seems to know this too, which is why he goes for the “total shutdown” method of closing the Pharm. Guess trying to save the captive aliens was either beyond Torchwood’s resources, would have make it too easy for Copley or someone else to continue to exploit them, or both. Better to just end their suffering. Wonder what Jack was thinking when he mentioned “a war crime” to Copley. By who’s definition (Earth’s or the Doctor’s)? Since both the Pharm and Torchwood operate outside normal levels of legality it really comes down to might makes right. Though this time at a price.

Thu, Dec 18, 2008 7:29am

(I’ve often wondered whether the Doctor’s former companions end up dying from bizarre cancers brought on by their exposure to weird radiation in distant galaxies).

that’s so watchmen!

David T is up and about so get well soon D!

(altho apparently not well enough to go to Xmas screening of the Next Doctor)

Lisa x

Proper Dave
Thu, Dec 18, 2008 7:47pm

In one of the Big Finish audio adventures, a former companion is indeed revealed to be dying from an alien cancer picked up while travelling with the Doctor. I won’t say which as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.