Sunday, July 12, 2009

Torchwood 2/5 - Hit the Road, Jack

Whats up with what's going down?
In every city, in every town?
Cramping styles is the plan!
They've got us in the palm of every hand!

We'll turn the tables with our unity
They're neither moral nor majority
Wake up and smell the coffee
Or just say "no" to individuality

When we pretend that we're dead!
When we pretend that we're dead!
They can't hear a word we've said
When we pretend that we're dead!

Well, the second episode begins with the grim realization the Doctor is going to have to find somewhere else to suck up rift energy as the nifty plaza outside the Welsh Millennium Centre now resembles ground zero. I wonder if poor Myffanwy the Pterodactyl escaped? And what about Betty and Janet the Weevils? And Grey, who was in cryo-suspension? OH THE HUMANITY! One can only wonder who's severed arm, head and leg are scattered over the area.

Concussed, part defeaned and sick with worry about her pals caught in the exploding Hub, Gwen's deranged paranoia saves her life as it turns out that the two paramedics who try to help her really ARE evil government ages determined to kill her. Now, while I might buy Gwen going apeshit with a fire extinguisher and defeating her foes at close quarters, the superhuman ability to hurl said foes into the infrared sights of sniper rifles seems slightly harder to swallow.

But what has happened to Ianto? Well, he's taken the slightly more realistic approach of "running like hell and trying not to get shot" rather than Gwen's "steal an ambulance and leave a trail of corpses in my wake". Yeah, maybe my descriptions of Psycho Gwen might be preinformed by earlier performances, but this time there's NO subtext. She's nuts. She's going Reservoir Dogs on the opposition's ass and ABSOLUTELY STEADFASTLY REFUSING TO BLINK! Dear God, those Weeping Angels would never get near Gwen when she's in this state, emptying her gun into an ambulance's walls to get attention. What a wonderful mother she'll make.

Gwen starts shooting a guy in the foot and screaming, "WHY WOULD THE GOVERNMENT WANT TO DESTROY TORCHWOOD?!" at the top of her voice.

As Kerr Avon would say, how long a list would you like?

Meanwhile, Tough Bitch (or "Aunty Terrorist" as PC Andy wittily dubs her) is working to finish off Torchwood. But since she's only blown up the one that can't die and the mortals have escaped, she's not really up to a good start. In fact, she's bloody clueless - it's only sheer luck that PC Andy is around to tell her Gwen's address. Andy for his part is played totally for laughs, almost Frank Woodley-esque as he sits with the Black Ops wetworks team all locking and loading their guns, chatting about local knowledge and assuming they just want to have a quick conversation with Gwen rather than giving her an instant blood transfusion. But, once again, Gwen's paranoia is up to eleven and she's like Will Scarlet on acid as she barges into her bedroom, grabs her husband and flees the country (while simultaneously never giving the impression she hasn't just gone nuts). Andy's reputation sinks even further when, upon finally catching up with Gwen, she shoots out their tires and flees - rather ruining his protests she's just a slightly-stressed ex-copper, but similarly denting Aunty's claims she's a psycho serial killer terrorist.

Giving up on Gwen for the moment, Aunty sends her troops round Ianto's sister place for a nice bit of home invasion... and checking out Ianto's naked brother in law who takes the presence of SWAT teams aimed at his whale-like blubbery nudity with the excitement of a wrong number. Um, Rusty, I know you're quitting forever, but this is starting to get worrying - I mean, especially as all the naked blokes seem to be the shapes and sizes that Mad Larry prefers (oh, and he's given up The Randomness Times, by the by, the quitter - apparently he's enjoyed this series of Torchwood which has made him question his own sanity, which might be a joke, but as it isn't remotely funny, it's equal odds, isn't it?). Of course, Ianto wasn't so stupid as to go to his only relatives and is instead wandering around Cardiff late at night, rather like Bernard in The Lockout. Blimy, there's a lot of Black Books similarities this year.

The next morning, the children business is rapidly becoming old news. None of the children believed in their demonic posession, and more and more people are convinced it's a government conspiracy - faking Midwich Cuckoo bollocks to take our minds off the more important matters, like the Great Global Warming Swindle or Princess Diana. The party line is this is no more worrying than a hula hoop craze, which of course fools absolutely no one. Not even the Welsh. Especially not Matthews, who's on the run. Even Loony Lois is suspicious, though mind you she needs to look up Torchwood's wiki entry twice before noticing a connection between the Only Remaining TW Base and the suspicious explosion nuking Cardiff Bay. Hmmm. Torchwood Glasgow disbanded uh? I wander what happened to Archie?

Meantime, the 456 have sent a very detailed memo requesting mankind build something for them ASAP on top of the MI5 building - it turns out they can contact Earth quite normally, but do the spooky mojo for a laugh. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister remains sinisterly blunt and honest about damn well everything, like his promotion of Frobisher effectively putting him on the front line to be sacrificed. When "Jack's" remains are taken by Aunty and put into the morgue, our favorite omnisexual begins his own incredibly graphic tribute to the TV movie with much blood, guts and bones, while Gwen and Rhys piss about with ATMs, then flee the country. Ianto's clan meanwhile get their own back by getting the estate to close in on the MIBs, claiming they're pedophiles, allowing Ianto's sister to meet up with him during the uproar.

But no sooner has Gwen finally told Rhys about his fatherhood (on top of a heap of King Edward potatoes in the back of a lorry heading to London), the kids are possessed again - "We are coming tomorrow" - and Lois meets up with the pair to tell them, basically what they already know. Meantime, Aunty pauses only to admire the fully regrown Jack fully naked... Rusty, this is getting painful - will the Moff have Karen Gillan stark full frontal every week? No? Well, you shouldn't get your rocks off that way, either should you?... before burying him alive in concrete. Nasty.

Thankfully those pesky Daleks killed off most of the intelligent military officers, so Rhys and Gwen are easily able to infiltrate the area to get to Jack by bamboozling the biggest bunch of morons outside of a Little Britain montage. I mean, bloody hell, this is a dues ex machina worse than any screwdriver - whenever our heroes screw up, it turns out all the guards are even MORE stupid than we thought. Alas, this makes Gwen overconfident and by the time they realize that Jack is now in a cell-shaped lump of concrete, they are surrounded by more armed troopers and flashing red lights than the season finale of Blake's 7. Totally outgunned, surrounded and with no weapons, Aunty Terrorist rightly assumes that Gwen and Rhys are stuffed.

But has she underestimated Gwen's bowel-loosening insanity...?

Does that even deserve an answer?

With the stupidest escape plan since Double the Fist ended, our heroes avoid Aunty, regroup, recreate the final scene of The Young Ones, give a good opportunity for Jack to stumble around naked bar manacles (seriously, RTD, stop it!!) while the Evil Government Conspiracy complete the 456's request: a gas chamber full of poison. Is it so they can breathe? Is it just to help the feng sheui? Given instructions about alien ambassadors, is this some sly reference to Pertwee's third story?

Next Time: the very same, only this time, MORE violent!!
"You're the only friend we've got at the moment, Lois."
Things are bleak. The 456 have arrived. And Jack has somehow got his coat back - the one that was atomized in the Hub explosion. Um, how the hell does that work?!?

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