Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Torchwood 5/5 - Nowhere Left To Run

Let's go and see the stars!
The Milky Way, or even Mars!
Well, it could just be ours!

Let's fade into the sun!
Let your spirit fly!
For we are one!
Just for a little fun?

I want to get away... I wanna fly away...

The finale of Torchwood begins with Gwen's doom-laden video diary as the PM declares the new "innoculation scheme" to gather up all the children while UNIT try to communicate with the less-than-gracious 456, who reveal they will milk the kids for their pubescent hormones - yes, the 456 are space junkies and they need a fix STAT! Well, this explains their violent mood swings, constant sneezing and smoking the place up like a bong championship in Redfern.

Despite this revelation, the child-snatching plan still goes ahead while Mr. Frobisher bluntly reminds the remaining members of Torchwood they are no longer major players in events, and no one has to suck up to them any more. Even if they spills the beans, all they can do is cause utter anarchy a few days earlier than it will eventually break out.

"That's what Torchwood does... it ruins your life."

All hope is officially abandoned, and even Aunty Terrorist is feeling the angst, while the PM decides that having Frobisher's daughters as victims of the 456 would be good publicity for the "Oh, boy, were WE suckered! That innoculation stuff actually turned out to be mass alien abduction! Still, what can you do?" campaign the world's governments are trying to pull.

Frobisher's solution to the idea of his children being sacrificed involves a fully loaded gun and going home early.

Unable to pull off their bluff convincingly, the government decide to stop fannying about and go hardcore, with the army raiding preschools, day care centres and also the Jones' 10 Quid A Kid Scam. It seems that since Moffat is now ruler of Doctor Who, RTD doesn't feel obliged to his advice of "lighten up and stop melting all the interesting characters you write for", as Jack's last-ditch attempt to fight the 456 involves teaming up with Aunty Terrorist and her shock troopers who are as gun-happy, psychotically ruthless and quite possibly as insane as those Welsh lesbians he teamed up with when he joined Torchwood.

Well, cut a long story short - the world doesn't end, the 456 get long-awaited karma, and Prime Minister Brian Green gets completely screwed over by the lady from The Last Train. The last seven minutes of the episode occur six months later, with Captain Jack coming to the conclusion that after two and half thousand years, he's pretty much sick to death of the Earth and everything on it and so - with his miraculously-recovered Vortex Manipulator - Jack decides to do the whole Ford Prefect thing and start hitchhiking the galaxy and get away from a world where he can't look anyone in the eye any more. "I've lived so many lives," he muses as he takes his leave of Terra. "Time to start another one."

When it's pointed out that he can't go round life running away from his mistakes, our greycoated hero retorts:

"Just watch me."

Well. That ends the series on the moral tone I'm sure the audience needed. Of course, RTD is banging on about a possible fourth season of Torchwood - but lest Jack returns, or else Torchwood focusses on his galactic manwhoring across the Milky Way, I don't see it happening. The entire cast are gone now, the sets destroyed, and both Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures were sick of the premise to start with. Are we honestly supposed to expect Torchwood 4 will be the Cardiff based adventures of Aunty Terrorist, PC Andy, Alice and Lois being completely useless with a few funky laptops? Actually, that's about as retarded as the original pitch, so the Mythbusters would dub that "Plausible". But with RTD and Chris Chibnall both washing their hands of the show, you have to wonder: what TW stories remain to be told? With a thriving audiobook business and a magazine, Torchwood is doing a hell of a lot better than Robin Hood which had the huge advantage of having a story left to tell with a regular cast.

To misquote the Goodies: there's no point going on, especially as the rapidly-encroaching Matt Smith era clearly has no desire to hang around its predecessor (though, I note, some say Jack might be a regular guest in the new season which is still possible, as Moff after all likes the character). After three seasons of corruption, inappropriate sex, drug-use, lies, blood, death and incredibly poor internal-series continuity, I suspect Torchwood has told us all it has to tell. The 21st century has changed, let's move on. Or perhaps move back? There can be no denying that Torchwood's past is far more interesting than its present (which is now non existent, though apparently the Institute is revived as the Torchwood Archive in twenty-two centuries time), so maybe they'll finally tackle that Jago and Litefoot style spin off - which, if nothing else, would mean far less ability to rip off Joss Whedon. In fairness, however, I can't think of any Buffy or Angel episodes ripped off this year - mind you, with the titular hero freaking out and running away in shame, I suppose it COULD at a pinch, nick the end of "Becoming Pt 2".

Children of Earth has been pretty much a success, though I despair at fan reaction - the death-loving suicidal emo bastards fall over in writhing ecstasy at anything that can be sold as "gritty", "dark" and "adult", which is why every single OGer on this planet was praising Midnight as Best Episode Ever before the bloody thing was finished, which is why Resurrection of the Daleks was the most popular story of Season 21 (a reaction that horrified even Eric Saward), and why people prefer Dragonfire to the rest of McCoy's first season despite the writing being total trash. People might wail and moan predictably "why oh why oh why did RTD wait so long to write a story of this calibre?", missing the point that he has clearly done this in the week-long format to specifically shut everyone up and hopefully leave them in such a state the longer the wait till the apocalyptic and doomladen Tenth Doctor finale, the better.

Bluntly, if you enjoyed Children of Earth, you completely missed the point.

Man, after that backlog of five years worth of angst and cynacism, I need something to cheer me up...

I wonder what Lawrence Miles has to say about Torchwood on The Randomness Times? Oh, wait, silly me. He decided to abandon the whole blog after forgetting to update it for a month, as he explained in that last post about how he one got barred from a pub when he anally violated someone in public after they said they liked Babylon Five... Hang on - that lengthy essay has been replaced with, and I'm not making this up:

I don't know what goes here, and I'm sorry. I started writing an essay to explain everything, but even I couldn't understand it.

Oh, God. I'm actually fucked, aren't I? I mean, not just in a jokey way. I'm genuinely losing it.

Why is this blog's number of followers slowly increasing, though? Are you taking the piss, or are you just trying to make me panic?

Well. That's lightened the gloomy atmos if nothing else, huh?


Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Hang on... having just watched Day 5 I did enjoy it... damn, missed the point...

What was that about LM anally violating somebody who like B5?

Youth of Australia said...

Hang on... having just watched Day 5 I did enjoy it... damn, missed the point...
Maybe you're the exception that proves the rule.

What was that about LM anally violating somebody who like B5?
HE said it, not me! And if he deleted it from his blog, well, that's because I'm a moron who doesn't understand his genius.