Thursday, August 13, 2009

Torchwood's got some 'splainin to do

[Spoiler warning for Episode 4 Episode 6 (turns out we watched them out of order), Season 1 of Torchwood - not that I think that applies to my readership, but you never know.]

Torchwood is a spinoff of Dr Who and by all accounts, yes, it's darker than its parent series. That's fine.

But it's still supposed to be in the same general genre; humans interfacing with alien life forms - in the case of Torchwood I believe largely (or entirely) on Earth - and dealing with them, generally by preventing them from doing any (or any further) harm to humans, and either dispatching them completely or sending them back where they came from or convincing them they can get what they need form another source, or whatever. In Dr Who there's a great deal of compassion shown to all life forms, and often what are perceived as menacing out-to-dominate-the-world aliens are in fact merely seeking to fill a basic need of their own.

Well, okay. There are also not a few races that are, in fact, out to dominate the Earth.

ANYway. We've only just started watching Torchwood - again with all the warnings that it's "darker" than Dr Who - and it's interwoven enough with the first series to be a lot of fun, noticing the references and characters who may cross over, and again the basic premise appears to be similar.

Except in Episode 4 Episode 6, which appeared to be the same sort of thing at the beginning, and then devolved into a completely typical horror movie. The minority character was even the first one to get caught . There was no understanding the motives or compassion for the species or each being meeting its own needs as best it could; it was straight-up human psycho killers, with some torture by the good guys thrown in to boot.

I almost stopped watching at one point, but by then the heros had been caught, escaped, caught again, escaped again, and were about to get caught again; I figured it wouldn't be long before the whole thing turned a corner.

So I watched to the end, and as a special bonus got to see the primary heroine turn, in relationshippy desperation, to the arms of the totally disrespectful, full of himself pig of a coworker who was on the verge of forcing himself on her earlier in the show. It had looked like he was on the verge of growing into a better human being in the previous episode, and I suspect that we're supposed to feel that's what he's doing. Whether he actually does remains to be seen.

I'll give the show another chance; I'll give it several 'nother chances. I hope they go back to aliens and basic decency, and I hope this character does go back to showing a redeeming quality or two. It's only Episode 4, after all. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.


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