After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the garden
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder and spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience
Yes. I've reached the end of my tether. It's taken all my willpower to stop myself copying out the whole of The Waste Land instead of summoning up the effort to write a review. I am tired - it's been a long series. We who were living normal lives a few months ago are certainly now dying after writing so many words on Torchwood. And in the case of Fragments, there was definitely a lot of agony in stony places. It was a wildly implausible episode but some of the daftness could have been avoided quite easily. There was no real reason why each of the protagonists had to be standing directly over a bomb, and the fact that they all survived without a scratch just made it seem a bit stupid. There were other oddities, but perhaps I'm going soft because in the end I just really enjoyed this episode. Lawrence Miles has taken exception to the nod towards Abu Ghraib/Guatanamo Bay when Tosh is imprisoned by UNIT, mainly on the grounds that a stupid programme like Torchwood shouldn't go anywhere near that kind of stuff because it patently isn't up to it. I'd provide a link but Lawrence seems to think that blog entries are perishable goods, so he's already taken down his latest entry and put it in the fridge. I can't fault his reasoning (about Abu Ghraib not the blog entries), but just as through the rest of the episode, I was too busy laughing at the madness to get worked up about it.
Anyway, I'm running out of time. Exit Wounds is on at 9pm, and I have a bottle of wine to drink and my Crossroads DVD to watch before then. So forgive the suitably fragmentary and incoherent nature of my review.
Back when To the Last Man was on I was rueing the fact we didn't get to see Torchwood: The Bloomsbury Set, so I was ecstatic to see that even in Victorian times Torchwood was pioneering lesbian relationships that were later to be perfected by Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis. It took a couple of strong women to break through the barrier and just mention The Doctor outright without all of the torturous circumlocutory nonsense typified by Jack and Martha's conversation in Reset. The fact that one of them was adept at killing a man with her strong thighs was just the icing on the cake. I also liked the detail that Jack only joined Torchwood as a way of passing the time while waiting for The Doctor. Which is after all the same reason why most of us watch Torchwood. For once I felt a certain empathy with Jack. Unlike the succession of managers at Torchwood during Jack's 100 year wait. All that time and he still hadn't made boss, and only got the job after his nutty boss went apeshit because he couldn't get a mobile network on millennium eve. And as we've seen for the last two series, that Peter Principle always gets you in the end.
Her attempt to get the Babylon 5 plans reminded me of the jewel theft in Return of the Pink Panther. And once again top marks for stationery - I loved the string-pull envelopes. Even more than that it was lovely to see Professor Kyle again, as I still treasure her feeble death-scream from Earthshock. But this whole section was about UNIT getting all Abu Ghraib on our ass. Perhaps it is dropping the United Nations part of its name so it can stike out boldly and abuse all human rights in a much more systematic way. Certainly Tosh's plight in the context of the Abu Ghraib photographs brought some horrifying images to my mind. A wizened Warrant Officer Benton swigging on a mug of hot sweet tea before pissing it all over a supine Tosh while a decrepit Captain Yates takes snaps and uploads them to UNIT's website. "Just type buffalo to see our latest jpgs." But then Jack turned up and ruined the moment by squeeing "Baby you're goooood!" to an understandably confused Tosh.
God he's persistent.
Easily the weirdest one. Alzheimer's that isn't really. Brain tumour that isn't really. It's Crossroads!
Clearly Owen finds it hard to extract the positive from a situation. When he discovered he was dead he just sat around wistfully, rather than hunkering down to watch DVD boxsets of The Wire all day, and similarly here, he gets sad about the forgetful girlfriend rather than exploiting her disability to the full: "I did make you some tea! You've already drunk it!" But just when Torchwood is getting sensitive, Jack bursts in with his characteristic "I'm sorry. I tried to stop them but everyone is dead". Why couldn't he have stopped things earlier? He implies he's known this a while - why not cut the grid to the hospital and send in the SWAT teams if you know people are going to die? All that aside this section was a magnificent twist on the standard boring episode of a medical drama. The weirdness and graphic nature of the alien in the brain was a great end to this mini-episode of Casualty. All it needed was a molested child and it would have been textbook.
In short - the most fun episode of the series. Now I have 20 minutes before Exit Wounds starts - I'll see you all on the other side.