You are what you eat.
Pat Mills and John Wagner are
Just a mite ticked off.
So these two tossers are having a 'poor man's Cardiff Krays' contest with their wet mate. This huge great wrinkly turd-shaped thing pops out of the sky and lands on their laps. They have no idea what it is, how it got there or where it came from. Which one of them spontaneously decides "I know, let's eat it!", and takes the first bite to establish it as edible? Caaaaaath, The Goodies ended twenty years ago!
Let's get the blindingly obvious out of the way first. The plot, even by this show's meticulous standards, is insane. It requires a farce-theatre level of comic misunderstanding and relies upon Rhys being a total administrative buffoon before it even works at all, and there's no way I'm going to accept for a second that any Quorn-alike this rancid and unearthly is ever going to get past all the health and safety barriers and into the system, no matter what horror stories have been vomited at us in all the newspapers before.
Caaaaaath, The Goodies ended twenty years ago!
Also, you know those big swoopy hydraulic arcade cabinets that used to house games like Afterburner? That's Colin Teague's direction. Somebody hooked up the camera to an R-360 and let it rip - whoosh it goes towards every immediate sound source, wildly overcompensating and having to lurch back every time. And that's in the inactive conversation scenes. I'm convinced now that the only reason they keep Teague on is as a last line of blackmail defense against effects budget cuts, akin to Patrick McGoohan sulking, "Do The Prisoner my way or I'll make the ending unwatchable." Because you can't whip-pan everywhere around a majestic screen-filling CGI behemoth; not that the daft sod wouldn't try if there was any more room to piss about with. The ketamine stopped working at the end because they already wasted it all on the bloody cameraman.
But you know what? I bloody loved it anyway. There is something very '60s Marvel comic' about Meat; Stan Lee, flying in the face of industry-wide, self-imposed creative apathy, proved that a good story doesn't have to be original or even particularly well-written (though this is doing Treganna a massive disservice), so long as it's 'real' on a fundamental gut-level. Rhys completely and utterly won me over here, as every reaction Kai Owen gives - the realistic underplayed shock at his driver's death, the off-the-cuff lines ("Is he gay by any chance?") to mask his overwhelmed fragile grasp of the situation, the simple childlike joy at being alive, marred by the fear of responsibility that could bring it all crashing down at any time - is utterly convincing and genuine. No Neil, it is. Maybe you have just witnessed a giant, shapeless thing being cut up alive in a warehouse. But if you've just twigged that your fiancee has been telling you fairy stories for the last twelve months, are you honestly going to be damned to let her in on what you know, before you finally needle the truth out of her first?
This complaint about Meat being 'heavy-handed'; well, count your blessings as it could have been a lot worse. Denis Leary said, "Eating meat is an instinct; not eating it is a decision." At no point do the butchers believe their prey to be anything more than a lump of protein, but this is just what human beings do, to distance themselves from the food they eat by not putting a face on it. As far as they're concerned, the only thing they're doing wrong is bypassing all the bureaucratic rules; if anything, the 'message' is then undermined by their need to wave their guns around and show us that they're bad people, and to bring the wet one's change of heart - which is as much squeamishness as conscience - into sharp relief. If the bovver bruvvers had sank to their knees in realisation and wailed "WHAT HAVE WE DONE", that would have been heavy-handed. Or Jack spouting "What have they done to you, my poor friend?"... Oh.
But this is missing the point. Take the CGI out of the equation, and you're left with a number of different script elements that don't really need to jockey for position to grab your attention. To The Last Man was deliberately structured as a journey, but the giant space manatee is an incidental catalyst, and the 'humanitarian' aspect of its plight isn't really much more important here beyond a pang of sympathy and guilt, any more than Out Of Time was bothered with the cosmic anomaly that brought the three travellers to Torchwood's door before it all started going to hell for all concerned. You're not really expected to empathise with this thing, as the script makes it clear through the human protagonists how difficult this is, and Jack is fundamentally larger-than-life different from us anyway. (Jack's quip on eating alien meat would have been worth an extra fifty points alone if it had been a genuine Dish Of The Day reference; alas, we know from Rhys' Foon van Hoff secretary that he really will hit on absolutely anything with a hole and a heartbeat, and the chamber cut into the beast that's great for doing Pinocchio impressions with still probably isn't large enough.)
No, if anyone's going to have a beef (pun not intended) with the episode's politics, it's going to be over Catherine Treganna's apparent thing for euthanasia, though Owen administers the lethal dosage in a more pragmatic fashion this time. Personally, I love the way she makes us squirm with this, as there are no easy answers, no bullshit cop-out solutions, that it's an alien space-cow instead of a human being ultimately makes no principle difference (and if it had, something would have gone badly wrong with the production somewhere), everyone ends up hating themselves for what they have to do, and in that way showing us once again why they're so fundamentally bad at their jobs. The creature is dead, and the 'baddies' have basically got away scot-free in a way that leaves Voyage Of The Damned's 'that would make you a monster' moment looking particularly vapid.
Ianto: he's back, and this time he's got an erection
Mainly though, Meat is about the awkwardness of human relationships, this being the one area in particular where Catherine Treganna is absolutely head and shoulders above the rest of the scriptwriting meat-puppets; the two-way incompatibilities here play out in a resonating way, rather than being stilted and forced as Tommy and Tosh were in To The Last Man. It's about recognising when things have gone too far and knowing when to quit or come clean instead of hanging on grimly like Wile E. Coyote. It's about loyalty ultimately winning out over common sense. But most of all, it's about Rhys' wonder at his exposure to a new world. If Gwen had actually stolen that uplifting humanity at the end with the retcon pill, that would have all but killed the series' potential for character development for me right then and there, as an admission that it either simply can't be bothered, or isn't prepared to take risks; and her impassioned speech about Rhys being a 'better man' for involving himself voluntarily, instead of out of any sense of 'job duty' which deep down Torchwood all know is a crock of shit, is this season's true punch-the-air moment for me thus far.
It hasn't quite come off before now, but this is what season two has been leading up to; a self-assuredness that almost makes you wish that season one could be retconned out of existence altogether, even if it means losing Eugene and Captain Jack Harkness. It's going to take more episodes of this standard before we can finally throw off the instinct to shout 'no' every time Ianto throws a one-liner or does something totally pissed-off cool (he's back, and this time he's got an erection), or Owen is genuinely nice, because it's so out of character with what's gone before. It's a bit like watching a film made by a couple of media student friends as part of their final thesis; they really want an honest critique from you, but you can't quite get over the hurdle of them being your own pathetic mates.
But has anyone advocating the nationwide mass-application of Retcon stopped to consider the minor side-effect of it driving people bananas?
They tried to make me a Giant Kebab
I said 'No! No! No!'
This week, Team Torchwood are outplayed and outclassed by a bunch of local amateurs (including the pedophile from the infamous Brass Eye special). Even though Torchwood clearly out-number this inept bunch of heavies, they still couldn't round them up with a minimum of fuss and bloodshed. How impressive is that? What possible chance do they have against an organised gang of aliens with swords for arms? But it's hardly surprising that they came unprepared for a fight: Torchwood's idea of surveillance includes Jack rubbing himself up against a co-worker and looking longingly in to her smouldering eyes, instead of, say, keeping his eye on Rhys and the baddies to see what they might have been packing (besides meat, of course).
And why bother with the complicated ruse of using Rhys to get them inside the low-rent villain's warehouse in the first place? It was a bloody warehouse not a secret base overseen by a Bond villain and patrolled by a squadron of boiler-suited goons! Why not let the cops deal with this sorry mess? Surely this kind of nonsense is beneath Torchwood, and besides, they could have dropped retcon pills into the coppers tea after the bust went down.
How does that retcon pill work anyway? How does it know what to selectively remove from a person's memory? How many pills did Jack have to ram down the gang's throats for them to forget that they were butchering an alien space whale for a living? They could have been at it for months! And how did that little meeting pan out, exactly? Jack makes the villains take the pill and then he asks "Can you remember torturing a space whale recently?" and he just keeps going until they all swear blind that they don't know what he's talking about? Perhaps this all went on while Torchwood held the biggest BBQ in history next door. And then Jack lets them go. Back to a life of gun-toting, ketamine-fueled crime. Bless.
"Can you remember torturing a space whale recently?"
I still can't believe that this episode spent so much time and effort on a 'will Gwen retcon Rhys or not?' coda. Humanity has already experienced first contact with extraterrestrials, and even if the government were peddling the brazen lie that there was something in the water causing mass hallucinations, surely people would have been more than a little suspicious after the FOURTH alien invasion turned up?! Where the hell is Jon Ronson and Michael Moore when you need them? They've already seen the Sycorax, they ducked and covered when the Racnoss turned up, they've had to avoid Daleks and Cybermen bitch-slapping each other in the street, and they even saw a flying alien ball disintegrate the American President during a first-contact ceremony THAT WAS BROADCAST LIVE TO THE ENTIRE WORLD! And no, that bit wasn't wiped from the time-line (go back and check Last of the Time Lords if you can be bothered, cos the Torchwood writing team certainly didn't). And then there's the fact that London was evacuated last Christmas because of the threat of UFOs, which resulted in a spaceship nearly crashing into Buckingham Palace. And don't even mention the Zygons' pet swimming up the Thames, the Cybermen in the sewers or a couple of extinct dinosaurs gently necking in Covent Garden.
Bollocks. They should shorten the name of the pill to 'con'.
What chance do Torchwood have against an organised gang of aliens with swords for arms?
This wouldn't be quite so bad if Torchwood displayed just a little consistency. An OAP reacts to both an alien gangster and Torchwood itself in the opening moments of the very first episode of this season as if they are a nuisance rather that an anomaly. How does this square with the "Rhys must never know about us" nonsense! The local pizza delivery boy knows who Torchwood are, the local cops know who they are (they even mention them to Rhys at the scene of the car accident as if he'd automatically realise what they're talking about) even self-obsessed nerds with too much time on their hands know who they are. Just where the hell has Rhys been? Scuba-diving with Catharine Tate?
Maybe humans in the Torchwood continuum have a lousy memory even before they start popping pills. Take the blazing row between Gwen and Rhys. When she tells him that she hunts aliens for a living he acts as if aliens patently don't exist - EVEN THOUGH HE"S JUST SEEN ONE! I don't know about you but if I had seen a giant lump of land-breathing blubber in a warehouse I would have had my suspicions, even if I didn't live in a narrative universe littered with aliens. It would have been so much better if Rhys had simply said "Tell me about it! I've just seen one myself five minutes ago!" thus defusing a situation that was rapidly descending into hackneyed cliches, shot as if This Life was still a cutting edge drama.
Something else that is wholly inconsistent in this episode is Captain Jack's demeanour. It seems churlish to criticise the show for attempting to fix one of its fatal flaws (Jack being a complete and utter bastard, natch) but to do so with little or no explanation at all is simply unforgivable. Two weeks ago he wanted to pop caps in alien heads, now he wants to weep on them. Why? To impress Gwen? To give Ianto the horn? Suddenly he's Mr. Humanity which is maybe why Catharine Treganna used the motif of a "huge manatee" to subtly ram this idea home on a subconscious level. Which flavour Jack will we get next week? Place your bets now.
Owen puts it to sleep with all the pathos and tenderness of a Billy Smarts' circus clown...
And where's Helen Raynor when you need her? Instead of reaching for a fatal overdose of ketamine Owen could have simply rustled up some DNA that would have not only have sealed the poor brute's wound, it would have shrunk it down to size whereby it could happily sit in the palm of Jack's hand, like a warm. steaming turd, before Jack gave it a kiss and sent it packing. Part of me was hoping that the giant whale was actually an evil dictator who, like the Jagrefess before him, would continue to subjugate entire star systems upon its return home. If only Jack had interrogated its sorry, undulating ass! Sadly, this never transpired and we had to settle for Owen putting it to sleep with all the pathos and tenderness of a Billy Smarts' Circus clown.
The great big slab of meat itself is pretty difficult to emphasis with, too. Still, that's nothing new in Torchwood. It looked like a cross between a Mryka dropping, the monster the Millennium Falcon flew into during The Empire Strikes Back, and Ramsbottom, the snake with a Yorkshire accent that used to menace Sooty and Sweep in the 1970s.
But at least I came away from the episode pledging never to eat meat that's been carved from a living, breathing, sentient being ever again. And there aren't many shows that can deliver a potent moral message like that.
Seeing that Gwen was our entry point into Torchwood way back in Everything Changes, it was inevitable that boyfriend Rhys was gonna get his fifteen minutes in the spotlight eventually. Meat - somewhat like its much-abused subject - is a curious beast; part True Lies style domestic thriller in which one half finds out what the other half has been doing on all those late nights at the office; and on the other a somewhat heavy-handed treatise about the sort of ‘Meat is Murder’ anti-carnivorism that Morrissey was making T-shirt friendly more than twenty years ago. Whether it succeeds is a moot point, as largely Team Torchwood seem to have reverted to type this episode (even the ‘grown up’ swearing makes a less than welcome return). But there’s still plenty of meat (sorry) on the bones to make its failures at worst interesting; and at best something more than that.
So, having a girlfriend unknowingly work for a top-secret (ahem) government-ops type organisation in Cardiff without having bumped into her for the past year or so, Rhys (think Paul Cornell with a weight problem and better teeth) finally stumbles across his soon-to-be-betrothed strutting her stuff with her fellow Torchwood mates at the site of a lorry crash in which one of his drivers has just been fatally injured. Problem is, said driver wasn’t exactly being upfront about his cargo, and when Torchwood get wind that alien meat has entered the local food supply then it doesn’t take Sherlock to work out that pretty soon the professional lives of Gwen and Rhys (thus far about as diametrically opposed as it’s possible to get) are gonna come crashing together.
the wholesale exploitation of an intelligent life-form for base, human greed. But that’s enough about Rhys
All of which leads to arguably the most entertaining aspect of the episode. In fact when Gwen and Rhys finally cough up the truth about knowing what each other has been doing behind the other’s back it’s a relief to find that Torchwood can still do angsty, angry human emotion after the more touchy-feely direction so far adopted by Season 2. Their dialogue fizzles and snaps with hurt and betrayal - ‘I catch aliens’, Gwen implausibly says; ‘Oh, piss off’, Rhys retorts, before most memorably describing her attempts to explain her suspicious behaviour with little green men as some ‘pretty high grade shit!’ I wasn’t sure whether this was all to make the viewer laugh or cry at the bizarre juxtaposition of it all, so I chose the former.
So Rhys gets temporary secondment from meat packing to alien-hunting, drafted into Torchwood under the spurious conception that he can help solve the illegal meat supply being run by the Stereophonics look-alikes down town (even Jack has a point when he says that Rhys bungled Torchwood’s attempts at infiltration by going all commando himself). Still, at least he gets the chance to meet the bloke who was boffing his intended last year, not to mention check out his final resting place of that skewed timeline of End of Days. I dunno, for a bloke for whom character development thus far has amounted to little more than being knifed to death Rhys is a surprisingly likeable bloke; the human equivalent of a slobbery dog who always brings your slippers to you caked in spittle. Still, he managed to pull Gwen so what do I know about sartorial elegance?
And thus we’re brought to the core theme of Meat - the wholesale exploitation of an intelligent, albeit morbidly obese, life-form for base, human greed. But that’s enough about Rhys, what about the whale-like meat-feast that Team Torchwood aim to free from the shackles of a bunch of got-lucky entrepreneurs for whom animal rights is about as important as basic security.? Well, it moans like a harpooned animal, has doe-eyes that belie its gross weight and finally cracks Jack’s cool exterior after the extended run in the Grade-A prick zone he’s been inhabiting for the last few episodes. But enough about Ruth, Rhys’ secretary, what about the alien?
the human equivalent of a slobbery dog who always brings your slippers to you caked in spittle
Okay, I digress. If Meat has one major failing it’s in the heavy-handed message it tries to inject us syringe-like just in case we’re not sure we can work out the equation of animal exploitation = bad and compassionate humanity = good. It’s like someone saw Star Trek IV and Saw back-to-back and decided to mesh them together. But I for one find it hard to fall for the fact that Torchwood as a whole - and Jack in particular - get all dewy-eyed over what is in essence an overgrown tin of Pal dog food. Given his wholesale bastard treatment of Beth the alien-terrorist-in-disguise just a couple of episodes ago, it doesn’t chime right that all of a sudden Captain Shit is suddenly getting down with the whole compassion thing. And are we really going down the route of will they-won’t they shenanigans between Gwen and Jack given the less than subtle sexual tension between the two here?
But as a self-confessed non-veggie, I couldn’t bring myself to hate Meat. Catherine Tregenna’s script - much like her debut entries of last year - are a notch above the usual Torchwood fare (though, worryingly for her, it’s yet another treatise about the powder-keg debate surrounding euthanasia. She must be a hoot at dinner parties). And Kai Owen is a revelation as Rhys, finally given some meat (sorry again) to put on the bones of the dim, beer-guzzling boyfriend he’s been stuck with for the past year (and his comic timing makes Ianto’s current sabbatical at the Comedy Store pale into redundancy by comparison). But on the minus side, isn’t this the third out of four episodes so far that has relied upon Owen’s pharmacological version of Ready Steady Cook? And while we’re kicking the cat, so much for Tosh’s brief glimmer of character development last week; one week heartbroken lover of a doomed WWI soldier, the next clingy, needy groupie to arguably the least deserving bag of bollocks masquerading as a medical genius. Go, as they say, figure.
Still, at least somebody finally made the obvious comparison between Team Torchwood’s inept investigations and Scooby-Doo. Charlie Brooker, you’re vindicated at last…
Next Time: Would you Adam ‘n’ Eve It!?! Someone’s clearly been tampering with the timelines as Torchwood gets a hitherto unknown member (if you’ll pardon the expression).
I have to hold up my hands and say that Meat didn't engage me at all, and I could barely remember watching it a mere fifteen minutes later. Unless I'm mistaken the plot seemed to involve people arguing between trips to a warehouse in a transit van. I had a very similar experience driving my niece back and forth from her student flat to Safestore, but on that occasion her boyfriend of the time was the only thick lump of blubber involved. Elsewhere in the episode Catherine Tregenna was clearly working up themes about loyalty, betrayal, the cost of lies, animal abuse, the meat industry, the plight of the disenfranchised working-class in Cardiff, and the accident blackspots on the local stretch of motorway. And that's great. But I couldn't really get past the way the regulars had all become so touchy-feely once an animal was involved. Were they supposed to be the equivalent of old ladies who disinherit their children and leave all their money to the PDSA?
After several episodes of being a wanker his bottom lip suddenly gets all wobbly
Jack was particularly hard to stomach in this respect. After several episodes of being a wanker his bottom lip suddenly gets all wobbly, and even Gwen comments on his new found sensitivity. His rationale "We see enough death" is all very well, but why has he changed his tune today? Is it the weather? Has he found the perfect swatch for his new sofa fabric? I may be doing Tregenna a disservice, and it might be that Jack is self-consciously being more human because he is threatened by what Rhys represents to Gwen. But in a series full of insane character shifts, it is much easier to assume that he's behaving like this because Meat has been chosen as the one where everyone is suddenly sensitive. I should have felt sympathy for the poor whale, but it's hard to maintain sympathy when a torturing bully-boy is snivelling alongside it.
There were some laughs to be had though. When Jack described the whale as "Imprisoned, chained and drugged" you could almost see Owen's eyes light up. He hadn't had any of that kind of action since Series 1. Before you could say "hypodermic" he was away and brewing up some Rohypnol before advancing on the poor creature with his big stick. By that point the ludicrous ketamine-supplying dweeb had been zapped, which was a shame because I could have watched him all night. It's a rare man who can dominate the screen by overacting when out of focus in the background, but he was such a performer that he somehow managed to be the biggest ham in the warehouse.
If the space-whale itself was Exhibit A then they'd have to hold the trial in the Millennium Stadium
As ever, there was another inordinately long coda after the fate of the beast had been resolved. At first I thought this was just about wrapping up the burning questions that still remained. The gang were all retconned (the drug is obviously very specific as it wiped all their memories right back until the crucial point) but this was mainly because trying to charge them for smuggling alien meat in a depopulated area would "never stand up in a court of law." I love the idea of taking it to trial. If the space-whale itself was Exhibit A then they'd have to hold the trial in the Millennium Stadium. And as for getting rid of the body - apparently they incinerated it but how the hell did they do that without someone at least smelling it? And did they roast chestnuts on the pyre?
But the coda did serve a useful purpose, as thankfully Rhys was not retconned. The pressure of deriving stories from the interaction of the small group of regulars will surely be relieved by having a wild card like Rhys knocking about. Mind you, if she had given him the pill, then how on earth would she have explained away his bullet wound? Anyway, more Rhys might mean they start doing something different with Jack. It takes a lot but even I felt sorry for the Captain when he had a flirtatious exchange with Rhys's secretary. The man even pinched her arse! Captain Jack is Benny Hill. Surely Chibnall is crafting a season finale where Jack will finally be confronted with all the casual sexual harrassment he has perpertrated over the decades, culminating in a shock decision from a Cardiff industrial tribunal. That scenario would be more gripping than Meat.
India Fisher (voice over): Next, Rhys, a haulage firm manager from Cardiff sees if he can impress the Masterchef judges with this pan fried alien served in a French mirepoix sauce with a krynoid garnish.
John Torode: Well Rhys, how do you think you did?
Rhys: I dunno – I didn’t think I’d get this far in the competition. I only ever cook for my fiancé when she manages to get home.
John Torode: Let’s take a bite … nicely cooked meat although there’s a slight smell of chlorine, I like the sauce although I’m not sure about the krynoid garnish.
Gregg Wallace: It seems to be growing … erm … Rhys I don’t think you gave it enough time in the pan … oh … I think we’d better vacate the studio … aaaaaagh!!!!!
India Fisher (voice over): For now, they can relax …
Wasn’t that a fortuitous bit of scheduling? A cookery programme just before Torchwood’s satire on the meat industry narrated by a Doctor Who companion. Luckily, the closest any of the cooks got to red meat was some lamb, so it will be possible for me to look at a steak again without making the juxtaposition. Oddly enough, carnivarianism isn’t a perennial subject of our favourite genre with only Buffy’s disappointing Doublemeat Palace in recent memory. So well done to this series for at least attempting to tackle the subject in an interesting and innovative way and for the most part this was another exciting, funny not to mention bittersweet episode.
Unfortunately it was largely spoiled at the climax which was a victim of the golden rule about massive alien beasties – do not show the whole thing and especially in motion unless you’re entirely happy with the design. Again we defer to mad Mat Irvine on the Warriors of the Deep commentary when trying to excuse the Myrka -- it has to be lit properly and you just need to see flashes of the thing. Up until then, the realisation had been very effective, particularly the eye, its opening and closing in the face of humanity reminiscent of a similar scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home when Kirk greets George and Gracie at the aquarium tank.
Sadly, after the fourth or fifth pan across its glorious CG hide, all this dimension hopping, time traveling behemoth reminded me of was a cross between an elephant, a sperm whale and the pictured meanie from the old Bubble Bobble arcade machine. As it thrashed around, its front edifice opening and closing in my head I couldn't stop thinking about a quote from one of the truly great dvd audio film commentaries, Camille Paglia on Basic Instinct: ‘That of course is the phallus …’
My sympathy was blown. Of course we should be surprised that Owen is being a humanitarian in putting the beast out of its misery (and my suspicious mind wonders if Owen's niceness and total change of character isn't part of some story which is yet to be told) but in the final moments when everyone stood with their hand against it became slightly creepy not to mention hilarious at just the moment when us meat eaters are supposed to be reaching for some celery, renouncing brisket forever. Moby Dick indeed.
Catherine Tregenna script was a fascinating piece of work. I’m sure there have been other stories about the farming of alien meat but this is probably the first time we’ve seen it on television and to have the cowboy equivalent of Dewhursts involved and not some corporation was part of the thematic thread which reaches through much of Torchwood, that its always the oh so very common man of Cardiff who’ll get mixed up with these alien interlopers and their technology.
Many wonderful touches, such as said butchers getting the sharp end of the very thing that usually ends the life of a cow in an abattoir and the gaudy details of the semi-slaughter at hand -- you couldn’t help but squirm at the mention of the chemicals being pumped into the meat (although better that than the additive described in Fast Food Nation, the book and the film). Ianto's constant jappery still works ('And guess who'll be the one to feed it...'). He's turned into Chandler from Friends and look - he didn't even burst into tears when he was captured this time.
Last year Rhys was largely in the role of the harassed bystander, much of his time spent calling Gwen at inopportune moments. It seemed a forgone conclusion that at some point he'd manage it in person but his ensuing bravery was a real surprise -- well done to the writers for not simply putting him the position of a male damsel. The long awaited confrontation with Gwen was as explosive as it needed to be, potty words flying, shouting, screaming and a definite sense of a relationship shattering.
I think this is some of the best work we’ve seen from Eve Myles and Kai Owen finally demonstrated why he was cast in the first place, very much able to carry drama as well as comic relief. About the only disappointment was the non-addressing of Gwen’s fling with Owen from last year, but there’s plenty of time for that given that they’ve taken the bold move of not giving Rhys the white pill. How long to you think it’ll be before he’s out having a skin full with Dav and decides to tell about the things he’s seen?
Other than that only a couple of scenes of non-coupling between Owen and Tosh really failed to convince. It seems like a retrograde step for the latter after last week’s ‘awakening’ and a disappointing example of the writers still trying to have it both ways in terms of character arcs and stand alone stories with a personal focus. Also director Colin Teague though managing to carry off the action scenes pretty well this time, still favours the interesting camera angle -- what the hell was going on outside that door in the corridor?
It wasn’t that far away from that old Russ Abbot gag in which the camera spins to reveal exactly how Batman could walk up walls and if it had been like that any longer I’d have been like a team caprtain on A Question of Sport with my head cocked to the side. I would say though that he was largely to blame for the over indulgence with husky slug features presumably assuming that the audience needs to see the thing after all the build up having probably missed the fable about the wise blind men and the elephant at school.
Next week: Torchwood remakes the old Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Conundrum …
Behind the Sofa is a collaborative blog dedicated to the long-running British SciFi show 'Doctor Who' and its spin-offs. Intended for mature readers only.