Nooooooooooo!!!!!! Dear God! What is it with Russell T Davies and bloody internment camps? Is this the only, single, sole idea he can ever come up with?

He put internment camps in Left Turn in Doctor Who. He rounded up children and took them away in Torchwood: Children Of Earth. And here we are again: when it’s time for him to pull his Big Idea out of the bag for this series of Torchwood, what’s his go-to? Bloody. Internment. Camps.

The chief reaction we’ve seen to the so-called revelation in Categories of Life that they’re incinerating the people who previously would have been dead is utter surprise. Surprise? We’re gobsmacked. How is that even possible? Given the setup in the previous episode, coupled with his track record, where else could he possibly have been going with this?

It’s not just that he’s doing it. It’s also how he’s doing it. The only person we’ve seen who demonstrably knows exactly what’s going on is Maloney. There might have been some interest in the camp thing had Maloney been convinced he was doing good, or even if he was just some guy doing his job. But no. We might get all confused if they did that. Instead, he has to be racist and sexist and mistreat his patients as well as killing them, so there’s no doubt that he’s a Bad Man. Sigh.

The camps aren’t the only factor giving us déjà vu. The plot’s finally lurched into motion, only for us to recognise how familiar it is.

Remember Children Of Earth? How did that go again? Oh yes: something suddenly happens to all the children on Earth. Turns out aliens want a chunk of them, so under their direction humans gather them up. (You might very well say into camps. We couldn’t possibly comment.) Meanwhile, someone outside Torchwood is drafted in to help them by infiltrating something, and Gwen and buds, because they're associated with Jack, go on the run from the authorities.

And here we are again. A sudden event. Humans behaving badly. A mysterious power (you might very well think that it will turn out to be aliens. We couldn’t possibly comment) who’s behind the humans’ actions. On the run…Torchwood draftees… infiltration….and camps. Yeah, we’re on the edges of our seats, all right.

And we wish that were all of it. Because it’s not. After all, what would Torchwood be without a big, gluggy, choking spoonful of stupidity?

Where to start? Gwen sails through passport control without so much as a dye job and coloured contacts, despite being apparently wanted on two continents and despite the sophisticated biometric measures that are actually in place at borders. That’s a good one. Oh yeah, and what about Rhys, who after going to the trouble of dressing up as Gwen’s driver then kisses her in the middle of the airport? Good thinking, ace.

And the US Torchwoodies’ cunning infiltration plans? There are a lot of people who clearly know about the Modules and how they work. People who put the plan together; the camp staff; even the people who installed the gas jets. Of all the people you could pretend to be to find out more about this, about the dumbest, most dangerous role would be to fake being a Category One. Guess which method Rex chooses?

Of course, Rex isn’t the only one going undercover in the camp. There’s also Dr Juarez, who in a situation where she’s alone and unarmed with no backup proceeds to threaten someone with a lengthy prison sentence. And continues to do so even after he fills her full of lead. She could have just left, passed on the information to the Torchwoodies and done some good by publically exposing what was going on in the camps. A sane person would do that. She does not. And to rub salt into the non-healing wound, in between bleeding to death she shouts abuse at the gunman in a scene so wincingly scripted we could barely bring ourselves to peek at the screen.

And Gwen’s approach is just as witless. After attempting to hurf her ailing dad up the steps of a very large truck and giving him a heart attack in the process, she abandons all pretence at stealth, telling the medical staff at the camp not only that he’s her father but also presenting them with her real name. Why? Whywhywhy?

Then there’s the Danes plot. Why is Jack making Danes chase him round the stadium like a cat after a laser pointer? What's the rally for, anyway? And what the hell is Danes going on about in his speech? His mouth is moving, people are cheering, but it’s all so meaningless it just sounds like “Lorem ipsum REVELATION” to us.

Do we care that the undead are being herded into death camps? Not so far: that card’s been played too often. Do we care that Dr Juarez has bitten the big one? No: this is Torchwood, after all, and there was always going to be a good reason she’s been listed as a guest star all this time. Do we care that PC Andy’s accent has been horribly blanded down for an international audience? You bet we do. Oh well, one out of three ain’t bad.



As night follows day, Russell T Davies uses news broadcasts to disseminate plot info. Yawn.


We did like the English army guys telling the Welsh what to do, which while no doubt sailing right over the heads of the US audience would have resonated strongly with the British one.


China said no to the camps? Nice, and goes some way towards redeeming the earlier racism.


“People don’t fit categories!”


Aren’t things looking a bit crap all round? So why is Esther so unnervingly upbeat?


We were waiting for US health insurance to come into the picture, because in this situation it’s the elephant in the room. It’s only a glancing reference, which is unrealistic given the situation, although we suppose a political diatribe would drag the action down somewhat. Is the whole category thing a ref to Obama’s so-called death panels, though? You decide.