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OK, so the setup’s out the way. This is where Torchwood starts to show what it’s actually like. And it’s actually like a steaming pile of compost.

We could do a bunch of jokes here about how Day One’s a load of cock, how they didn’t manage to pull it off, etc. But frankly, Day One’s obvious enough for both of us.

You see, it’s about this alien. And it makes this girl have.. you know… sex! Giggle! And it feeds off orgasmic energy! Ooh missus! And then there are two girls snogging! Snigger!

Shoot us now.

This ain’t adult SF. Adolescent SF is closer to the mark. What’s worse, it’s thuddingly unoriginal. Who hasn’t done the sex-crazed alien plot?

Of course, it’s not just titillation. No, no. The scene with Carys staggering up the street looking at the sexy ads, not to mention the alien’s diminishing returns with every sexual act, are clearly meant to make some Big Important Point about Our Obsession With Sex As A Society. Well, bollocks. You couldn’t find pertinent social comment in here with three sociologists and a supertrouper.

What’s more, the plot’s crammed with stupidity. Why, when the alien’s looking for sex, does it go after sperm donors? Isn’t the very point of sperm donation that it skips the sex bit? Also, why is the alien only interested in orgasmic energy produced from sex with a man? For a series falling over itself to flash its gay and bisexual credentials, that’s seriously jarring. How come, when said man presents himself in the form of Owen, is the alien only interested in his swipecard? (We wouldn’t have sex with him either, but still.) And how come Owen, who’s seen a man dusted before his very eyes, is still gagging to get into Carys’s pants?


The rest of the episode’s about character development, and unfortunately that’s also taken a nosedive. Although in Everything Changes Gwen plays the bog-standard investigative newcomer, there was enough personality injected into the part to rescue it from cliché. Here, though, she’s all cliché. She’s clearly been pigeonholed as the sensitive one with heart. And how do they show that? By dragging out the dustiest tropes in the book: plastering baby photos everywhere to remind the jaded Jack that Carys is A Real Person and nobly imploring the alien to take her body instead of Carys’s.

Jack, naturally, is entranced by Gwen’s simple goodness: you can practically see the hardened carapace of cynicism getting squishier by the minute. From the early excruciating line “From where I’m standing, all the right curves in all the right places” to the “You’re brilliant….Are you always this awkward?” conversation (which was clearly mean to be crackling with sexual tension yet couldn’t actually raise the feeblest of flickers), they couldn’t be throwing in the sexual tension more obviously if they’d written in a freak earthquake to fling them into each other’s arms. Poor old Gwen’s partner has clearly got the skids under him. All of which might be OK if it weren’t signalled as if by semaphore.

And the other characters? The Torchwood lot don’t get any character development at all: Ianto doesn’t get enough lines for us to figure out who he is, Owen is still a complete arse and Toshiko is still a personality-free zone. As for Carys, other than her revenge on her married boyfriend we don’t see enough of her to see her as a person. Even the alien’s just an energy-hungry blank space.

Clichéd characters, smack-you-over-the-head character development, wildly stupid plot garnished with teenage sniggering. It’s not looking good.



After the Buffy/Angel steal in Everything Changes, here we get another homage: the guys getting dusted.


How come the CCTV has sound? And is in colour?


Gwen’s constant outrage at Torchwood’s operating practices is already seriously dull. We know it’s her job as card-carrying Nice Person, but please, isn’t it time she got with the programme?


The hand thing was reasonably subtle last week, but here Jack makes a big song and dance about it before ending up goopily mooning over the twitching hand. Sorry, but that’s just weird.

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