Torchwood - End Of Days
Well, our regular series of Torchwood reviews dried up on account of the series turning out to be a lot more bollocks than we'd predicted. Nonetheless, here is a verdict on the final episode, and some thoughts on the series as a whole. It gets a bit sweary.
The Torchwood feature length finale wasn't so much a feature length finale as two episodes with a slight plot overlap glued together with one set of credits at the end. The first episode was mostly good but ridiculous at the end, whereas the second episode was fairly ridiculous all the way through but a bit better at the end. Unfortunately, plot holes, scripting misfires, poor characterisation, and a general feeling of half bakedness chased Torchwood right to the end.
To briefly summise the plot elements of the first half that are limited to the first half, Captain Jack and Toshiko are magically transported back in time to the 50s when they investigate a haunted house. There they meet Captain Jack Harkness, who is going to die in the battle the next day, freeing up an identity for our hero to steal. Oh, and he's GAY. Weren't expecting THAT, were you, Torchwood viewers? Owen opens the rift to bring them back, but fucking about with the rift is MASSIVELY BAD NEWS FOR EVERYONE.
The character of Bilis Manger, the episodes "villain" of sorts, is an interesting one. Most interesting to me is his name. He is introduced as Bilis Manger, the Manager. Have the Torchwood staff (who, I can exclusively reveal, are all fucked on poppers and are actual monkeys whenever they write the scripts) resorted to naming characters after their professions, minus a letter? With first names that are just NOISES? Can we look forward to Squee Butch'r and Flebb Rap'st next series (that's a BUTCHER and a RAPIST and any money at least one of thems in the next series. Probably the rapist, just a hunch)? Anyway, this queer old fellows plan seems to be to get the Torchwood gang to fuck about with the rift enough to make it go everywhere and release a big, stupid, CG monster, ABBADON THE DEVOURER OF LIFE. THAT IS THE WHOLE PLOT. Bilis himself is onscreen for about twenty seconds of it. He's endowed with weird unexplained time wandering powers that only exist presumably so that everyone can go OMG DO U THINK HE'S A TIME LERD? when they should be going "well, that doesn't make any fucking sense, does it?". Owen gets SHOT, but like EVERYTHING ELSE IN TORCHWOOD, it doesn't make ANY DIFFERENCE and they're all mates again five minutes later. Oh, and then Doctor Who's hand starts flicking V-signs at Captain Jack, so he grabs it and tries to wank himself off with it, so the Tardis comes and kidnaps him. OH. IT MADE THE TARDIS SOUND. Yes, we waited thirteen weeks to hear the Tardis noise. You can get toys that do that. Probably. Oh, and to find out that Captain Jack Harkness nicked his name off some queer in eyeliner who was probably shot down by his own squad for being a filthy sexual deviant and making boom bangarang with other boys.
Gwen and her shit boyfriends spell of brief bliss is shattered by a BBC news report about UFOs and mad medieval soldiers coming out of the past. With vague religious types saying things like "this is the end of days"! And then Ianto quoting ominous bible verses. Get it, everyone? This is big!
Surprisingly, the Government suspect that Torchwood, otherwise known as Team Make A Mess, might be responsible. And look, they are! It's your fault, Owen Harper, for tinkering with the rift to rescue your Captain! Argh, everyone is having conversations to summise the heavy handed emotional themes of the series. For example, Gwen is shouting "PEOPLE HAVE FEELINGS" and Captain Jack is going "HMM. PERHAPS... PERHAPS YOU'RE RIGHT." So there's an air of resolution to the episode that's fairly unearnt. Surprisingly: nothing has changed, again. Similarly, the mystery of Jacks origins and Torchwoods secret investigations into his past is resolved thus:
Dr Owen Harper: WHO ARE YOU? CAPTAIN JACK? YOU'RE NOT EVEN REAL. I LOOKED ON THE INTERNET.
Captain Jack: I'm not going to TELL YOU.
Dr Owen Harper: WELL, I QUIT. And I'm going to SHOOT YOU, TOO. Don't worry, it'll only last a minute.
Captain Jack: OK. Will you be back at work on Monday, then?
Due to a good performance from Burn Gorman during Owens hissy fit, one of the series better performers, some of the drama ensuing from the above is quite good. But it's just more histrionics that achieve nothing at all. More trousers, still no balls. Show me your balls, Torchwood. I don't think that you have any balls.
Oh yes, Gwens FATTY boyfriend gets stabbed when Bilis Manger suddenly develops the desire to kill him for no fucking reason at all. But then he COMES BACK TO LIFE, again, presumably because the Torchwood monkeys are too busy listening to Hi NRG Rave music and tossing eachother off to think of plots for the next series, so they're just going to rehash all that shit with Gwens boyfriend not trusting her. Why kill him off and save us all from that? The chance to see him get his arse out a few more times? Russell could make the series feel a lot more sexy by just flashing subliminal images of spurting cocks and moist vaginas at us. I'd be a lot happier to be sexually brainwashed than keep having to see that fucking Welsh blokes arse.
Gwens old workmate PC Idiot from episode one turns up, to make sure this really does look like a Series Finale. All he does is say "Oir, Oi dewn't knew wharts goin orn 'ere" like a pillock and say something else portentuous about MAYBE IT REALLY IS THE END OF THE WORLD.
Much of the rest of the episode is spent pissing about with the various time junk to have fallen through the rift, like the plague and stuff. Uh oh! Plague!
Peoples dead relatives turn up as some kind of puppets of the rift, in scenes which both fail to convincingly retroactively string the various boring relationship plots of Torchwood into an "arc" and make very little sense at all - are they real people, coming through the rift? Why are they telling people to muck about with the rift? If the rift is talking through them, why has nobody pointed out that the rift is a malevolent, sentient entity, rather than a general phenomenon? If it is the villainous rift appearing as people who have died, why did nobody try and think of something that wasn't completely ripped off Buffy Season 7? Is it Bilis Manger? Doctor Who would have bloody well explained it.
So in conclusion, if I'd just assumed that Jack would leave the series in the Tardis and listened to 45 minutes of screaming on a tape, I would be about as clued in on the plot as I'd need to be.
The CG monster finale is a big load of balls, too. There's hilarious shaky cam of people looking a bit surprised and spotaneously falling over in streets interspersed with the CG "money shots" (think £5 to £7.50) which I think are taken from an X-Box game. Jack goes "he devours life, according to something Ianto read in a book when nobody was listening before? well, let's see what he makes of INVINCIBLE SUPER ME!". They both die, but then after a lot of prolonged standing about and - surprise surprise - no explanation at all, Jack comes back to life! His death scenes are great, though. The CG is so poor that you've nothing to occupy your brain with during them other than "christ, it must have been hilarious watching him film that, kneeling down on those rocks screaming his head off at nothing".
Oh, and both 2006 Whoniverse series finales have featured a denouement where some kind of "rift" is put into reverse to solve the crisis. The way the Whoniverse keeps trying to one-up itself might be getting a bit tiring really. Okay guys, this time we'll reverse the rift but then a BIG GODZILLA THINGS COMING OUT.
But Jesus, none of it fucking matters, not one bit. This series is flashy and dramatic, but the plot is about as engaging as the ingredients list on the back of ONE APPLE. It's like everyones pissed all the time, they're just going mad and smashing things up and fucking eachother and trying to kill themselves and then turning up at work the next day going "sorry guys, dunno what I was on about there". And for the series finale, all that happened was they got REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY PISSED. Big pile of clueless Scooby Doo idiots. Someone needs to get their arse in gear before series two, mark my words. Give Chibnall the fucking elbow. The mans a nincompoop. I'd like to say that I'm giving up on Torchwood, but I'm too blindly faithful to the Whoniverse, like a battered wife. Picture me as Victoria Wood with a black eye, sobbing as Captain Jack laughs and smacks me around the face with his cock. Christ oh blimey, let Series Three be as wonderful as I think it's going to be.