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30 Days of Torchwood: Day 05: Least Favourite Episode


Interestingly enough all three candidates (pick any, I can't decide because my reasons for disliking them are so different) are from S2; there are a couple of S1 episodes I feel maybe a bit blah about, but none of them actively annoyed me.

# The human-rights-what-human-rights? torture happy Sleeper. Now after several rewatchings I do recognise there's a quite fascinating parallel between Beth and Jack that comes out especially in the scene in the cells after they found out who/what she really is, as well as some interesting themes about humanity and what it means to be human when you aren't any longer, something that applies to both Beth and Jack. I also do recognise they did have reason to be be suspicious that something was wrong with her. However, none of that dminishes my extreme discomfort with how Jack treats Beth in this episode and how no one raised more than a token protest when he decided to have her tortured. Watching that scene still makes me sick. I'm sorry, but when things like Guantanamo and the Abu Ghraib scandal are happening in the real world you can't write something like that without even the least canon acknowledgement that it might be a tad problematic. And while we're at it, whoever wrote Reset, I'm looking at you, too.

# Exit Wounds, because the wasted opportunities in this episode are a crying shame. Gray's whole storyline was terrible from the way it was written to the actor they picked. Watching Jack and Alice in CoE makes me almost angry for what could have been. Mostly, what I still can't get over is that in The Sound of Drums there's this bit of dialogue where Martha asks Ten who the Master is, and when she says, 'I thought you were gonna say he was your secret brother or something', he replies, 'You've been watching too much TV.' And then someone thought it was a good idea to do exactly that on TW and no one even batted an eyelid? They recycle the 'I forgive you' line for the third finale in a row after End of Days and Last of the Time Lords and no one noticed or cared? And some canon explanation how Jack survived all that time buried alive without going insane would have been good, too. It's all very well that JB eventually confirmed everyone's speculation, but that should have been in the story.

# And then there's Dead Man Walking, which except for the scene with Jack and Owen in the police cell and a couple of other Owen moments is just bad overall, from Jack's ill-timed slapstick act of tip-toeing through the Weevils to Owen wrestling a CGI skeleton. My personal suspicion is that the whole episode suffered more than a little from the last-second Ianto/Owen switch, and while I'm glad we had Ianto for another season, I'd still argue that Jack going this far for Owen is making him look more than a little mentally unstable, and not in the 'interestingly flawed' kind of way.


Day 01: Favourite Torchwood Member
Day 02: Least Favourite Torchwood Member
Day 03: Favourite Series
Day 04: Favourite Episode
Day 05: Least Favourite Episode
Day 06: Something You Liked That Most People Didn't
Day 07: Favourite Alien/Villain
DAy 08: Favourite Minor Character
Day 09: A Scene That Made You Cry
Day 10: A Scene That Made You Smile
Day 11: A Scene That Made You Angry
Day 12: Favourite Quote
Day 13: Favourite Promo Picture
Day 14: Favourite Couple
Day 15: Favourite Couple Scene
Day 16: Favourite Piece of Music
Day 17: Something You’d Like To Re-write
Day 18: Character You Relate To The Most
Day 19: Favourite Outfit
Day 20: Favourite Gwen Moment
Day 21: Favourite Ianto Moment
Day 22: Favourite Jack Moment
Day 23: Favourite Owen Moment
Day 24: Favourite Toshiko Moment
Day 25: Shag/Cliff/Marry?
Day 26: A Torchwood Geek Moment You’ve Had
Day 27: Favourite Location Or Set
Day 28: Where You Think The Series Should Continue To
Day 29: Best Torchwood on Doctor Who Moment
Day 30: Why You Love Torchwood

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
snakeling
Jan. 2nd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
It's all very well that JB eventually confirmed everyone's speculation, but that should have been in the story.
I must have missed that one. Could you sum it up for me, please?

I found Sleeper annoying for the same reasons, and also because locking up is a very pre-Jack Torchwood thing to do, and I'd have liked Jack to at least make a token attempt to find another solution. I mean, Gwen tried, but she tends to go to the other extreme, and ignore the big picture in favour of the individuals. There must be a balance to strike in between, somewhere.
solitary_summer
Jan. 2nd, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
'I wanted to give the sense that Jack could slow himself down. He could put himself into a trance and he was basically going to put himself into a trance and never come out of it. He knows he’s going to be found.' (source)


As for Sleeper, Gwen being so ~nice~ irritated me almost more than Jack's behaviour in this episode. Jack at least from start to finish absolutely knew what he was doing to Beth. He was convinced he was right and that it was necessary so he went ahead with it. He knew he was going to hurt her, just as he knew they'd end up killing her from the moment his suspicions about her were confirmed.

But the others? Ianto mocking Jack's intimidation technique is all very well, but Beth was terrified, so it clearly worked on her. And the thing is... in the scene when they put the mind-probe on her Jack does nothing. He only gives the orders. Any of them could have stood up and said that if he wanted to do that, he would have to do it himself, because they weren't going to be part of it. Instead they gave her a bottle of water so that she wouldn't dehydrate. And none of them ever looks back and wonders if that was right, because of course the outcome justifies the means, and the rest of the episode is so action-packed that there is no time to go back and reconsider.
(Deleted comment)
solitary_summer
Jan. 2nd, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
The New Yorker article is scary.

I didn't want to rant for too long, because I already went over this at length when the episode aired, but word to everything you're writing in these posts. And in Sleeper no one even seriously angsts about this decision or question what they're doing following Jack's orders, not enough to even stop for a moment.

The episode bothered me so much that I went over to James Moran's blog and commented there, and I think one can say that this is a case of a writer absolutely not being aware of the the full range of implications of what he was writing. (my post, with quotes)


It also irritates me, since both Jack and Ten are so morally ambiguous, that they're the ones forgiving other people - I'd rather see other people forgiving them...

I can live with that, because in EW it's so very clear that what Jack really wants is for Gray to forgive him, and I think the same can be said for the Doctor in LotTL. It's just so incredibly awkward and out of nowhere, with Jack still lying in the cryo-feeze drawer.
(Deleted comment)
elisi
Jan. 2nd, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
It also irritates me, since both Jack and Ten are so morally ambiguous, that they're the ones forgiving other people - I'd rather see other people forgiving them...
This fic does a beautiful job of addressing that issue - maybe not exactly in the way you mean, but I still think you'll like it. Jack-centric, written during S1 of TW and rather short:

Absolution. (He’s not sure what he’d like more, the chance to keep his anger or the chance to be forgiven himself.)
elisi
Jan. 2nd, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
It's all very well that JB eventually confirmed everyone's speculation
Thank you for providing that quote - I'd not seen it before.

The problems with Sleeper are echoed in Fragments with Tosh being held in very Guantanamo-style conditions by UNIT, and although we're clearly not meant to see it as justified, it imbues UNIT with a far more questionable side that I know a lot of people disliked immensely. I dearly wish that they'd be a LOT more careful when writing these things... (I went back and read James Moran's reply, and it did not make me happy.)
solitary_summer
Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
It didn't make me happy either. I'm still slightly annoyed at 'volunteered.'

and although we're clearly not meant to see it as justified, it imbues UNIT with a far more questionable side that I know a lot of people disliked immensely.

I wasn't familiar with UNIT from the old DW series, so between Fragments and the Sontaran episodes in S4 I was definitely confused about their role.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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