"Sometimes I think even the stick up your arse has a stick up its arse."
There! You see? THAT's how you write dialogue! OK, it's a blatant steal from The Simpsons, but at least they're pinching from the right sources now. Geeks Being Gits was chock-full of quotable lines like this. Hell, even Ianto got a good'un in about rats in his stomach. Guess they're not delivering pizza any more.
Toby Whitehouse's contribution was, if not a positive breath of fresh air, at least a recycled Suck 'N Blow one from Ben Elton's Gasping that you'd be grateful for if you lived in, say, Detroit. Still, by any standards it's a good step above Keith Boak 'adequate'. By this point though I'm pretty much resigned to any Torchwood episode being flawed (and on previous form, that's being entirely too nice) to some degree. That voiceover at the start never fails to bring forth a derisory snort, as the entire wrong-headed approach is summed up at a stroke. Am I supposed to be impressed by "outside the Government"? I guess that means the Royal Family still has a hand in it in between sniffing each others' butts every full moon. "Beyond the police." Pffffffft. What covert intelligence organization ISN'T beyond the police? I doubt James Bond's MI6 would even give the fuzz the time of day. At least the X-Files Feds had the sense to send the rozzers in to clean up all the shit-work they couldn't be arsed with, which is more than these jokers normally do. I still find it laughable that any Constable Cymru would be in awe of a special ops group with five members in it. Aim higher, people!
"The organization apparantly leaves a paper trail all through the internet like an Andrex puppy with a roll the size of their fucking stupid SUV"
As was the case with School Reunion, anyone inclined to give our Tobe's Torchwood installment a once-over with the Hubble Telescope in search of some trace element of plot will probably come away unimpressed here too. As far as alien threats go, at least we actually had one this week even though as is usual for this show, it's pretty small-fry by general Doctor Who standards - at this rate the gang can expect to be called out to investigate the mythical meat content in Welsh Dragon sausages. The running joke that is Torchwood's definition of 'security' gained further momentum this week as the organization apparantly leaves a paper trail all through the internet like an Andrex puppy with a roll the size of their fucking stupid SUV. Who does their website, Mickey Smith or the signwriter employed by UNIT? There's yet ANOTHER alien/serial killer/infiltator that knows all about bloody Torchwood going on right now on BBC3!
After six dud episodes of cardboard cutouts with guns though, who gives a cock? We actually had a character piece this week! A REAL one! Proper character conflict and a betrayal with some REAL manipulation! Self-doubt that wasn't look-at-me whiny bitchiness! And look, they're actually aware of their own shortcomings now - it's like they don't WANT to be total shits anymore! Woo hoo! Yes, believe it or not, I actually CARED. I cared about how the first-hand look at their thought process gave us a real insight into their personal conflicts and motivations (although you shouldn't need some magical alien device to show us what a paper-thin facade Owen's larking about really is). It was great to see Owen get some well-deserved stick for a change and be able to take it as well as dish it out. I cared about how Tosh's own sexual orientation was a metaphor for the fun which she had previously been too uptight to let herself previously enjoy. I cared about how she was so easily swayed into turning against her colleagues when swamped by new and unfamiliar emotions, and even excepted the manner she turned into the worst liar in history (how did nobody notice that pendant?) when it was clear that Jack was stringing her along. It was heavy-handed and obvious and everything was visible a mile away, but it was still 'Doctor Who with an adult edge' the way the series was proposed to us in the first place.
"Ha ha haaaaaaa! Foreshadowing. About the obvious part"
And Jack's dead. Or summat. Whatever, the man's fun is now well and truly over and he's not giving any more second chances. It's gonna be a right bitch if he's being animated by some alien force as a bridgehead to an invasion, whereupon Kamen Rider Tennant will make his brief cameo in the closing two-parter for one last "I'm so sorry" after sonic screwdriving Jack's undead head into mushy little bits. Partly because it'll be a tremendous slap in the face when you realise the only purpose in bringing back this popular character will have been a massive 'wanker' gesture at the audience, but mainly 'cos it's SO BLEEDIN' OBVIOUS. Ha ha haaaaaaa! Foreshadowing. About the obvious part.
All in all then, I liked this episode a lot. It was still as ridiculous as ever, but the script made the effort in the right places for a change to the degree where none of the absurdity actually mattered. I was caught up in it enough that I barely even noticed Murray's normally overpowering presence this week. If you're going to claim that Tosh's episode makes up for the previous half-dozen lemons though, I'm still going to laugh in your face. PLEASE let it not be a fluke.
Oh, and how sad is it that I recognized Gameboy Quarth being played on that kid's handheld?
The Humper Book of Sexually Torchwooded Diseases has this to say about Greeks Bearing Gifts: the shotgun liberated by Tosh has been wrapped up as a Christmas gift to Ianto with a card enclosed saying 'DO THE DECENT THING'.