Red Right Hand: TV08: TORCHWOOD: "Fragments"
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

TV08: TORCHWOOD: "Fragments"

Continuing my review of my favorite episodes of stuff from the last calendar year. Not necessarily the best of the year, but ones I liked for one subjective reason or another.



There will be spoilers.
I'm gonna be a little more rambly and unfocused with this one, I think.

Why can't Torchwood always be this good?

Well, for one thing because you can only tell the origin story once, but it was so good and so much fun, and usually, this show only managed to score one of those at a time.

While the framing device of the members of the team reflecting on how they got to be in Torchwood while buried under the rubble of a wrecked building left a little something to be desired, the flashback's themselves were delightful.

Starting with Captain Jack himself, we get more than just what Jack was up to in the hundred plus years he's spent waiting around on Earth for a certain Doctor to show up. We get glimpses of the Torchwood organization in it's earliest days. I want to see that show. Victorian era Torchwood, hunting down aliens in the filth ridden alley's of London when there was another Jack running around being not so nice.

Then the jump to New Millennium's Eve night, and the grisly revelation of how the previous staff of Torchwood in Cardiff moved on form the job was cool, as was the former Torchwood's allusion to the opening voice over of every episode. "We are not ready."

But you know, Jack's story was fun because it's really total Torchy fanwank. So what, I say. It's fun and this show really shines the best when it goes for the fun first and not try to get heavy up front. And I can only think of one episode that melded the fun and the drama well, but it was first series, so...moving on.

While Owen's story was probably meant to be the most dramatic entry-- or heavy entry-- I was much more drawn to Toshiko's story of being coerced by technocriminal elements and imprisoned and finding Torchwood to be her only way out of jail.

Owen's story was the disappointing one, though. It was kinda of cliche. His fiancee was killed by an alien thing and Jack recruits him, but I'll give points to Burn Gorman's acting in this episode. He really conveyed the tension of trying to figure out what impossible thing just came in, destroyed his life and vanished like nothing happened.

Ianto's story was just out and out fun from a fan standpoint. The connection to the battle of Canary Wharf and carrying though to the current version of Torchwood. Though, here, as always, I felt like Ianto was a little underserviced. I'm still waiting for the definitive Ianto story.

The series still doesn't have the powerful writing that one finds in it's progenitor, Doctor Who, and, in fact the series doesn't exist in the same form anymore as it's third season will take the form of a five episode mini-series and who knows what or if the fourth series will be. But this was great cracking episode.

The next episode, the finale, was pretty damn good also, but this one has some great rewatchability.

Especially Jack's story.

Just a general and random note: This episode was written by showrunner Chris Chibnall, naturally, as the flashbacky origin shows to tend to be the purview if not the perk of showrunning. Chibnall, however, will not be returning to the show as he's been tapped for Law & Order: London.
©2017 Michael Patrick Sullivan