Well, it sure looked like Captain John was causing problems for Captain Jack with Jack’s brother Gray.
That may not be all that accurate.
This is a second series finale, so all the stuff that has been coming up comes to an conclusion. John, it turns out, is actually being controlled by the real villain Gray, and the plot involves taking Jack to the spot where Cardiff will be built, bury him alive, and ruin him. That ends with two members of the group dead, Owen dying for a second time stopping a nuclear power plant from melting down, Tosh from a gunshot to the gut from Gray while telling Owen what to do to stop said meltdown. True, Tosh was still basically just the lonely woman pining for a romance, mostly with Owen, but the show spent significant time developing all its characters, particularly Owen, so seeing these two come to an end to their journey was handled if not great then at least they did a good job of it.
As for the survivors, including Rhys who was quite helpful in the end, giving Gwen moral support and helping get the local police behind her when things go wrong. The episode actually shows how professional the Torchwood team is dealing with smaller crisis. Owen and Gwen on their own subdue some alien menaces while Tosh and Ianto are confronted by some hooded guys with scythes that look rather formidable but then turn out to be not bulletproof.
That was actually kinda funny.
Jack, meanwhile, wasn’t buried as long as Gray (or John) thought he would be, having been dug up by turn of the century Torchwood agents and then put into deep freeze. Oddly enough, despite being buried alive for a few thousand years and then frozen for a few more decades, he comes out of it remarkably sane and willing to offer his errant brother, driven insane by the torture from the still-unnamed alien invaders of his time period, something the Doctor would probably approve of: forgiveness.
He still puts the guy on deep freeze.
A lot of people died because of Gray, and even with John’s help, the series ends with Gwen, Ianto, and Jack as the lone surviving members, mourning the loss of two of their own. And that was the second series, so…
Well, it was an improvement over series one, that’s for sure. Better character insight, less overly weepy behavior from the characters and some actual clever sci-fi twists. Owen’s whole dead-but-not-dead was well done, Ianto became more than just the guy who served food, and Gwen’s role as not just the conscience of the team but also someone who knew what she was doing was executed well. The show still has some narrative wonkiness at times, small things done for the sake of drama, and it does seem to lie very heavily on Captain Jack as a narrative thrust, but it’s better. I still dig Doctor Who more, but this is better.
So, with that in mind, is it time to go back to Doctor Who?
Um, no. Not quite yet. See, if Torchwood was the Doctor Who spin-off designed to be for a more mature audience while the parent series is generally OK for the whole family, there is one other that was set up for younger audiences, and that’s where I’ll be plopping down next time, namely with The Sarah Jane Adventures.
How does a former companion make her way in the world after the fact? I think I shall find out.