You know, I’d heard how good this third batch of Torchwood episodes were, and, by golly, they were. They really were.
It perhaps helps that not only did Russell T. Davies write this conclusion, but he may have written it as what was seen as a series finale. It fits. The way this episode ends could very well be a conclusion, and if it weren’t for a fourth series (co-produced with Starz), this would have been the place to end it.
This is the story where Torchwood finally hit its true potential as the show set in the Doctor Who universe that was able to tell the mature stories that a family friendly Doctor Who couldn’t. This is a show that gave us the character of John Frobisher, a man who could at first glance be a pencil-pushing villain but turned out to be just a pencil-pusher who kept his head down and somehow just kept working. He wasn’t a cruel man, and he was picked to be the scapegoat, forcing him to make a hard decision to keep his two kids out of the hands of the 456.
Especially when it comes out that the 456 want kids for the purpose of recreational drug use. Yes, these aliens use children to get high.
Yeah, that somehow seems worse than a Dalek on certain levels.
This is the show that will have Jack Harkness be forced to do something awful to save 10% of the children of the Earth at the cost of his own family. It wasn’t Jack’s idea. It was the only way, using his own grandson to send a painful signal back at the 456 and sending them away, hopefully forever. All the other kids survive. Jack’s grandson doesn’t, and his daughter will never speak to him again. Between that and Ianto, Jack lost too much, and he ends the series deciding to leave the Earth.
As for Gwen and Rhys, they do what they can to keep Ianto’s niece and nephew (and a host of other neighborhood kids) out of the hands of the military that is forced into complicity by a seemingly unstoppable alien race. It gets to the point where Ianto’s slovenly brother-in-law and Constable Andy join into a brawl with camouflaged soldier types.
But in the end, the 456 are defeated, and so is Torchwood. Forbisher’s loyal assistant finds material to bring down the Prime Minister who was looking to blame the Americans for what almost happened. It’s a victory, but a Pyrrhic one. I finally saw what made Torchwood great. It was the mature show it wanted to be when it finally realized it didn’t need a lot of sex and violence to be mature. Instead, it could accomplish that by having Rhys and Gwen debate whether she would have an abortion during a mess when the planet’s leaders seemed to see no problem giving up a portion of the world’s children to appease some alien race that didn’t even care to give humanity its real name.
But then, it came to what was probably the best ending possible…and it isn’t the end. I’ll pick up on Torchwood again later.
For now, after the darkness of this show, I think it’s time to go back to the more child friendly show with another round of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
I mean, I will get back to a certain Doctor soon, but for now, let’s continue this break with the various spin-offs.