Unfortunately as I get closer and closer to the end of series two of Torchwood, I find it harder and harder to remember why I used to love this show so much. Granted, Owen has again become one of the more likable characters that I remember since the opening of this series. But Gwen is basically a horrible character with Ianto having become a witty one-line deliverer since the beginning of series two. These characters are so changeable from one episode to the next. The only real constant in the characters is Gwen being a terrible partner to Rhys.
Sorry for that little rant, but I’m becoming increasingly worried that my memory of the series is far better than the episodes actually were. I remember Children of Earth being astoundingly good so I’m looking forward to that. With this episode however, I’m literally giving up the will to do the review. I’m not sure if it’s as bad as I’m making it out to be, but it is one of the episodes of Torchwood that I have watched the least. Maybe there’s a reason.
So let me try to work through the story as we go along and try to point out where it doesn’t work for me. There are cans of really old film that are being uncovered and played at a cinema for film geeks. Some of the films in question contain footage of a mysterious Night Travellers who used to set up fairground style camps in the dead of night, (because it sounds more spooky but would actually get zero visitors,) then steal children I think. Because Jack was doing an undercover investigation for someone, he joined the group as the man who couldn’t die. He would go on stage and shoot himself to entertain crowds. In the dead of night. Crowds. In the dead of night. What crowds? Who would turn to their loved ones and say “Hey, you know that spooky as fuck festival that is apparently renowned for making people vanish? Do you want to go there at 3 in the morning to watch a bloke shoot himself, as well as a bunch of things that you could just see at normal circuses?”
If they go around disappearing as magically as we see them do in the opening of the episode, how did Jack manage to keep up with them. Plus if they have an ability to seemingly teleport a whole circus in the blink of an eye, why wouldn’t they use it later in the episode. It makes for a cool opening but makes little to no sense.
So the Night Travellers stopped doing their kidnapping shtick at some point for some reason. Now the lead man and a ‘Mermaid Woman’ have escaped out of the film and caused havoc wherever they can. How did they escape out of the film, or make the film loop or enhance fairground footage over other footage before any of them even escape. This is making me stupidly angry. Who are they, what are their powers, why do they need the last breath of victims anyway? To make followers? Regain an audience? What the fuck for? The Ghostmaker (as he is apparently known on Doctor Who Wikia) suddenly wants to let other members of the group out of the film and so manages to do so. I guess that’s fine.
Then Jack makes the most frickin’ stupid assumption of how to defeat them. If they came from film then maybe if they are filmed again, they will get trapped back in the film. WHAT!!! How the flying frying-pans does that make sense? They weren’t trapped that way in the first place were they? Otherwise Jack would have noticed them all vanishing around him, going into the film as he is shooting himself on stage. Christ this episode is so STUPID. I think Cyberwoman was a better episode than this. At least that one made a degree of sense. Sometimes.
So Jack films them and they go back onto film in the camera. What’s to stop them from breaking out of the film again? I know that Jack hears the festival music at the end to suggest that they might return. But I mean why wouldn’t they literally come back again and again and again immediately if they have the ability to come out of film. I’m done with this episode. I don’t think that I’m even going to give this a score out of ten. That’s how angry writing this review has made me. Maybe I didn’t catch some of the exposition and so it makes more sense than I realise, but I really doubt it.
It’s basically a fairytale with no roots in sci-fi whatsoever. It is, in a word: shit. Okay fine I’m going to give this episode a score out of ten purely because I’m a completionist. Zero out of ten. Not even going to make an image for it. I think it’ll be a while before I watch the next episode of Torchwood.