It’s actually been a good few days since I watched this story but I’ve been very busy, so I’ll try to remember all of my points. My main feeling about this episode and the few preceding it, is that it’s a bit of a ‘nothing’ episode. Maybe that’s just because I’m slowly losing interest for a series that I used to adore. But this just feels like an episode to prolong end of the series. My goodness I’ll be so grateful when I get to Children of Earth because series one and two are so much worse than I realised.
There isn’t really anything wrong with the plot apart from nothing really happens. Gwen discovers that as well as dropping things through, the rift also occasionally abducts people. If it’s truly as random as seen here, the Torchwood team must always be losing their keys or their phone in the rift. Firstly how has it taken Gwen this long to find out if there are that many people to fill up a small island? When the people who are taken by the rift arrive back home they are aged, burnt or completely mentally ill. So Gwen chooses the show a mum (played by Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey) her middle aged mental, burnt son who was only a teenager seven months ago. Fucking nuts. Of course you are supposed to understand where Gwen is coming from but there is literally no good that could come of that scenario. Surely it would have been kinder to tell her that her son had died. At least then she could have closure but instead she is told exactly what happened. She’ll probably end up in some kind of asylum now too. Silly Gwen. Still, at least she didn’t kiss anyone apart from her husband in this episode. She was an absolute cock to Rhys though, telling him that she would rather work than ever have children. And she doesn’t put it nicely at all. Bitch. I’m seriously hating this character by this point. Can’t she die in the finale instead?
So it transpires that Jack was feigning ignorance and actually assisted in running this facility to care for rift fallout. He has apparently been doing it this entire time in secret. Yeah I don’t buy that. Jack is also far too inconsistent in this episode. The whole first half he keeps telling Gwen to stop investigating it. As soon as she finds out, he essentially lets her do whatever she wants even though it’s stupid. It’s nice to see Andy the policeman again I suppose. And his absence at the wedding is referenced. To be honest I didn’t notice and had forgotten about the character completely. But it’s nice to see him again because he does get some funny lines.
As is often the case, none of the other characters get anything to do. From my memory Tosh and Owen are reduced to a couple of lines each while all Ianto really does is have a really out of place sex scene with Jack. It feels so out of place with the tone of the rest of the episode. If it was a more lighthearted episode such as Something Borrowed or Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang then it would have felt more at home. But here we are dealing with the very real situation of loving parents losing their children forever – so we get a supposedly funny scene with Gwen catching Jack and Ianto at it. It feels rather off.
Speaking of Ianto, he slyly assists Gwen in her investigation without letting Jack know. This would suggest to me that he knows exactly what is going on because Jack has told him, or because he has done the research himself before. And even though I don’t think Ianto is as stupid as Gwen, I don’t think that he would have found out and just done nothing at all. And if he did already know why not just tell Gwen and save her the wasted time investigating?
I think the only real good thing about the story is the basic idea of the rift taking things as well as depositing them. But as hard as the episode tries to explore the idea, I found it really difficult to actually care about the characters. Don’t get me wrong the character of the mum is rather well written and excellently portrayed but the attempt to tug at my heart strings didn’t pay off. The story is never really resolved either. To my memory Gwen just accepts it and they carry on with their adventures. Tiny bit of an anti-climax. Therefore I award the episode with just four Jacks being spied on out of ten.