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Death and, um…Transfiguration :) March 16, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Torchwood.
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I took in two episodes of Torchwood last night, episodes eight and nine of season two: “A Day in the Death,” and “Something Borrowed.”

The death being referred to, of course, is the death of Owen, from a couple of episodes previously. He was then brought back to life. Except not really. He’s actually still dead, he just walks and talks and stuff. Basically, he’s a zombie.

So what does a zombie do with his life existence? He can’t eat or drink because stuff just sits there in his stomach, never being digested. He can’t breathe (how he manages to talk without breathing is never explained). Sex is out of the question, thanks to lack of blood flow (it’s probably fortunate that he didn’t die with an erection, isn’t it?). He also has to be careful not to injure himself, because his body doesn’t heal, a fact which can really put a damper on things. He can’t even do his job because it’s against policy to employ a dead person! It’s a pretty bleak existence, I’d say. Pointless, even.

At least, it’s pointless until Captain Jack happens to really, really need someone with no body heat.

I won’t go into the plot at all. I won’t talk about the neato glowy alien gizmo, or about the girl who’s ready to jump off a building, or about the dying old man who Owen tries to save, even though all these things are integral to the story. I’ll just say, this is a good Owen episode, perhaps the best since a certain aeroplane landed and three people from the 1950’s got out. Burn Gorman really shines, and we see the full spectrum of Owen’s personality here.

At the end, we are left with questions such as: Where is the series going with this zombie-Owen thing? He’s obviously not a vampire (a fact for which I am eternally grateful), but is he going to end up resembling any of the other classic movie-monster types? My best guess so far, as I’ve said, is that he’s a plain and simple zombie, but will there prove to be any sort of twist on that? Anything which might help his body heal? Or is he just going to gradually deteriorate over time until he’s too repulsive to look at? Perhaps eating a few brains will help? :) I’m actually hoping the writers take his undead-ness in a new and original direction. That would be refreshing, although difficult too, considering how many times the subject has been covered before. They also still have to deal with questions about the resurrection glove(s) and the weevils.

In previous weeks, I was starting to feel resigned to the fact that Torchwood‘s second season wasn’t going to be quite up to the standard of excellence set by the first. That’s not to say it was going badly, just not quite as excellently as before. However, by the end of this episode, I began to have some hope that I might be wrong. “A Day in the Death” is a serious and dramatic episode, dealing with some pretty dark subject matter, but it ends up being quite uplifting and positive. It’s definitely the best episode of the season up to this point, and on a par with all but the very best of the stories from season one.

Not being able to settle for just one episode of this show in an evening, I then moved on to “Something Borrowed.”

This episode is a total riot. :) I guess the producers felt they needed something more lighthearted to contrast with the previous episodes, and did they ever succeed.

The main thing that happens here is that this is Gwen’s wedding episode. They’ve been working up to this for a while, so here it is, finally—although, honestly, I am a bit bummed that Gwen is now married, what with wanting her for myself and all. :) Just look at her in this episode—she is absolutely too cute and adorable for words in that beautiful white wedding dress, with her belly bulging out in what must surely be the final days of pregnancy…. Whaaaat?!?!?!?!? GWEN?!?!??!?????? PREGNANT?!????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Since when?????

Well, yeah. See, there’s this alien shapeshifter thing that bites her, thereby implanting an egg sac, so the next morning she wakes up and looks to be about nine months gone. If you ever saw the Angel episode “Expecting,” it seems a lot like that, at first. But the resemblance is mostly superficial. Also, in what must surely be the most inconvenient coincidence ever, this alien pregancy happens to occur on Gwen’s wedding day. Poor Gwen!

But never fear—you know she’ll be fine, because it’s obvious from the start that they are playing this for comedic value, not making a serious drama out of it. The first indicator is Gwen’s decision to go ahead with the wedding in spite of her condtion, thinking nothing at all of how on earth she’s going to explain things to her parents, Rhys’s parents, and to the friends she was with the previous night, who witnessed her in a most definately un-pregnant condition. Perhaps it’s the stress. We all do silly things when we’re stressed out, right?

In any case, hijinks ensue. Things get even better when it’s determined that these particular alien shapeshifters travel in pairs, that one of their favorite delicacies is human flesh, and that the female of the species births her young by physically ripping it out of the body of the human female host! Obviously, she must be stopped!

Alas, I won’t go into any more details. A lot happens. It’s all hilarious, especially the thing with the chainsaw (Kai Owen really has a gift for his character, I tell you). This is easily the funniest Torchwood episode yet, not to mention one of the best.