‘I was getting bored of your fuck-tricks anyway.’ The show woozily refocuses its attention on some of the relationships it’s left simmering in the background (or, less charitably, forgotten about) for the past few episodes, as Gwen’s relationships with both Owen and Rhys suddenly come under pressure. Rhys feels unloved, Owen is smarting from his fling with Diane – which clearly meant more to him than his affair with Gwen. By the end of the episode both have reached a turning point: Gwen’s confessed her sins to Rhys only to retcon his memory of the conversation, and she’s broken up with Owen, who’s personifying the idea articulated by slimy estate agent Mark Lynch (The Boys’ Alex Hassell): ‘what we become when all we have left is our rage.’
This is wrapped in Torchwood’s take on Fight Club, with Lynch’s gang kidnapping Weevils from the streets of Cardiff to participate in cage fights for bored incels. There’s some sort of a theme here, of repressed masculinity in a world that laughs at machismo. Strangely, the fight club sequences are presented as if they’re a last-minute twist, but it’s hardly a leap of imagination to work out what’s going on, and so the end result is a little bit “is that it?”.
All of which is a shame, because this is far from the worst Torchwood episode. I actually quite enjoy the journey, which has some punchy dialogue, decent action and some very good scenes for the show’s best actors. It’s just a pity that the destination feels so well known.
Captain Jack will return in Captain Jack Harkness
Next Time: The Runaway Bride