Torchwood episode 28: Children of Earth – Day Two (7/7/2009)
‘If you’re the good guys, who am I working for and why do they want you dead?’ The 456 remain noises off in an episode that focuses on Torchwood as fugitives, fleeing a conspiracy to take them off the board ahead of the aliens’ arrival. This makes for a gripping interlude as Gwen and Rhys hide out, Ianto makes covert contact with his family, Jack demonstrates his most remarkable restorative powers yet, and Lois flirts with becoming Torchwood’s Deep Throat.
This is steeped in the influence of classic horror: Jack’s grisly resurrection from a bag of bones is like something from a Hammer Dracula, Ian Gelder’s creepy Mr Dekker behaves like a Universal Renfield and the 456’s hastily-constructed embassy looks like Hannibal’s temporary cell in The Silence of the Lambs. But the overall tone is like Spooks or even – at a push – a Daniel Craig Bond, although Ianto makes an unlikely 007 as he smashes through walls with a forklift truck. Regardless, this has an oomph that retrospectively makes previous incarnations of the show look weedy and underpowered.
In between, I really appreciate the commitment to continuing Torchwood’s domesticity. In particular, Ianto’s brother-in-law causing a ruckus to distract the surveillance team, and Frobisher having to balance being the disposable front-man for the British Government’s response to the 456 with being a husband and father to a family as frightened as everyone else by what is happening to the children. I also enjoy the commitment to the day-by-day approach, with this beginning and ending at night, and the 456 promising they are coming tomorrow.
Next Time: Day Three