‘I don’t want to live forever, especially like this.’ Exchanging the dark, rainswept streets of D.C. for the broad, sunlit vistas of California, and having the team bedding down in a cosy beach house rather than a grim apartment gives this episode a fresh feel heading into the middle of the series. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that it has a fresh impetus and sense of purpose as the new Torchwood team effectively works together to infiltrate a PhiCorp facility, following a smart operation to get the biometrics of the one man able to break through PhiCorp security.
Alongside this, we see into the personal lives of the team. Rex has a fraught relationship with his bitter father, and Esther struggles to connect with her sister Sarah, who’s withdrawing in fear from the world. By the end of the episode, her family and Gwen’s will be in peril as Sarah is taken into social care while Gwen’s father becomes one of the first inmates of the new overflow camps set up to house the sick and living dead.
The Danes plot continues to unfold in a troubling way, as he exploits his newfound celebrity to inspire a sort of cult following. His chief opponent, Tea Party darling Ellis Hartley Monroe (shades of Julia Hartley-Brewer) is calling for the dead to be segregated from the living, but comes to an unforgettably grisly end when she threatens to derail the mysterious Families’ plans – crushed inside a car, like one of Goldfinger’s mob, a zoom through the tangled wreckage shows her desperate eye as she’s condemned to an eternal life and unending pain as a mangled flesh cube. After last week’s near-doldrums this feels like things are getting back on track.
Next Time: The Categories of Life