Torchwood: Dead of Night

Written by Peter Grehan

The third episode of series bumped along quite nicely, the various characters beginning to mesh into a recognisable Torchwood unit. The internal tensions within the group abrade nicely while the plot moves forward and the villainous corporation behind a lot of what is going on, Phicorp, is identified. Phicorp, it seems, has infiltrated into all branches of the U.S. (and probably foreign) Government machinery. In today’s paranoid society, where we seem unable to trust any form of authority, this covers the bases nicely.  Actually most people probably believe that Multinational corporations have far too much power and influence on governments and this often seem to reflect in policies that focus of the wellbeing of capitalistic systems rather than what’s actually good for the people. They also have control excessive influence of the media, especially in the U.S. This is illustrated when Phicorp turn the paedophile murderer, Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), into a Messiah. So, using this parable, corporate machinations, media manipulations and the populace’s religious proclivity are criticised in one neat swipe.

And then we have the gratuitous sex scenes. Captain Jack’s, I suppose, illustrated that he is a sex addict (we already knew that) and his emotional insecurity is revealed when he phones Gwen Cooper ( Eve Myles ) from the bed afterwards, but you can’t tell me that the including the graphic detail (apparently more was shown in the U.S.) helped move the plot or develop the characters at all. This and the straight sex scene featuring Rex and Vera (Mekhi Phifer and Arlene Tur), were surely there just to boast ratings and John Barrowman’s assertion that they weren’t gratuitous don’t make it so. The straight sex scene was in many ways even more gratuitous, because there had been no developing relationship between Rex and Vera beforehand. It really did feel contrived and adolescent making the flow of the story come to a grinding (no pun intended) halt.

Still, there was more than enough good stuff in this episode to keep me watching.

Note: The Torchwood episode was directed by Billy Gierhart, and written by Jane Espenson

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