I thought I owed my very recent review of the penultimate episode of Torchwood a quick PS to wrap up the series.
Maybe it was the result of diminished expectations, but I thought this was a decent, strong finish to the season. It had more payoff to it than I’d expected, and while I wouldn’t say it “caught fire” exactly, and it still had a lot of the flaws that I’d written about previously, it was on the whole a more satisfying end to the story than anticipated.
“The Blessing” for example turned out to be a more interesting, thought-provoking and developed concept than I’d actually expected. It raised some intriguing possibilities, which is a shame that the TV series was in no mind to properly explore. And there was good resolution for several storylines that have meandered through the series looking rather lost at times, such as the whole character of Oswald Danes – so original and central in the early episodes but then apparently rather forgotten about as the writers found other shiny diversions to play with for an episode at a time, but who finally had some reason to exist in this last hour. And once again, Eve Myles stole the show as Eve Myles with most of the best lines and a way of acting that meant you watched her in a scene no matter what anyone else was doing.
On the downside, the finale was still too long and drawn out, determined to go for the over-the-top and rather pretentious epic finish where short and snappy would have meant more genuine excitement. While some scenes came over as top-flight, well-written drama (the exchange between Jack and Oswald in particular) other parts looked like they just hadn’t had time to work out the kinks of what they were trying to do.
For example: that left a protracted stand-off on the gantry overlooking two ends of The Blessing, with a couple of dozen weapons-wielding extras who arrived en masse … only to be left standing around, looking awkward with nothing to do until suddenly they all scarper at the vital moment. Honestly, it was a relief when the head honcho in Buenes Aires finally shot someone rather than everyone just standing there twiddling their thumbs.
And the final big confrontation – which could be described as a blood-brothers ritual writ large – ended up being overblown, and verging on being a subliminal camp horror sex porno parody. Characters’ bodily fluids erupted in slow-mo across the screen, with cries and yells that were uncomfortably orgasmic in tone, which led to smirks and giggles where the focus should have been the apex of self-sacrificing drama.
After that climax (pun intended) there were the codas which set up the next season of Torchwood, if there should be one, which included one moment that I saw deliciously dubbed on Twitter as ‘Deus Rex Machismo’ involving Mekhi Pfifer, which I have to say I rather saw coming (or half expected) and which could be by far the most interesting development the series tries if it does get another outing.
Personally I was happier to see Lauren Ambrose’s character Jilly survive, and link up with the shadowy Families contact again on a park bench where she was invited to participate in ‘Plan B’. I’ve really liked her character and the actress’s portrayal, and overall – as I said a few days ago – I’ve enjoyed the series as a whole more than many people clearly have. For all its faults, I genuinely hope that it does get a chance to show us what Plan B actually is.
And, as I also said before: let’s hope that they learn from their shortcomings making this series if they do indeed get that opportunity, while at the same time building on their successes.