Tuning in to Scifi TV – Torchwood: Children of Earth Day One Review

Jul 20, 2009 No Comments by

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*** Spoiler Warning ***

What follows is a review of Torchwood: Children of Earth Day One. It contains spoilers about the Day One episode so only proceed if you want to know what happened.

Torchwood: Children of Earth – Day One
By Kevin Bachelder

When I first heard that series three of Torchwood would be a single story set over five episodes/nights I was a little apprehensive.   I’ve been a fan of Torchwood from the very first episode “Everything Changes”.  However, I must admit that I enjoyed series one more than series two.  I believe that might be because of the serious turn the show took in series two due to the loss of Owen and Tosh.  I thought the series two story lines were well done but I wasn’t sure that was the Torchwood that I wanted to see.  So I was very pleased to see that the opening of this episode jumped right into the story by giving us a bit of a mystery and taking us back to 1965 where we see some children walking into a bright light.  Was this a reference back to a previous storyline?  At this point we’re not sure but it certainly got me caught up in the story right away so I forgot my previous concerns and just jumped right into things.

Moving back to the present day we get to see several examples of children just stopping in the middle of their normal activities.  Since this is the first time we’ve seen this it seems nothing more than just ‘odd’.  The children don’t stay this way for long but long enough for Gwen to witness this happening and for the government higher ups to have become aware of it as well.

I found myself enjoying the quick introductions of several new characters such as Rupesh, a doctor that Ianto and Jack encounter on one of their missions.  We also meet Mr. Frobisher, the civil servant and his secretary Bridget.  They just happen to have a new temp named Lois who started work today.  Think she might play a key role in our story?  Time will tell.

My mind couldn’t help but wonder if any of these folks would become part of the new Torchwood team.  We even get teased a bit in this direction since Rupesh goes to the Torchwood hub to learn more after his earlier encounter with Jack and Ianto.  Gwen even gets to interview him and talk about Torchwood a bit.  However, another incident with the children forces everyone into action.  As the team is running back to the hub Jack has to stop Rupesh from trying to enter.  When Rupesh asks Gwen what’s inside the building she replies “it’s a big science fiction super base”.  I got a good laugh out of her blunt honesty.  That was a Torchwood series one moment to me.

On a more serious note we also get to meet Mr. Dekker who looks like the classic scientist who never leaves his lab.  He’s the one who tells Mr. Frobisher that this is being done by the “456” and that “I warned you”.  Never the kind of thing you want to hear and it sets Mr. Frobisher into motion talking with the prime minister about all of this and what they can do.  We also get several glimpses into the personal lives of Gwen, Rhys, Ianto and especially Jack.  Even with the world in peril there’s still time to remind us why we love these characters.  From here the pacing of the story really starts to pick up.   Subsequent incidents with the children ‘stopping’ are now accompied by them speaking in unison:  “we are…we are…we are coming!”.  So watching the children do all this has gone from feeling just a little ‘odd’ to feeling down right “creepy”.  We also find out that there’s one adult who’s doing this same thing and he may hold the key to understanding what’s happening.  Throw in a government plot, a twist involving that doctor we thought we liked plus a hidden bomb inside the Torchwood hub and you have all the makings of a great start to this series.   Day One ends with an explosion that puts the team and Torchwood itself in jeopardy.  Gwen appears to be alive, but what about Ianto, Jack and the Hub?  I’m glad we can tune in tomorrow to find out!

Be sure to check out our Torchwood episode discussion podcasts being released each night during the Torchwood: Children of Earth airings on BBC America. You can find our day one discussion here.

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