*** Spoiler Warning ***
What follows is a review of Torchwood: Children of Earth Day Three. It contains spoilers about the Day Three episode so only proceed if you want to know what happened.
Torchwood: Children of Earth – Day Three
By Kevin Bachelder
Before the Torchwood team can try to ‘save the world’ they need a place to call home so Ianto shows the team their new base of operations. It’s an abandoned warehouse that used to an old Torchwood one facility back in the ‘90s. They quickly realize they’re going to need a lot more than just the clothes on their back to deal with the problem. This leads them to come up with a plan to become petty criminals stealing credit cards, laptops and other things to finance their efforts. Much like the Jack escape plan from day two you need to try and not think too hard about this plot line otherwise you might ask too many questions that can’t really be answered.
Since the Hub explosion, Jack’s daughter Alice has been trying to reach him on his private mobile phone. Her concern leads to a mistake when she stops a woman on the street and asks to use her mobile phone. She calls a different number to try and reach Jack and gets snared by Johnson’s military group listening in on the call. Doesn’t she know that CCTV is everywhere! That starts them researching her and that turns up a fabricated past, so they know she must be someone worth having. Alice senses the danger coming but can’t get away from the overwhelming forces that arrive. She and her son Steven are taken prisoner and brought to the same facility where Jack was previously held.
Now that the team has some resources at their disposal they quickly realize they need to get into Thames house to see what’s going on. Their only real “inside” option is our temp Lois. Gwen pops in to see her at the coffee shop where they first met and Gwen tells her how much they need her help . Taking a page right out of a James Bond film Gwen shows Lois the Torchwood contacts which allow them to remotely see and hear whatever the person wearing the contacts sees and hears. I’ll leave it up to your imagination to think about how those could be used if they really existed. Lois isn’t convinced that she should do this but at least she takes the contacts with her. Back at Torchwood central Ianto and Jack are trying to figure out why the government wanted him out of the way. Ianto starts looking into Clem MacDonald’s past. Clem was the one adult who was being controlled just like the children. He also has the ability to smell the aliens as well. As Ianto tells Jack more details about Clem’s past, including his time at an orphanage in the mid 60s, at this point you can see that Jack is onto something. He wants to see older photos of the other people that were on Frobisher’s kill list. Once he sees the faces he’s off on his own with no explanation to Ianto.
In the meantime the children are now collectively pointing to the center of London and this leads to one of the more memorable alien arrival scenes that I can recall. We see a giant “pillar of fire” coming down from the sky directly into the alien guest box at Thames house. Mr. Frobisher and Mr. Dekker witness the arrival of the 456 firsthand. We only get small glimpses of the 456 through the fog of chemicals inside their guest box. We can’t really make out exactly what they look like but we do hear some violent trashing sounds as well as see them occasionally vomiting or spewing some type of liquid. Quite the first impression now that they are here. The 456 are able to communicate in English and they say they want to speak with ‘the world’. After Mr. Frobisher explains some basic diplomatic protocols to them they agree to let him be their conduit to the rest of the government types that have assembled along with Prime Minister Brian Greene to oversee the discussions with the 456.
It seems that when Jack took off he went to Mr. Frobisher’s house where he stole Mrs. Frobisher’s mobile phone so he could easily contact Mr. Frobisher. Jack asks him if this is 1965 all over again and is that why they tried to have him killed. Jack threatens to tell the world what’s really going on but Frobisher tells him that he has Jack’s daughter and grandson as hostages.
Lois finally decides to put on the contacts so the Torchwood team is able to see and hear what’s happening in the 456 throne room. Once all the formalities of communication are worked out between the 456 and Mr. Frobisher they say they have a request. They want a gift. They say “We want your children…we will take your children… we want 10% of the children of this world.” Not only can they control the children and use them to communicate with us but now they want to take millions of them!
While we’re digesting this “gift request” we cut back to see the Torchwood team who now have Clem with them since he’s obviously an important piece of this puzzle. Through Clem’s flashbacks/nightmares we know that he was there in 1965 but somehow escaped being taken. Clem starts to get very agitated and says he can “smell him…the man…he’s coming back”. With that Jack walks in and Clem wonders why Jack looks the same. We see a flashback where Jack is the one telling the children to walk into that light back in 1965. Gwen is trying to calm Clem down by telling him that Jack fights aliens. She says “Isn’t that right Jack?” To which Jack replies “No, I gave them the kids…1965…I gave them twelve children as a gift.”
I don’t know about you but they got me good with that one…didn’t see that coming at all. I’ve gotten so used to seeing Jack as our hero that I forget about his checkered past.
Be sure to check out our Torchwood bonus discussion podcasts being released each night after the Torchwood: Children of Earth episode airs on BBC America. You can find our Day Three discussion here.