Torchwood "Dead Man Walking"

After a couple of weeks of pulling in pretty good, solid episodes (one of them being one of the best episodes I think Torchwood has done – ‘Reset’), they put out ‘Dead Man Walking’. I’m sorry, but — well, it was just poor! The episode just didn’t really make much sense, end-to-end. We also watched the follow-up episode on BBC3, and that’s not so brilliant either, but I’ll come to that in a minute.

‘Dead Man Walking’ was just full of things which I didn’t quite follow:

  • Why was Jack so keen to revive Owen? Owen’s been nothing but a git all last season and most of this one. I just can’t see the motivation behind Jack risking life and limb to get the glove.
  • Speaking of Jack getting the glove, what was up with that church? It was just kind of bizarre!
  • What was going on with the glove anyway? – was it being controlled by ‘Death’ or something? Not exactly sure why it suddenly decided to try and attack people when they were going to inject Owen with something or other.
  • Why, at the end of the episode, does Martha go back to her usual self — but Owen still remains undead? Owen remaining ‘undead’ is never really explained (more on that when I’m talking about the next episode).
  • The worst thing about the episode, in my opinion, is the whole premise: ‘Death’ is an actual entity? WHAT?!!! I just won’t even bother going on about it – it’s ridiculous. (Oh, another random thing — why did death move so SLOOOOOWWWWWLLLYYY?)

The episode did have its moments, and it was quite tension-making at some points, but I spent more of the time thinking about what was stupid about the episode than actually enjoying it. In other words, it was like a Torchwood episode from last season. I was surprised that it was written by Matt Jones (‘The Impossible Planet’ / ‘The Satan Pit’ from the second season of Doctor Who). Although apparently it was quite heavily re-written (as were those episodes) so perhaps I’m doing Matt Jones a disservice.

I will talk about the next Torchwood episode now, but I just want to warn you that this may contain spoilers (if you haven’t already seen it).

It was a bit better than ‘Dead Man Walking’, but didn’t really hit the spot. There were still a few too many things — mainly about Owen — which still didn’t make sense: they draw attention to the fact that he doesn’t actually breathe, but then don’t answer the question: how the heck does he actually TALK then? I think I would have shied away from the whole ‘Owen being dead’ thing completely and just had his life come back after he ‘defeated Death’… it would have made more sense.

Still, the episode’s not all bad – Richard Briers is pretty good, and the episode does have quite a nice touch with Owen and the suicidal woman (if you haven’t watched it, that will sound strange…it’s not really). But it’s just overshadowed with me thinking “What??” every time they make reference to Owen being dead.

Aaaaanyway, I’d better stop ranting now!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Torchwood "Dead Man Walking"

  1. Ahhh the Torchwood plot holes… Their back in good form 😉

    Having seen all the episodes I think death has begun to bring a shift to Owen’s character making him a bit less of a git. And after that lets have a quick look at your bullet points…

    * Why was Jack so keen to revive Owen? Owen’s been nothing but a git all last season and most of this one. I just can’t see the motivation behind Jack risking life and limb to get the glove. –> Considering we’re talking about Jack he wasn’t really risking anything was he.

    * Speaking of Jack getting the glove, what was up with that church? It was just kind of bizarre! –> an abandoned church full of feral aliens – rather creepy… I believe the idea was that this is the same church mentioned later in the episode (presumably thought to be a cursed place)
    * What was going on with the glove anyway? – was it being controlled by ‘Death’ or something? Not exactly sure why it suddenly decided to try and attack people when they were going to inject Owen with something or other. –> You hit it in one here – it wasn’t well explained, but I think the idea was that the Glove was providing distraction to all “Death” to come through.
    * Why, at the end of the episode, does Martha go back to her usual self — but Owen still remains undead? Owen remaining ‘undead’ is never really explained (more on that when I’m talking about the next episode). –> They talk about Owen absorbing a large amount of energy from “Death” this is presumably keeping him alive (remember in the first season the absorption of energy was a factor in staying alive) At the end of the episode Owen is releasing energy – he’s on borrowed time and doesn’t know how long he has left to live – and he seems to have realised that he needs to change his life…
    * The worst thing about the episode, in my opinion, is the whole premise: ‘Death’ is an actual entity? WHAT?!!! I just won’t even bother going on about it – it’s ridiculous. –> firstly you know I’m a fan of Discworld where Death is a character. However in this case you need to remember the creature was named “Death” due to the Medieval texts (and the similarity it gave to the hooded scythe carrying figure – which was retconned as being created by this creature appearing) the “Death” creature is probably more a creature from a different dimension (the void?) and could be called John for all we know – it was named “Death” by the characters due to it’s effects and what it looked like…(Oh, another random thing — why did death move so SLOOOOOWWWWWLLLYYY?) –> a tradional horror movie staple – no matter how fast the young teen runs away the killer always catches up…

    Moving on to the 2nd episode I agree the breath thing is rather stupid – but it’s needed for it to really work – is there much point keeping the character around if he can’t speak?

    I think you just need to accept (and I know this is going to be hard…) Torchwood is set in a FICTIONAL universe so the rules that apply are slightly different from ours…

  2. I think you just need to accept (and I know this is going to be hard…) Torchwood is set in a FICTIONAL universe so the rules that apply are slightly different from ours…

    I see what you’re saying Alex, but the problem is Torchwood just make it so hard. I can accept the rules being different in the Doctor Who universe, the problem with Torchwood is that they seem to take pains to ensure that it’s set in the here and now. A few little issues here and there I can take, but the writers of Torchwood seem to leave quite a few issues and they just don’t bother addressing them.

    Anyway, to address your points above:

    Even if Jack wasn’t risking life and limb, it was still a pretty stupid thing to do, given what happened with the previous glove. Bear in mind that Owen actually tried to kill Jack at the end of last series.

    I see your point regarding Owen being alive because of the energy, although it’s not really explained that well.

    I take your point about Discworld, although from what I know of it Terry Pratchett’s universe is a lot different to this one — and the character Death does actually have something to do with death, as opposed to the whole ’13 souls’ rubbish. Good point about the name ‘Death’ not being important though.

    As for the second episode, the reason Owen not having breath got to me was because they drew attention to it. They don’t even bother making up some pseudo-science to try and explain it. Also, I don’t know… the episode just didn’t really “do it” for me in the same way that some of the more recent episodes this year have done. It felt a bit like an episode from last season, although perhaps that’s because Owen was back to being a git for most of it.

    *takes a deep breath*

    I do want to like Torchwood, and this season I have been enjoying it, but I just didn’t really like the last couple of episodes … hopefully the next episode will be better.

  3. This review seems to sum up my thoughts pretty well — I haven’t written a lot about the moral stuff but that’s something which does concern me. Torchwood are actually the baddies in a lot of ways, it’s quite worrying really!

Comments are closed.