In a previous post, I began a series of posts on the Doctor Who spin-off series, Torchwood, which I continue here, with it’s mini-series format debut, Children of Earth, a fantastic series to have the pleasure of seeing. Due to the fact that it was merely 5 episodes long, this review will be the shortest of this particular series. This series is notable for featuring Peter Capaldi as John Frobisher before he became the Doctor (Day of the Doctor, Time of the Doctor, Series 8, and so on).
Day One, Day Three and Day Four
According to the Den of Geek review of Day One:
Say what you like about Russell T Davies, but there are few writers in the UK who have shown anywhere near his capability for setting up a premise. More than once on Doctor Who, he’s written a terrific first part of a story (even if the corresponding concluding episode has rarely matched it), and the opening episode of Torchwood: Children Of Earth – his first for the show since the start of season one – does little to dilute his reputation.
His script kicks off with a short prologue in 1960s Scotland, which sees a busload of small kids walking towards a strange light. Before you can say Close Encounters, we’re back in modern day Wales, as Torchwood picks up from where the dramatic second season left off. The team are down to three, with Jack and Ianto now a ‘couple’ of sorts (that accounts for a good minute of dialogue in the episode), and yet the depleted group are about to face arguably their mightiest challenge to date.
But before we get there, Davies has fun setting things up. Ianto and Jack, for instance, we meet at a hospital, where they pull a strange creature out of the stomach of a dead man. This brings them to the attention of Dr Rupesh Patanjali. He seems more interested than most in Torchwood, and eventually follows the team back to the bay. There, Gwen decides she’s going to take the initiative and talk to him, as a possible new recruit.
Yet before we get that far, the main threat of the story has begun to emerge. Twice in one morning, all of the children of the Earth stop, arranged neatly around UK school times. If you can excuse the odd child who’s incapable of playing along with the game of musical statues, then it’s quite a sinister scene, and director Euros Lyn eats this kind of stuff up for breakfast. In fact, Lyn throughout the episode mixes his establishing shots, handheld and close-ups really well, and keeps things both exciting and interesting. Even when the events slow down in the middle of the episode as Jack and Ianto go off to their respective families to find a child, you’re always aware that the pace is ticking. But his mixing in of images of still children, who eventually start chanting, is arguably the most striking visual of the episode. That’s even before we’ve had time to consider why they’re all speaking English. Hmmm.
And yet more threats are converging. Inside the Home Office, Peter Capaldi as John Frobisher finds out about the children from Colonel Oduya (Charles Abomeli), and we get as a result some insight into the workings of the government (and the fact that Martha Jones is on her honeymoon). Keep an eye out too for Lois Hababa (Cush Jumbo), whose plot devices require the biggest leap of faith, though. We’re asked to believe that she can get into major secret information thanks to a handy Post-It note with a username and password attached to the screen, and thanks to this psychic-paper-alike device, she can access highly confidential information. It’d be more believable if the head of MI5 had personal details put on Facebook or something, and you hope it’s a deliberate plot device rather than a bit of a cheat. Either way, Hababa – a so-called first day operative – has more going on that Davies is going to tell us about in episode one.
One such piece of info she discovers is the order from Frobisher (and Peter Capaldi really is excellent here), once the Prime Minister refuses to have his name involved on any level, to kill a collection of people, with the name of Jack Harkness at the bottom of it. Haven’t these people watched the first two seasons?
The other ingredient that Davies throws in is a man called Timothy, in his 50s, who joins in when the children freeze again and start chanting “We Are Coming”. He’s the only man on the planet to do so, and naturally, this gets people interested.
The chanting voice? Well this, as the aforementioned Frobisher discovers thanks to the helpful man who kept old equipment going in a back room (and shows with expensive science-fiction sets always need one of those), is the 456 talking, so named because of the frequency that they broadcast on. Said frequency has been dead for some time, but suddenly, it’s come back to life.
Ultimately, it’s when Torchwood starts investigating Timothy, and discovers that his real name is Clement McDonald, that the fit starts to hit the shan.
In a move straight out of a Bourne movie, the mere mention of his name is intercepted, and kicks off a chain reaction in the corridors of the powers that be. Thus, while Gwen interviews Clement, and discovers both that he was one of the children in the Scottish incident at the start of the show, and – after literally having a good sniff round – that she’s pregnant, the tempo moves up another notch.
This was good stuff to this point, I thought, and as is often with Davies, it’s the little details that he puts in his scripts that add a little depth. We learn, for instance, from Dr Patanjali, that bodies have been going missing from his Cardiff hospital (later exposed as a ruse to get Torchwood interested), and also that suicide rates have gone up since people became aware of the alien threats. We also get some nice moments, particularly with Captain Jack talking to his daughter, and Ianto sort-of coming out to his sister. None of these things matter necessarily in the greater scheme of things, but it does flesh out some of the characters and antics of the past couple of seasons, and points to some very real ramifications for all concerned.
The back end of the episode, to be fair, could have been transplanted out of numerous Doctor Who adventures. The children start chanting again, the shutters start coming down on Torchwood, and it’s clear that someone is coming after them, as well as there being a broader threat to the planet. Cue lots of loud music, a big explosion, and an hour’s worth of solid foundation laying coming to an end.
There’s clearly been money thrown at this shorter Torchwood run, although it seems like a modest amount has been spent on episode one. Yet that’s not a problem. Without showing us a single alien, or going over the top with a particular effect, it’s laid down enough questions, and delivered enough of interest, to get me tuning back in tomorrow at the same time.
And Davies, once more, has proven that he can deliver blockbuster opening episodes, even if they are reliant on a couple of trusted conventions. For he’s clearly an ideas man, and the intrigue generated by the premise, and this opening gambit, is something that’s going to be fun to see explored over the coming four nights. See you same time tomorrow, then…
According to the Den of Geek review of Day Three:
There’s an element of getting some admin out of the way in the first part of Children Of Earth’s third episode. It means that the pace for the first half is quite relaxed by comparison particularly to the opening episode, as the show works out how to get the Torchwood team back into action, and how the world has reacted to the news that the 456 are due, well, today.
There’s extensive use of newreaders relaying stories to jolly things along, and it’s never a bad narrative device if it cuts out some pontificating. A few too many close-ups of newreaders’ pixelated mouths, perhaps, but we get that the schools are closed, there’s a curfew in place, and everyone appears to be bricking themselves. The show is refreshingly quick to get this information across. We also get a Daily Mail headline saying “They’re coming today”, which presumably for once doesn’t mean asylum seekers or something like that.
We also see Rhys, Gwen, Jack and Ianto putting together a new home for Torchwood. Who needs an expensive sci-fi base in Cardiff, we wonder, when all they have to do is nick a few laptops, head down Marks and Sparks and the Army Surplus shop for some new clobber, and steal a conveniently expensive motor to get going again? Before you know it, Rhys is cooking beans, Jack and Ianto are planning a quickie, and things are somewhere back to normal.
The other element slotted into the early part of the episode is the ongoing hunt for the Torchwood crew, with this time Jack’s daughter being targeted to help snare him in. We still don’t find out what the government has against them all, although Frobisher’s motives do become clearer come the end of the episode.
It’s a measured start to the episode, yet there’s still quite a few pieces to move around the chess board before Torchwood‘s momentum picks up again. Firstly. We get Gwen trying to get Lois to do some dirty work for Torchwood, with the aid of some special communicative contact lenses. We find out later in the episode that, as an added feature, they also appear to have MSN Messenger built in, complete with smileys. It’s refreshing that future technology is quite so thoughtful and feature-rich. Still, Gwen’s not convinced that Lois is going to be up to the job, even if most of us sitting on our backsides were never really in any doubt.
Firstly, though, Lois has to attach herself to John Frobisher’s detail as he heads off to Thames House. Before we go further, it’d be remiss not to acknowledge just how brilliant Peter Capaldi, as Frobisher, has been to date, and he’s on damn fine form again here. An inspired piece of casting. Anyway, Lois – with the side effect of Bridget thinking she’s getting her leg over with the boss – manages to tag along, once again making a mockery of any supposed home office security. I swear in the next episode she could walk in with an arsenal of firearms and the only question people would be asking is whether they want sugar in their tea. Still, it’s hard not to take it all in the spirit of the thing.
Before the ignition key on the episode is turned, there’s also a really quite nice and surprisingly tender moment between Ianto and Jack, when the former kicks off by asking the latter whether he felt being blown up. The conversation, though, then carries on to Ianto’s realisation that Jack will see him die some day. It gets a namecheck in for the Doctor too, which should happily satiate some crossover fans.
Then, finally, the kids go off on one again. Again, this is top stuff, as the nippers of the world – and I can’t quite work out the age cut off point for them – suddenly start pointing to the sky. It’s, at last, showtime.
Finally, this is where the effects budget starts to kick in properly, as a mass ball of flame descends from the sky onto Thames House in London. Cue alarms blaring, the music kicking in again, and eventually the arrival of something into the tank of poison we saw at the end of the last episode. That’s when the music cuts to nothing, and the effect is tangible. Children Of Earth has primarily been a very loud show, and it really is appreciated, and effective, when the volume knob is turned down for a bit. Backed up by the children chanting “We are here”, before they all unfreeze and get back down to play, it’s very effective telly. Then it’s left to Frobisher to discover just what’s fallen out of the sky.
And just how effective was that smoky glass cabinet that the 456 arrived in? Episode writers Russell T Davies and James Moran keep their creature in the shadows, smearing green goo up the sides of the tank, but not showing us the source of said gunk in this episode at least. Euros Lyn’s direction again comes to the fore here, and with the help of Peter Capaldi’s exceptionally good wobbling bottom lip, it’s a tense and well executed scene, as we learn that the 456 want to talk to the world. Modest demands, as you’d expect. The only bit of this that didn’t work was the Christian Bale-alike Batman voice of the 456 at this stage. They sounded far more sinister when they were talking through the children of the planet, than sat in a Cardiff recording studio.
And it’s here where Frobisher’s motives start to get interesting. He basically cuts a deal with the 456 to keep things in the past buried, and – bundled in with some work that Jack did earlier in the episode – it’s clear that Frobisher had much to do with the incident back in Scotland, 1965, that kicked that whole story off. Likewise the list of names that he ordered the death of are linked to it. Did Frobisher sell humanity out? It’s certainly looking that way.
Further political shenanigans kick in, as UNIT’s Colonel Oduya pops up again, along with the British Prime Minister and a typically two-dimensional brash American. Frobisher, who we learn is expendable, is sent off to communicate with the 456 as a result of a meeting between the world’s top chaps (and did anyone else spot the number 456 on the glass tank, by the way?), for not utterly convincing reasons. But no matter, as it happily speeds things along.
Which leads us to the two big concluding moments, where the episode finally hits top form. On the one hand, you have Frobisher talking to the 456, with Torchwood watching what’s happening back at base via Lois’ contact lenses, a knocked off laptop and a webchat. Still the writers keep the creature hiding in the smoke and shadows, and it’s a bit of a stilted chat it has with Frobisher, the latter of whom is guffing on about all sorts of boring nonsense.
But key demands come through: the 456 want 10% of the world’s children. Watching from the outside though, Ianto works out that Frobisher appears to be on the aliens’ side, although he doesn’t get a chance to investigate that further this episode. That’s for tomorrow night, presumably.
Then, the cliffhanger, and it’s a corker. I far prefer cerebral endings such as the one we got here, to just cornering people with a lot of guns. After all, the latter just wastes five minutes of the following episode while everyone works out a way to contrive their escape.
Here, though, we’ve watched Clement get more and more distressed at points throughout the episode, and then, as Jack walks back into the Torchwood temporary base where Clement is holed up, it hits you. Jack and Clement haven’t had a face to face moment across the three episodes to date. And now we know why, as Jack is the man that Clement is petrified of, the man who gave the children to the aliens back in 1965. That’s genius plotwork, and hearty handshakes all round.
So why did he do it? Ah, that’s when the credits roll, but all we get is that he gave the 456 twelve children as a “gift”. Why, though? You assume there’s a good reason for it, but it’s going to be fun trying to figure it out over the next 24 hours.
Episode three of Children Of Earth took a little time to get warmed, I though, but the last third really did throw a lot at us, much of it happily tantalising material for the next episode. I wonder if the revelation of the creature in the tank will be a let down – fear of something generally tends to be more effective than the something itself – but I’m happy to wait and see there, as once again, this five episode story arc is working out really very well from where I’m sitting.
According to the Den of Geek review of Day Four:
Appreciating that penultimate episodes are something that new Doctor Who/Torchwood is very good at, this was a meticulously jigsawed together escalation of the threat that’s been building for four days of Torchwood now. And it’s leading into what looks like a cracker of a finale. Please, please, don’t blow it now, because Torchwood: Children Of Earth’s fourth episode has only been rivalled for me by the penultimate episode of Ashes To Ashes this year. A superb piece of television.
And before we go any further, let’s have a hearty round of applause for the cameo appearance by the voice of the Daleks himself, Nick Briggs, who was sitting proudly in the cabinet meeting. Marvellous stuff.
But down to business. The episode picks up from the superb cliffhanger at the end of last night’s instalment, but takes some time to explain it, rather than rushing through to get on with fresh material. We learn that Jack gave the 456 twelve children back in 1965, to stop them unleashing Indonesian Flu. We also learn here that the 456 have popped by before, back in 1918, with Spanish Flu wiping out 5% of the population in toe.
Moral of the story: the 456 are not to be messed with.
Via a formulaic perhaps but very effective mix of flashback and present day reactions, we then learn that Jack was pushed to be the delivery driver in a deal that swapped said twelve children in exchange for basically sparing the world.
Where all this material was at its best was in something simple, of course, namely the reaction in Clement’s eyes (although the “Come with Uncle Jack” line was really quite haunting). And while Clement went through his emotional responses in double quick time to allow him to become a useful part of the Torchwood crew without hating Jack too much in the end, you were left in little doubt just how much he despised what Jack did. You can hardly blame him, either.
The theory was, incidentally, that Clement survived the cut because he was on the cusp of adolescence. Second moral of the night: if aliens are landing, make sure you’ve got a bit of pubic hair.
Clement, at this point, does something entirely logical here, and shoots Jack dead. Only not dead, of course. But you get the idea. Yet that’s the advantage Torchwood has with an indestructible character – it allows other characters to not have to surrender to plot devices to keep them alive. For the record, Clement is also the first person in some time to aim a gun at someone and actually hit them in this show.
The episode then took a little time to plant a seed of Ianto’s disappointment in Jack hiding things from him. My notes as this was happening read ‘Could Ianto be a gonner then?’. We’ll deal with the answer to that shortly.
There were a few more moments of pieces being moved around the board before the episode suddenly accelerated. For instance, Jack’s daughter and grandson are now in custody, giving Alice the chance to warn moody military woman that “a man who can’t die has nothing to fear” (this wasn’t an episode where many characters minced their words, if you couldn’t guess).
Yet soon enough we were back to Thames House, as Frobisher went back to talk to the tank of smoke.
The 456, we learn, are wise to the fact that someone is watching them, which Clement, back at Torchwood’s makeshift headquarters, takes to mean that they know he in particular is watching them through Lois’ immensely clever contact lenses (and to be fair, those contact lenses are a brilliant plot device, too). Frobisher, played again with consummate excellence by Peter Capaldi, lets slip that he’s in contact with the PM, and questions the 456 as to what they want to do with the kids. This is the episode’s cue to ratchet the tension up a good few notches. It happily obliges.
For the 456 invite what first looks like a Star Trek red shirt into the tank with his camera. My fear here was that the show was going to let the identity of its main villains out of the bag, but turns out I did Children Of Earth a massive disservice there. Because not for the first time, it pulls a genuine surprise.
At first, I’m sat there thinking that they’re doing some kind of Aliens knock off with a character I’ve not seen before and is thus doomed to die. And then? We get to see the genuinely creepy and chilling child, who, of course, turns out to be one of those taken in 1965.
It was a brilliant moment, and the show threw plenty of red herrings in there to distract you. Blood pressure monitors? Check. Shaky camerawork? Check. Alien tentacles and stuff? Yep, they were there too. But that mutated child figure? That was superbly done, and utterly effective. Mixing in just the right number of reaction shots, this was a moment with real impact, and a million times better than any monster of the week reveal could have managed.
In the midst of this, we also find out that the 456 have recorded Frobisher’s conversation earlier in the week, and thus the fit hits the shan back with the Prime Minister. The Brash American Man quickly realised that the UK has been hiding the 456 from the world before – it’s reinforced with a bit of rolling news coverage later on, in case we didn’t get the message – and all hell is about to break loose. Even Nick Briggs seemed powerless to stop it, and he can make Dalek noises for a living.
But this is when, in yet another moment of real measure, we cut back to a quiet, broken Jack. The varying of pace was very well handled, and Jack here knows he’s responsible for all of this in some way, and Ianto knows he’s hiding something. All those little exchanges between the pair over the past week really start to have a pay off here.
And as for John Barrowman? How good was he here? John: seriously. Cut all those shitty talent shows out and do more of this instead. Several times he’s been asked to put across emotions that feel crueller than if his character had been killed, and every time, he’s knocked it out of the park. I’ve always thought he’s better at playing Captain Jack in Torchwood than Doctor Who (not least because he’s given more interesting things to do), and any hint of doubt over that was duly eradicated here.
He pulls himself together though and has another brittle conversation with Frobisher, and then the episode – which had been terrific to this point already – really shunted up a gear.
And it produced its most chilling scenes not with the aid of the special effects budget, but with good old fashioned quality writing. The moments around the cabinet table, as scarily plausible arguments were pitched as to how many children – or ‘units’ – should be sacrificed, were as gripping and horrific as anything we’d seen all week (and perhaps all year, too).
And they were so because they were all so reasonable. This wasn’t two dimensional polticians groping for any old answer. They were under pressure, and coming up with horribly logical solutions. That was the scariest thing of all.
The 456 rejected the politicians’ counter offer fairly quickly in the end, and then we get another load of freaky chanting kids just in case we’d forgotten about them. After all, Children Of Earth had subtly, without us really noticing, put the anklebiters to one side for much of the episode, instead talking about them in dismissable terms. Here, though, the kids themselves were back, with different children in different countries chanting numbers that equate to 10% of the child population in each. Again, the chanting was far more effective than the voice of the 456 back at Thames House. Talking of which, said 456 were not taking no for an answer. And still, they were being kept in the shadows, with 80% of the series done.
There’s a lesson here for any aspiring sci-fi or horror writer. Take their silly voice away for a minute, and the 456 are a compelling threat because we know so little about them. There’s no big spaceship with a target on it here to eventually shoot down. No ‘take me to your leader’ moment. There’s no little creature to fire at. It’s a threat that humanity has no idea of the scale of, and there’s no obvious physical manifestation of it. It’s like counting the shadows again.
Once we get through the authority figures making lots of statements querying how to sell the sacrifice of children to voters, and considering the “socially useful” benefits, the character of Lois finally steps up. Thus far, her main use has been to wear contact lenses, but here, she delivers the Torchwood threat. No matter that the authorities now have Jack, Ianto and Gwen in their sights, Torchwood has them all recorded, talking brazenly about human sacrifice (and revealing the real reason for school league tables, too…). It’s great that the episode basically stopped for ten minutes to build all this material up, allowing the Torchwood team to use it as legitimate and believable currency.
And then we get to that quite brilliant ending. Captain Jack has, understandably, had enough by this point, and confronts the 456’s tank. It’s a smashing face off, too, that kicks off when Jack declares, “I’m here to explain why this time you’re not getting what you want.” And then? A reasoned, yet sinister, argument back, quoting child mortality statistics. There’s no softly-softly two dimensional posturing here. Hard facts, and not easy ones to swallow, are thrown back in humanity’s face.
This, however, all leads to tragic consequences when Jack refuses, in spite of past matters, to yield again to the 456, effectively declaring war. They don’t take this well, leading to Clement’s death back at Torchwood (and I wonder if any of the children of the world have faced a similar fate, too?). And they then hit Jack where it hurts the most, releasing a poison that ultimately kills Ianto.
Say what you like about Torchwood: it doesn’t half take some risks. It knocked off two major characters at the end of season two, and here it robs the show of another, who for many was the star of the programme. It’s shocking, brilliantly handled, and the distraught reaction from Jack told its own story. For all the posturing, the man can be hurt, and hurt badly. And in the world of Torchwood? It seems there’s only one character, no matter how established, who’s ultimately safe. Everything else is up for grabs.
The final scene where Gwen and Jack sit amongst the room full of corpses was melancholy, still, and yet devastating. And it left you kind of hoping that there was another week of this to go, and not just one more episode.
Tomorrow? It all, sadly, comes to an end, and I’m passing the review mantle over to Cameron, who’ll be writing up his thoughts once the credits roll.
For now? That was, and I don’t think I’m underselling it, a stunning piece of television, that not only stakes its claim as Torchwood’s finest hour, but leaves the overwhelming majority of new Doctor Who episodes in its wake too. Bring on the finale….
According to the Den of Geek review of Day Two:
After a breakneck opening episode, it was almost inevitable that Torchwood: Children Of Earth would have to relax the pace as it headed into episode two. With John Fay taking over the writing reigns, the first business is to clear up the ‘cliffhanger’ from the first episode. Last time, we saw the Torchwood base blown up with Jack inside it (and the bomb inside him), as a result of an order from Government Home Office minister, Mr Frobisher. We’re not quite sure why he gave the order, but nonetheless, he gave it nonetheless.
Thus, we get to see Eve Myles’ Gwen making a fairly ineffective Lara Croft clone, unconvincingly firing her guns at supposed sharp shooters who were in turn trying to gun her down. Somehow, she escaped, although don’t ask this reviewer how. Meanwhile, Ianto too is being chased down, and he too escapes capture, thanks to the most incompetent enemy firing this side of a Star Wars movie.
Jack, though, has seemingly been blown into pieces. Given that the Torchwood hub has been destroyed, the theory is that Captain Jack will now be permanently dead. Yet actually the explosion has had strange side effects, namely he’s been plastered in red makeup and told to roll around a bed in agony. Fair game, John Barrowman is more than up to the job.
Frobisher, meanwhile, finally gets the detail of the message that was broadcast on the 456 frequency, which appears to be plans to build something. But that aside, we don’t get too much more about chanting children, or more of the 456, until later in the episode. Instead, the first half of the episode is building up some of the human elements of the story. Saves a few quid in the process, we suspect.
Thus, Ianto manages to get a meeting with his sister, courtesy of some help with local neighbours in detracting prying eyes. He takes her laptop, thanks her, and moves on quickly. Gwen, meanwhile, escapes to London with her bloke (Rhys) – after a quick escape from government officials (with the help of an officious, Health and Safety-quoting police officer) – on top of a bunch of potatoes. She reveals to her bloke that she’s pregnant. He’s happy. That’s nice. And we move swiftly on, as she ends up arranging a meeting, so she thinks, with Frobisher.
Only it isn’t Frobisher who turns up, rather Lois Habiba. For someone on the second day on the job, she’s throwing official information around – gleamed from some sort of extraterrestrial Facebook – with abandon. Surely there’s got to be more to her than this, rather than a plot facilitator? Is she really the goodie two shoes she’s coming across as here?
Jack, meanwhile, is firmly in trouble. His captors, once he washes his red makeup off, have realised he can’t be killed, and thus they’ve taken the next logical step and contained him in concrete instead. That sounds likes a good plan, to be fair, even if it makes him Torchwood‘s equivalent of a Han Solo figure. Yikes. You also wonder why it hasn’t been done before.
Still, mysteries continue. Just why is the government, and Frobisher, so keen to get Torchwood out of the way? There’s still not much in the way of a clue there. Why is the incoming threat targeted so specifically at the UK? Is it because of limits in the BBC’s budget, as it spent all of the overseas sci-fi allowance on the Doctor Who special earlier in the year?
Also, what exactly is coming? Given that the programme is called ‘Children Of Earth’, there’s a distinct lack of, well, children in this episode. We get the ankelbiters chanting in unison again, telling us they’re arriving tomorrow, and we’d wager that means somewhere around 9.45pm tomorrow night. But even they only pop up once here, and it does dilute a little of the momentum and sinister feel of episode one.
The back end of the episode also has its fair share of nonsense, to be fair. Gwen, Rhys and Ianto look to bust Jack out of his concrete prison, promptly get cornered, and then somehow contrive to break away using a forklift truck. More to the point, a forklift truck weighed down by a concrete block. Never mind that the pursuing troops could overtake it on foot if they tried, they instead take up firing positions from long distance. Why? Where’s the threat? Did I miss something there? It’s not as if Gwen can shoot straight or anything.
Even when they somehow manage to set a tanker to explode with what may as well be a loose Swan Vesta, surely all it takes a group of troops to do is walk round said explosion, amble in the direction of the forklift – which for good measure then takes an age to drop its concrete payload – take out the Torchwood team and be back home in time for Countdown?
Sillyness aside, the episode then converges back on Frobisher, and the containment tank he’s built in double quick time – that’s science fiction government contractors for you – in response to the instructions from the 456. Filled with a poisonous gas, we’re tantalised with the question of why us, and clearly Frobisher has more to do with this than he’s letting on.
It did all feel like the foot was a little off the gas compared to episode one (and the move to BBC One does seem to have tamed Torchwood a little), but Children Of Earth is still, for my money, bubbling up quite nicely. Granted, it felt like some of the budget was being banked, and the old sonic device was taking out cameras like there was no tomorrow. But heck, whatever’s coming is coming tomorrow, so there’s a beer in my fridge and a reserved seat on my sofa to see just what’s around the corner.
Thus far, even though Torchwood has toned down a little for its new home, this five episode season idea is proving it’s got legs…