Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Load Of Tosh

Actually, despite the title, this is going to be a favourable review of last night’s episode of Torchwood...

At last we were presented with a story that had depth, emotional content and decent social commentary. It also made far better use of Toshiko than her usual sidelined role of pretty-but-not-pretty-enough-Asian-geek-girl-in-the-background.

I have to confess that Toshiko has grown on me. Out of the all Torchwoodies she’s my favourite by far. Gwen I’m still ambivalent about: nice hair, nice eyes, but annoying trailer park attitude. Toshiko is quietly intelligent and the most morally upright member of the team.

And yes, she’s another brunette but that has no bearing on my opinion at all. Honestly.

Anyway yesterday’s episode revolved around a shell-shocked soldier removed from 1918 and cryogenically frozen by Torchwood in order for him to be reinserted back into his own time and so close up an immense rift in time that was forecast to destroy the world in 2008.

But let’s not get bogged down with the science.

This poor guy had been awoken / thawed out once a year since 1918 (and then refrozen) to give him a breath of fresh air, a walk in the park and to make sure that “everything still worked”.

I have to say that Toshiko was very thorough in checking that all his parts were still in working order. Having been his guardian on his previous “awake days” she’d fallen head over heels in love with him...

Geez, but Tosh needs to get out more! 4 dates in 4 years and she’s smitten?!? I’m not saying she’s easy but...

Sorry, ignore my ingrained and in-growing cynicism. It was actually a very touching relationship between the two of them, aided somewhat by Toshiko’s inherent shyness and social ineptitude and the young soldier, Tommy’s, fragile and wonder-filled state at being removed from the conflict of WWI and being allowed glimpses of the world that slowly formed in its aftermath.

And the fact he called Tosh a “daft lass”.

Hey, you may scoff but it got Tosh into bed and young Tommy showed what he was made of by going over the top with his bayonet fixed. Or something like that.

The clash between 1918 and the present also allowed the writer’s to critique the modern world – nothing too astounding or earth shattering here and nothing that hasn’t been done before but it was all expressed rather nicely and personably. As Tommy says: they fought the war to end all wars and then 3 weeks later (from his perspective) there was another one. What was the point of it all?

Cue sad and weary bout of naval gazing.

Of course it had to end. Badly for Tommy and Tosh but well for the rest of us. Tommy had to go back to 1918 when the time rift threatened to pull reality and the whole dang future down into the pan... unfortunately, according to the records from 1918 it was plain that Tommy’s condition, like so many struck down with shell-shock at the time, was hardly met with kindness and understanding by the army top brass. A few weeks after his discharge from hospital he was sent back to the front, suffered a relapse and was summarily executed for cowardice.

Thank you for saving the world and any last requests?

Bang bang.

Hey but at least he’d got a chance to smoke a last cigarette post coitus with Tosh.

That’s not too bad a way to go and in terms of the “big push”... at least the earth moved for them both.


Old Cheeser said...

Hey you beat me to it again Steve! You're just a bona fide sci-fi geek aren't you?!

Glad you enjoyed it. I agree that it was good to see Tosh getting a bigger slice of the action and the relationship with her and Tommy was nicely played.

However...the story felt very flat and actually seemed to drag. The time rift thing was rather confusing too - I couldn't get my head round the paradox. But it made for a bit of a lame, uninteresting plot - all the characters really had to do was sit and wait for the moment when Tommy got sent back to the past. The stuff with the ghosts was just peripheral.

Oh moan moan! So, okay on the charactersation, weak on plot in my view. I thought last week's episode was a lot better.

Steve said...

I quite liked the ghosties - but then I am a sucker for a good ghost story. I did enjoy last weeks episode but found the alien arms a bit ridculous and cheap looking... This week's episode was definitely a slower paced affair but I thought it worked well... it was essentially a doomed love affair. It was nice to see the Torchwood team humanized by the story too... a bit of emotional resonance is always a good thing!

TimeWarden said...

I thought episode three was Season Two's answer to Season One's "Out of Time", hence Owen's understanding of the doomed relationship and the thing he and Toshiko now have in common to bring them together later this series! Last year's "Out of Time" was stronger but I still thought "To the Last Man" was a good episode, as good as last week's, though in a different way, and, again, vastly superior to the season opener.

I like Tosh, too, and she would actually make a good companion in "Doctor Who" given a more sensible Doctor. Were we meant to be surprised by this straight relationship after lesbian tendencies were exposed in the previous season's "Greeks Bearing Gifts"?

Annie G said...

I've recorded TW and will watch it this weekend. I'm intrigued now with the differences of opinion between you and OC.

The Sagittarian said...

You really are a big tease, Steve! I can see that I am going to have to find something on TV that I can have a go at reviewing...something to make YOU wish you had our TV. Jeez, don't hold your breath buddy...we are soooo behind!!

Anonymous said...

I shall have to make the effort to watch an episode so that I have something worthwhile to say.

I wrote that piece you requested anyway. It is very long (even by my standards) and soppy and boring but it was a cathartic experience to write it - so thanks!

Tosh (is that her?) looks quite sexy in that photo. But wasn't Tosh once someone very unappealing in The Bill???

Steve said...

Hi TimeWarden, I thought the same and thought the emotional references to Out of Time were well handled... not overly done but there in a nice subtle way. It also softens Owen's character somewhat and humanizes him a little more (God knows he needs it). Regarding Toshiko's sexuality... it's bizarre, the more Torchwood adopts an anything goes ethos towards sexuality (and after all, why not?) the less noteworthy it becomes. But maybe that's how it should be? The emotion is the important thing.

Hope you enjoy it Annie. The episode certainly divided my work colleagues too.

Amanda, I think you'd make a great TV reviewer and would love to read you slagging off a bit of rubbish TV. Thanks for the email by the way - what a superb letter. I have written sarcastic letters in my time but, alas, nothing as professionally vicious as the one you saw in the paper!

Hi Gina, I very much look forward to reading it! It's always a pleasure to drop by your blog. ;-) Regarding Tosh... you're thinking of Tosh Lines... the rather rotund, droopy moustached, salt of the earth detective from the Bill's Burnside era. I always liked him and Burnside... I think the latter was a good forerunner of Gene Hunt. I think you're right regarding Toshiko though... I think the current series of Torchwood will see her emerging as a real vamp. I live in hope anyway...!

Glenda Young said...

Much as I love Dr Who I just can't get away with Torchwood. I've tried, but I can't.

Annie G said...

Me again Steve - I watched TW today. I enjoyed the clever storyline, and was convinced by the love between Tosh and Tommy. It was also a moving reminder of the WW1 shell-shocked soldiers who were shot for cowardice. As for Tosh, I like her BUT she often has this weird expression on her face, as though she can smell something very nasty! Excellent episode though.

Steve said...

Hi Nora, spin-offs usually operate outside the comfort zone of their original concept... but I have to say, on the whole, I prefer Torchwood to the recent DW outings. Maybe it's because my expectations are lower?

Annie, I know what you mean... either she doesn't like Captain Jack's natural musk or she needs to take an indigestion tablet... she's still cute though, despite the frequent gurning...!