Series three of Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood has begun on BBC 1, and I’ve managed to catch the first episode. Was the episode worth the wait? Has this mini-series started off on the right foot or has it had a bad start? Find out in my review of the episode, after the jump.
The third series of Torchwood is presented as a five-part story under the banner name Children of Earth. The story starts with things pretty much going normal for our Torchwood trio of Gwen, Ianto, and Captain Jack. Gwen is out somewhere, calling up her husband, and Jack and Ianto are out at a hospital to retrieve an alien “hitchhiker” creature from a body in the morgue when the children stop.
But let’s keep this less of an episode synopsis and more of an episode review. As a whole, this episode moves rather slowly, but it does for a reason. “Day One” lays the foundation for this five-part story, and, as such, a lot of questions are raised, clues thrown out, threat introduced, and characters introduced. This episode does that rather well, actually, while never seeming to crawl along too slowly. You know that none of this makes sense at this point, but are optimistic that the remaining four episodes will deal with all of this.
The scenes with the children either remaining motionless and silent, or screaming, or chanting “We are coming” are well done, and quite creepy. Already this alien threat seems quite dangerous, and we’ve not seen them yet, or even have an actual name for them.
Our central trio of characters have some nice backstory thrown in. We meet Captain Jack’s family, which we never really gave any thought to. There were no clues to their existence beyond an old picture we saw back in series one. We also meet Ianto’s sister and her family, and there are some nice dynamics there.
The action really picks up towards the end, where we have a really nice cliffhanger ending. There’s a podcast series I listen to, called Tin Dog Podcast, and the host of that is doing mini-reviews each day of the week, leading up to an overall review. He points out that with all the powerful story elements in play already in Torchwood, we should have expected them to be removed somehow. Well, we get that at the end of this first episode: the hub is destroyed and the Torchwood car is stolen. Beyond that our trio is on the run, pursued by the government.
Overall, this was a somewhat slow episode, but it did a great job setting up this five-part story. I’m very excited for the remainder of this story.