“Jane’s Take” on “Torchwood” Episode 10: The Blood Line


Editor’s note: I wanted to take a moment to thank Jane for taking the time to share her thoughts with us over the past two and a half months. Jane is incredibly busy and we were very flattered when she agreed to write this column to give our readers an inside take on each episode of Torchwood. Thanks, Jane! We can’t wait to see what you do you with Once Upon a Time!

got an email from Russell
today, in which he said, “Did I ever think I’d see the credit JANE ESPENSON & RUSSELL T.
on screen?! No, I never, ever, ever did.” Well, I never, ever, ever did either. It’s
a thrill, I’ll tell you!

I will also tell
you that this episode was actually written by Russell. What I did was write a
first draft that got the scenes of his story down on the paper in a rough form
and he took it from there – I love this script, but I can’t take credit for
much of it. I cut out the pattern that he’d designed, and he made the outfit,
to use a Project Runway metaphor.

The Gwen
monologue at the top is one part that is still very much mine though, and as
always, Eve Myles is in top form. This whole story with her father has probably
been the through-line that has most moved me personally this season.

And there’s that
creepy thing with Jack‘s blood being pulled like a magnet toward The Blessing. I
love how that looks; somehow it’s more creepy than I imagined.

Frances Fisher
(from Titanic) is speaking Mandarin there – I had the nicest chat on set with
the young woman who was there to guide her Mandarin pronunciation. BTW, the
Frances Fisher character is identified in the script simply as
“Mother,” and during the table read for this episode, I was assigned
to read that part. I didn’t attempt the Mandarin.

And in Buenos Aires, we meet
another descendant of the Ablemarch / Costerdane / Frines families. They’re
going to bury any access to The Blessing – our heroes better get there fast!

I like the way Charlotte lies. She
actually lies like someone who is used to lying.

In that same
table read, I also played the frightened woman in the hallway who lets Gwen
into the alley by The Blessing.

“I come from
the future.” I love this scene between Jack and Oswald. Just when you
think Jack is going to make some sort of connection with Oswald, he lays the
truth on him. “…how small you’ve made your life.”

I recall that in
episode seven,
when we thought that Jack was going to have more contact with
1920s mobsters, we were going to have him dismiss them as “small,”
and the same word comes up when Vera is yelling at Maloney as she’s being shot
in episode five. This idea, that even before immortality, that even with our
tiny little mortal lifespans, you can make a choice to be “small” –
which I take to mean selfish, petty, self-important, self-indulgent, or to be
redemptive and expansive and to mean something to people… this notion comes
up a lot.

I really like
that Gwen has time to think about the implications of the action sequence
before it starts. The stuff with her people back home just charms me every darn

Esther hands the
case full of blood into that truck so casually. And then boom – I LOVE the
sound design after the explosion. I’ve never heard the physical experience of
ringing ears rendered so well.

I like that Rex’s
affection for Esther is so earned. It wasn’t immediate; it really feels to me
like he likes her almost reluctantly… like he just can’t fail to see how
smart and brave she is.

Charlotte doesn’t even run. Plants that bomb and
doesn’t even run. She’s one cool customer.

This is an
interesting dynamic. We know that Rex and Esther are alive, but Jack and Gwen
think they’re dead — or at least Cat One. But they keep going. It’s the good guy
version of Charlotte
not running. You do your job and keep your head clear.

Andy holding the
hand of the girl. I’d seen all the footage from this episode except from the UK camp.

And now we are in
the world’s
longest-distance stand-off. Really, you could not get farther apart
on the Earth than our two settings.

“What are we
looking at? Is it the rock… or the edge…?” I like that line. And there
is the answer – the very very terrestrial center of our home. The danger
started inside, was cultivated by humans with the good ol’ goal of world
domination. Looks like you don’t need aliens for that. Humanity is its own
enemy this season.

Uh-oh. They need
Jack’s blood in Argentina.
And now we recall the way that Rex has been in pain, the way he seemed to be
affected in the same way that Jack is. And we recall the casual way that Esther
handed over that last case of blood. Because Rex is where that blood from the
Scottish fridge really ended up.

Is this the end
of Jack? Is this the end of Rex? I’ll tell you now that someone is going to

Oh Gwen! Don’t
shoot the coat! And there goes Esther.

“You are
magnificent.” That line from Oswald is dark and funny and awful and true. And
that is entirely Russell.

This sequence,
the breath
that went around the world, was another one that we visualized from
the very beginning. The return of death.

By the way, the
shot of Mary Cooper sitting at the table, talking through the phone to her
husband – that didn’t need scripted dialogue, of course. But the script still
said what she’s talking about: ordinary things, her day, the shopping… I’m
tearing up, remembering the page.

And… Jack’s

Gwen and
Jilly: “How… much… bloody… lipstick can you wear?”

Oswald gets
something that looks like redemption, but is really comeuppance.

The Argentinian
military is there – will they save Esther? Will they save Rex?

The funeral gives
the answer, and oh how cheeky is Charlotte,
still undetected!

I’ll let you
watch the ending without narration. I think it’s something you need to take in
on your own.

And that is the
end of Torchwood: Miracle Day! I hope you enjoyed it! I had an amazing time
being a part of it – Russell is an extraordinary man and a wonderful boss. All
the love in the world to him and to the fans of Torchwood! It’s been a joy!


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