“Jane’s Take” on “Torchwood” Episode Six: Bring Us Jack


This is an episode of Torchwood that I wasn’t involved with, other than being in the room for the original structuring of the story – so I’m very much watching this as a viewer along with you guys. Let’s take the ride!

Who you gonna call?! We start out inside PhiCorp, where we find Ernie Hudson as Stuart Owens. And we learn that if PhiCorp is the villain, PhiCorp doesn’t seem to know it. So the villainy twists away out of our grasp again…

At least the top level of the villainy does – the lower level of villainy is right here at hand in the form of Colin Maloney who is appropriately sweaty and awful. In a world where murder is hard to find, he’s managed to find some. And I’m also loving the work of Ralph here, Maloney’s guard/sidekick.

Day in the U.S., night in the UK. Even on a show set in all in one time zone, TV writers have to worry about tracking days and nights, but when you’ve got action spread across the globe, it gets even harder.

Love this scene with Gwen and Dr. Patel – wow, I would not want Gwen disappointed in me. And then with Rhys, she says, “I’ll get my dad, you get a truck.” It sounds so easy when she says it.

I bet it’s not that easy.

Jack’s stage whisper “Does your wife know?” – that makes me laugh. It’s almost a Homer Simpson moment, except self-aware.

Ernie Hudson is amazing here. This might be the hardest kind of scene – compelling talk – and he has me compelled. What he describes, untraceable actions within a largely anonymous system, starts to sound so much more ominous than one guy with a plan. John Shiban did a great job here, writing this tricky scene.

Ha! Rex has a bit of good luck and then a whole lot of bad luck as he tries to get out. And when he’s trying to convince Maloney. There’s something interesting here if you’re into writer technique stuff – notice that this scene is written so that the audience has a whole lot of information that Rex doesn’t have. When a writer makes that choice, they’re going for suspense instead of surprise.

You get surprise when the audience and the characters learn something new at the same time. Russell T Davies will almost always choose suspense – it’s stronger and longer lasting than surprise. Newer writers often go for surprise, valuing the shock.

Esther’s fight(s) with Maloney – no martial arts flips there. Man, that was staged perfectly – amazing how much more real it feels when it’s allowed to be ugly and raw like that. I mean, if someone throws someone all the way across the room, I don’t feel it the same way as I do if it’s smaller.

Rhys: “I’m not the run over type.” And oh, that goodbye kiss – sad and funny at the same time. I don’t even remember reading that in the script.

Someone asked me today why Rex wasn’t wearing the contact lenses for recording purposes in the U.S. camp. Here’s why – Gwen had them with her in the UK. Where she is blowing things up real good! Yay, Gwen!

“Let the outrage begin.” “Torchwood wasn’t designed to fight politicians.” Wow, I am really liking this episode – I love how nothing is easy, except when the easy is just there to set up the next slice of hard.

And here we go. This last scene of Episode 6, that is (obviously) the springboard into Episode 7, which is another one that I wrote, so I’ll be back here next week, sitting on the couch with you for that one! Hope you’ll be here!


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