I didn’t think Torchwood would ever be really good without a radical overhaul. Turns out I was wrong. Here’s why Reset (Torchwood with Martha) works.
- J.C.Wilsher. Creator of Between The Lines, one of my favorite dramas, I had high hopes for his episode and, indeed, the writing is great. Inter-agency friction, with the trademark Wilsher phrase “fireproof” making an appearance, in an intelligent, consistent, thought-through human-led alien conspiracy plot touching on major medical/ethical issues without ever pausing for breath.
- J.C.Wilsher. And the bit that even surprised me was that he was able to touch on every ludicrous “romanic” subplot and add something, even each of them seem like they work.
- J.C.Wilsher. Did I mention the writer? Continuity can be a milstone, so to bring together the strands not just from the inconsistent preceding Torchwood episodes but also the Jack/Martha Doctor who arc (two thirds of which was dire) not to mention a spot of classic Who (UNIT!) and making it feel like it added to the whole seems to me a bit of an achievement.
- Martha Jones. Torchwood works so much better when there’s a likeable, competent lead who you can believe could actually face up to the alien threat. Martha’s presence seems to bring out the best in the team who seem to raise their game when she’s around (thanks to an excellent script – did I mention J.C.Wilsher?).
- Freema Agyeman. Now she’s stepped out of Tennant’s shadow I’ve realised just how good she is. She’ll be worth watching Torchwood for even when it falls back into the hands of inferior writers.
- Great Gadgets. Both of them, but especially the contact lenses. What’s the point of nicking alien technology if it’s not spectacularly advanced? Though it wasn’t conceptually flawless (bypasses the auditory circuits?) I loved it.
- Editing. This episode was really slick.
- The Score. Dramatic, tense, and best of all featuring Murray Gold’s Martha’s Theme from Doctor Who.
Let’s hope Torchwood with Martha can stay this good.
I haven’t mentioned Owen’s death, and I’ve no idea quite how permanent that will be but it’s disappointing. Burn Gorman’s great, and although Owen is rather unsympathetic (alright, widely hated) the character worked in the Torchwood set up from the beginning (unlike everything else…) Obviously they’ve got a new doctor (until she goes back to UNIT) so he would be somewhat redundant, but death never seems to last in Torchwood‘s Cardiff…