This ten-part run of Torchwood has suffered from uneven pacing, careless characterisation and a lack of focus that has seen whole episodes squandered. In the light of all this, my expectations for the finale were understandably low, but it was still quite a revelation to see so many opportunities missed through such poor storytelling.
At the end of last week, we were left with this image of the Blessing as two slabs of pink kebab meat with a wind machine blowing through them. Well, that was my impression, but don’t go looking to Captain Jack for a more scientific explanation. It could be some Silurian mythology, a bit of Racnoss energy or an expansion of the hibernation matrix. Satisfied with that answer? Didn’t think so, but then again Jack doesn’t really know what it is, so why should it concern us?
After all, there are more important issues to worry about – the fact that the world is running out of resources and the global economy has collapsed, to name but two. Except none of that matters either because there’s always a convenient reset button to press that returns the planet to its axis and puts the funeral directors back in business. It seems that all the talk about remodelling the healthcare system to deal with the expanding population was just padding, a lot of gabble at the margins that left the drama feeling vague and baggy.
Oh well, perhaps there would be the unmasking of some decent villains? Unfortunately, the best Miracle Day could come up with were the Three Families, a bunch of gloating nonentities who, instead of getting thwarted, ended up being merely mildly inconvenienced by events. The blue-eyed man talked of a “plan B”, but here’s hoping they scratch the idea of any sequel that revisits this organisation.
As for Oswald Danes and Jilly Kitzinger – surely the series would have succeeded better without them? After nine hours spent pondering the pair’s motivations, they ended up looking more redundant than the Boys from the Blackstuff.
So how’s the Torchwood team looking at the end of all this? For starters, I need to put my hands up and admit that I foresaw the demise of the wrong member. Rex did die, but because he had Jack’s blood flowing through his veins, he was able to resurrect himself. Thank goodness – he was definitely the most sparky new addition. It was Esther, the agent so fuzzy and disposable that she could have been played by a packet of cotton-wool pads, who made the ultimate sacrifice.
We won’t be seeing her again, but then will we be seeing any of them again? If Torchwood fails to return, would it be (pardon the pun) something of a blessing? My advice to the writers would be to forget about doing a mini-series and return to episodic, small-scale alien-of-the-week sci-fi tales. But maybe, thanks to this lacklustre offering, there won’t be the opportunity to do even that.