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"Excuse me, have you seen a blowfish driving a sportscar?" 
26th-Jan-2008 04:42 pm
So, I saw the first two episodes of season 2 of Torchwood last night. Fun stuff.

The first striking thing was how much the writers have made a vast effort to remedy many of the things fans complained about during season 1. The Captain Jack that we see in these episodes is much closer to the "fun" Captain Jack we knew from Doctor Who than the moody fellow we saw in season 1 of Torchwood. The members of Torchwood are actually starting to act like a team rather than a bunch of bitchy people who would sooner stab each other in the back than work together. (They even demonstrate a certain amount of competence, although they are rather easily taken in by Captain John in the first episode.) Jack gets called on and acknowledges his past poor leadership behavior. (Though, despite his team repeatedly complaining to him that he never tells them anything, he still doesn't really tell them anything. This is kind of necessary as long as "the mystery of Captain Jack" is going to be one of the central focuses of the drama. But at least its counterproductive aspects are being acknowledged.)

The writers are also trying really hard to give neglected characters like Toshiko and Ianto some personality, with some success - Tosh gets some good lines, but still doesn't get all that much to do. They're also trying to give some actual substance to the Jack/Ianto relationship, rather than just giving us bizarre innuendoes involving stopwatches. We'll see how it goes - the writers so far are pushing both the Jack/Gwen and Jack/Ianto relationships more to the forefront than I'd expected. I have mixed feelings about this. As a friend wisely put it, what will the slash writers have left to write about?

There were also far more laugh-out-loud funny lines, particularly in Episode 1, than I remember most season 1 episodes having.

Episode One, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," was pretty much a romp. It did a good job of reestablishing the characters. I enjoyed James Marsters's guest role as "Captain John", although I'm not particularly captivated by the character. (Who I think will be returning in a future episode.) I didn't particularly care for his parting, "Oh by the way, I'm going to casually mention something that is clearly going to be a huge plot point later in the series and then vanish before you can ask me anything more." But apart from that little bit of foreshadowing by sledgehammer, it was a solid, though not spectacular, episode.

Episode Two, "Sleeper," really came across as the production team's way of saying, "Just because we're more fun now doesn't mean we can't still do dark." Dark it was. Also well-written, and with a particularly strong performance by guest-star Nikki Amuka-Bird. I'd say it bodes well for the forthcoming Doctor Who episode by writer James Moran.

It's still no rival to Doctor Who in my affections (though I do know several people who prefer Torchwood to its parent show), but Torchwood's season 2 is off to a great start.
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