Torchwood 2.1: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang review

Review

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Quantity-ratings (click here for guide to rating system):

Wordbuilding World-mapWorld-mapWorld-mapWorld-map
Gore               Weevil-chompWeevil-chompWeevil-chomp
Dancing          CarysCarys
Angst              Tear-stained-pizzaTear-stained-pizza
Aliens             PhiloctetesPhiloctetesPhiloctetes

On Worldbuilding.

“…separate from the Government – outside the Police – beyond the United Nations.”

Torchwood Season 1 Episode 1.

“Torchwood. Outside the government, beyond the police.  Tracking down alien life on earth and arming the human race against the future.  The 21st century is when everything changes, and you’ve got to be ready.”

Season 1 voiceover introduction to episodes.

With the first episode of Season 2, the voiceover explaining the premise of Torchwood is notable by its absence.  One of the criticisms I had of Season 1 was there was a lack of Worldbuilding – at least for the first half of the Season.  The varying tone of the first six episodes was a hindrance to creating a cohesive world, and the fact it was aliens one week; supernatural beings the next didn’t help either.  Suspension of disbelief was also not helped by Torchwood confusingly interacting with the Government (on the phone to the Prime Minister), the Police (frequently) and the United Nations (in the form of UNIT.)  Also, the fact they appeared to be the least-secret secret organisation in the world didn’t help, as outside-world knowledge of Torchwood seemed to vary from episode to episode.

This problem with Season 1 is acknowledged with an amusing line from a senior citizen in the first few minutes: “Bloody Torchwood!”  This utterance, combined with Torchwood shown interacting with the Police in a clearly defined way, at the crime scene soon after, seemed to be an attempt to tidy up the premise of the show, while also saying to fans “Okay. They are not that independent or secret really. Relax. Enjoy the show!”

Other Worldbuilding this episode: Time Agent Captain Jack meets new character Time Agent Captain John and it seems from this that we have an exploration of the Time Agency aspect of Jack’s mysterious past coming up this Season.

Episode Quality-rating: GrinGrinGrin

The character of Captain John is fun, and the episode barrels along, but any enjoyment derived from this colourful story redefining Torchwood for 2008 is lessened by the ridiculous series of MacGuffins (canisters and a “diamond”) instead of an actual plot – and the rift (and writer) pressing the re-set button on the episode’s events at the end for no apparent reason.

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2 Responses to “Torchwood 2.1: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang review”

  1. frillyshirtcyberman Says:

    Hey John!

    I’ve just started watching series 2 of Torchwood, so I’ll be commenting a bit on here, hope you don’t mind the very lateness of comments, since I didn’t had access to the show.

    The episode wasn’t bad per se, it felt more of a reintroduction of the series, the changes of the characters (Ianto is the cool cat of the quips!) and that verily WTF moment i got with the last comment Agent Adam Ant (James Marsters) said at the end was enough to keep me hooked.

    Like Utopia, I felt it was more like a quickly set up of things to come, so I’ll probably do some re-rating of it when the series is over.

    It was enjoyable and the pace was quick. The plot was a bit non-existent, but it was more of a setup than an episode, really.

    ***

    PS: Loved the granny going “BLOODY TORCHWOOD!” :D
    PS: Your “world building” rate is about arcs and “future story” developments?

  2. John Nor Says:

    Hi Frilly.

    I don’t mind the “lateness” of the comments at all. Any comments any time are welcome at planetzogblog!

    The planetzogblog Wordbuilding rating for Torchwood is a measure of how cohesive the fictional world of Torchwood is.

    Satisfying arcs contribute to this, as does consistent characterisation, as do recurring motifs like the motif of “Team Torchwood at Cardiff’s trendy style-bars” in Season 1. (A motif which occurs in this episode.) Wild fluctuations in tone from episode to episode detract from the Wordbuilding rating.


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