Torchwood 2.2: Sleeper review

Review

Sleeper

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

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

(Please note – vague elements of the Season 1 plot of the ongoing 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica are discussed in the following review.)

On Aliens.

“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.

“Torchwood. Outside the government, beyond the police. Fighting the future on behalf of the human race. The 21st century is when everything changes… and Torchwood: is ready.”

Season 2, episode 2, voiceover introduction.

Surprisingly, the voiceover that many, including me, had assumed (from watching episode 2.1) had gone from the show is back – with small tweaks. “Tracking down alien life” is gone. In Season 1, there wasn’t that much alien life about – alien tech sure – but curiously Season 2 seems to have many more Aliens despite the voiceover change.

The best Science Fiction has something to say about the times in which it was made – for example, the ongoing 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica (“BSG”), which often uses the central human-versus-machine conflict of the show as a metaphor for different aspects of our post-9/11 world. This episode seems to have been inspired by BSG, as the Aliens of this episode are used here as commentary on similar topics, with Torchwood shown here having their very own mini-Guantanamo. (Similar stories were told in Torchwood’s They Keep Killing Susie and Doctor Who’s episode Dalek, but BSG is the obvious influence for this story.)

It’s risky for Torchwood to invite comparisons to the adult-Sci-Fi show par excellence BSG, but this episode succeeds, partly through adding other influences into the mix (the body horror of Cronenberg – the film eXistenZ specifically), partly through building upon the world of Torchwood already established: the cells (which actually are from Silence of the Lambs via Ultraviolet), the Weevils, the wall of freezer compartments.

Episode Quality-rating: GrinGrinGrinGrin

Probably the goriest episode since Countrycide, but unlike that story, the gore is used as part of an effective episode with something to say. The production design is great, and other highlights of the episode include several moments of supreme comic timing from Ianto.

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2 Responses to “Torchwood 2.2: Sleeper review”

  1. Battlestar Galactica » Torchwood 2.2: Sleeper review Says:

    […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by planetzogblog […]

  2. frillyshirtcyberman Says:

    Whoa! That’s what I’m talking about! I liked this story a lot more than the season opener. Not only it was gory as heck, but the whole attack was great (and the bit in the comm center made me jump a bit!).

    When did Ianto became King of Quips? He was a bit of a cypher on series 1, but I’m really liking him now. Tins with string? classic!

    I see your point of comparison with BSG and agree on all accounts with you, mate. I really think BSG is the measuring stick for “adult” scifi these days.

    My only problem with the episode was when the main bad guy got taken out. Why did he wait for them to run away until he went “Predator” on us? Hmm…

    The camera work was weird, but a nice change from the other episodes. I thought “The Shield!” with all the moving camera, weird close ups, but it can be applied to BSG too, I guess.

    I give this 4 and half gwens! :D


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