The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “Fragments,” the twelfth episode of the second season of BBC?s “Torchwood.”
You can?t get a more dramatic opening than this: the team tracks down a series of explosive devices with only seconds left to go … and each one detonates right in their faces forcing the teams life to flash before their eyes.
The thrill of ?Fragments? is seeing how each of the Torchwood players came to work for the alien-catching organization in some of the most surprising and unexpected ways. And at the center of it all are Jack?s (John Barrowman) efforts to rebuild Torchwood in the honor of his Doctor with the end goal of protecting the people of Earth and arming the human race against the future.
Move over ?Lost? ? this is how flashbacks should be done.
There were a lot of threads from the season pulled into the one cohesive story — the Torchwood of old, the innocent looking girl with the gift of foresight, a Blowfish without a sports car and more importantly how Jack came to work for the Institute.
The flashbacks to Jack?s past were incredibly similar to those from ?Angel,? charting the tortured past of Angelus and his reluctant quest for atonement and redemption. Back alley fights, knowledge of the paranormal and an unwanted task of defending the helpless are only a few of the correlations between the two characters.
Tosh?s (Naoko Mori) own back-story and how she came to work for the agency is particularly interesting and at points seems a little bit of industrial espionage and borderline terrorism. Her encounter showed that there is a darker side to UNIT than what you would normally expect to see in ?Doctor Who? and it will be fantastic to see that darkness explored in more adventures further down the line. Mori is fantastic with the softer and more emotional stories, and so it was a genuine pleasure to see both.
The most surprising of all however is Owen?s (Burn Gorman) entire situation as one of Britain?s finest medical doctors with a fianc?e he cannot save from an invisible illness eating away from her. Gorman has had a lot to work with this season, mostly from the supernatural side of things thanks to his nasty case of being dead and so it was a pleasant change of pace to see his raw angst come from a more grounded source. The funeral scene as he attacks Jack was charged with so much feeling thanks to Ben Fosters usual musical talents.
Oh, and then there is the return of James Marsters and one hell of a cliffhanger.
What Didn?t Work
The return of Bob the Pterodactyl. Bob carries with him a silliness that is so ludicrous ?Torchwood? looses credibility for every second he is seen. As if the end of ?Cyberwoman? wasn?t bad enough, Ianto?s (Gareth David-Lloyd) flashbacks feature a hunt to track down Bob in the middle of Cardiff and Jack?s desire to have a guard dog for the Hub. At the end of the silliness though there was a tenderness as Ianto cries with relief at finally being allowed to join Torchwood.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Torchwood” stars John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Gareth David-Lloyd and Naoko Mori and now airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. GMT on BBC 2 and then on at Saturday nights at 9 p.m ET on BBC America. “Fragments” was written by Chris Chibnall and was directed by Jonathon Fox Bassett.
Alan Stanley Blair is the assistant news editor for Airlock Alpha and its sister site Rabid Doll. Contributing from his home country of Scotland, he is currently studying for a diploma in freelance journalism and can be reached at anytime at email@example.com.
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