The Blood Line

bloodlineUnlike ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ I intend to get straight to the point. This series was bad, ending with a poorly conceived final episode that contained almost no drama. This is the first time I have watched a series and felt that my time has been actively wasted.

Very little of of the series actually had any bearing on the final episode itself. So many subplots have revealed themselves to be little more than padding,only there so that they were able to produce 10 episodes.

I once mused that Russell T Davies plots his stories like a mystery, with the cause and solution to the problem being treated the same way that the identity of the killer would be. In a mystery novel once you know who did it the mystery is solved and the story is effectively over.

The problem is that this doesn’t work for a dramatic series. We need to know what the threat is and how the heroes are going to over come it. We keep watching because we want to see if they achieve their goal.

Without that you are left with characters blindly bumping around in the dark, frustrating the viewer as week after week we are left none the wiser about whether they are getting any closer.

Having only just found out about the Families the Torchwood team find that Jack’s blood leads them directly to what they are looking for. So in episode 10 the heroes simply walk in a straight line to the bad guys lair.

Once there they are captured and the bad guys lay out their flimsy plot. They used Jack’s blood with the Blessing, a tunnel whose origin they don’t know, to make everyone mortal, although they don’t know how as they don’t know how it works.

One is left to imagine what else they were throwing down it in the hopes of getting a reaction before they tried Jack’s blood, something they’d collected nearly a hundred years before.

The enormity of what the Families have done is completely undercut by the fact that the heroes solve the problem immediately, as this is the 10th episode and there is simply no time for them to concoct a plan.

To illustrate why this is bad plotting let us look at ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’ and imagine they were remade by RTD. In ‘Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker travels through space trying to work out why planets are being destroyed.  He discovers this is due to the Death Star which he immediately shoots and destroys.

In ‘Lord of the Rings’ Frodo travels across Middle Earth trying to work out why things are so bad. Upon reaching Mount Doom he discovers it is due to the magic ring he has been carrying. He immediately throws it into a volcano, restoring peace to the land.

Even if we look at television series such as ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, which had Big Bad each season, the identity of the threat is reveal by at least the half way point. Here it wasn’t until episode 7 until we saw the Families on screen and they weren’t the focus of the plot until episode 9.

All of which would be forgivable if the explanation for Miracle Day didn’t outright contradict the rules established for the series. We were told time and time again that Jack’s blood wasn’t important as that isn’t what made him immortal.

Yet we discover it is his blood which set the template for humanity when passed through the Blessing. Just why perfectly ordinary blood would do this or why it didn’t give the same form of immortally possessed by Jack (and later Rex) to the rest of the world wasn’t explained.

Nor did it make sense to suggest that the resulting morphic field would make Jack mortal. Jack is human so why isn’t he affected by the field? Why does a field that make you immortal effect his own immortality in such a manner?

We are simply to accept what we are told, the characters own ignorance is supposed to excuse the lack of explanation.   

There were some good points but this was mainly with the CIA plot. Even Rex and Esther’s part of the operation was more interesting that Jack, Gwen and Oswald Dane’s contribution.

Here we saw the CIA closing in on the mole with suitable tension being provided by Charlotte’s close proximity. The suicide bombing in Buenos Aires put the heroes in a tough situation and showed that Rex could take advantage of that, hoping that making their enemies think they were dead would give them the edge they needed.

If we’d had more of this ‘24’ style action I think this would have been a much more exciting series.  Indeed, a mole within the agency would have been a much better reason for Rex and Esther to go rogue than the clumsy accusations made against them in Episode 2.

I did find it amusing that Rex claimed to have seen some crazy things since joining with Torchwood. Just what had he seen that other people hadn’t specifically due to his relationship with Torchwood?

Wouldn’t he have had exactly the same experiences if he’d stayed with the CIA? Isn’t the whole world going through Miracle Day and thus seeing things beyond the norm?

The biggest waste of time this season has to be Oswald Danes. His existence is inconsequential to the villains, showing that all the emphasis placed on him was leading no where.

It was just a coincidence that his execution coincided with the start of Miracle Day and his work for Phicorp achieved nothing. We learnt nothing about why he committed his crimes and he was completely unrepentant, gleefully looking forward to molesting children in hell.

Even Jilly Kitzinger was just there to fill out the cast, her presence only required to take notes for the Families. She wasn’t aware of the plot, she didn’t have any influence, she didn’t do anything. It’s hard to see why anyone would be interested in her after the events of Miracle Day.

The ending shows RTD’s lack of conviction. The climax should have been about death and sacrifice yet he can’t allow Captain Jack or Rex to stay dead. The plot demanded they die for Miracle Day to end but they are brought back to life with no explanation.

gwenphoneagainThe final scene showed a lazy falling back on all the worst excesses of his era of Doctor Who. I’m sure that the use of the lines ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry’, ‘What? What!, What?’ and ‘That’s impossible’, were supposed to be amusing but just left me rolling my eyes.

The foreshadowing that the Families have a plan B was painful. A pitiful attempt to convince us that the Families weren’t incompetent and they had a much better plan waiting in the wings. I, for one, have no desire to see it.

I’m glad this series is over, it felt like a real trial to get through. It most certainly wasn’t Torchwood. It had drifted so far from its original format that Jack and Gwen were adrift, the characters themselves reminiscing about the old days when they fought aliens.

The chances of the series returning aren’t good which is a shame as there were some interesting ideas here. The individual writers aren’t to blame, rather the person who orchestrated the whole sorry mess.

Under different management Torchwood could be successful but I’m afraid that it may be too late. Torchwood maybe dead.

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2 Responses to The Blood Line

  1. Iain McLean says:

    Forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t this blog supposed to be about role-playing? If your sense of hubris demands that you degenerate into the most worhtless form of life on this planet, the TV critic, I suggest you do so elsewhere and stop wasting our time with your ramblings.

  2. etheruk1 says:

    The main focus of this blog is for roleplaying but part of that is looking at the plots of Doctor Who stories and anything that comes under that banner. I think there is something to be gained from looking at where things go right and where things go wrong.

    Why exactly is a tv critic a worthless form of life? Is television beyond criticism? Are people not allowed to say what they do or do not like about a form of art? Is there no merit in analysing a program?

    I’m sorry you feel I have wasted your time but then I felt that Torchwood wasted mine. Certainly you’d allow me the freedom to express that on my own blog, as you have done.

    If you care to look through my previous reviews you’ll see I try to identify both the good and the bad, rather than just being excessively negative. Rather than just saying I didn’t like something I’ve tried to explain why. I’m not sure how you can view this as rambling or hubris.

    If you want to say what you liked about Torchwood or what the faults were in my review I’d be happy to listen.

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