?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Torchwood S2 01 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Review

 Chris Chibnall has been reading my mind.

 
I said a year ago that I wanted Jack to be gone long enough for the team to learn how to function properly without him.  He did that.  I said I wanted Ianto to more mature.  Check.  I said I wanted Tosh to be more assertive.  Check.  I said that I wanted the parallel between Owen and Jack to be made more explicit.  Check.  I wanted Jack's past to be genuinely dangerous.  Check.  I wanted the attraction Jack has for Gwen to be acknowledged but to be less than the attraction Jack has for Ianto.  Check and mate.

All this came wrapped up in a laugh-a-minute script, tied up with a novel stringing together of science fiction and Western conceits, and with James Marsters as the bow stuck on top.  I couldn't ask for a better present!

In Jack's absence, the Team has learned how to function as a team.   Jack is palpably nervous about their good will in his first scenes with them.  He needs time to make nice with them and get back in their good books.  So of course who shows up before he can get the time?  His Ex From Hell, in the form of Marsters' "Captain John Hart."

Captain John is appropriately mad, bad, and dangerous to know; and makes it appropriately clear that Captain Jack used to be worse.  Jack's time has always given the impression of great instability, and something about the way they talk about their five years together makes me think that this might have been a very rare period of stability in the lives of two hard, desperate men.  The strongest attraction in this episode is between the two Time Agents, while at the same time Jack clearly loathes the ground John walks on.  But, while John is clearly a villain, how much of Jack's animosity is really directed not at John but at the man Jack used to be?  Jack may have made his peace with the Doctor, but he is clearly nowhere near ready to make his peace with his own past.

In a scene with Tosh, Chibnall makes it clear that this season is picking up the hinted-at parallels between Jack and Owen from last season.  Like Jack in his own past, Owen was off the rails in the first season.  In the episode, Owen makes it clear he's gotten tired of the game of one-night stands and is looking for someone more stable.  This is exactly the impression I got from Jack in The Empty Child, that he had become tired of the con games (otherwise he would not have dropped it so fast) and was looking for something else but didn't know who, what, where, or how to find it.  Interestingly, it's not the impression I got from Captain John -- at least not yet.

Gwen is shown as a competent leader, Ianto gets more lines and a chance to save everybody, and both Tosh and Owen show off their genius.  Jack has a scene with Gwen which makes it clear that he's still attracted to her -- but not as much as he is to Ianto, whom he tells "I came back for you" and in the episode's sweetest scene, very nervously asks out on a date.

All told, a wonderful start.  I can't wait to see what the rest of the series brings. 

Part 2:  Relationships
 
Part 3:  Themes

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
love_jackianto
Jan. 17th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
'Jack has a scene with Gwen which makes it clear that he's still attracted to her -- but not as much as he is to Ianto, whom he tells "I came back for you' and in the episode's sweetest scene, very nervously asks out on a date.' At first I didn't like that Jack/Gwen scene, it seemed like Ianto was Jack's second choice, but now I have to agree. I loved the subtext of the office scene (Ianto wants more then just a hidden office relationship). It was a very sweet/believable scene (bravo to JB and GDL).

'Jack may have made his peace with the Doctor, but he is clearly nowhere near ready to make his peace with his own past.' I hope we get to see that.

'I can't wait to see what the rest of the series brings.' That makes two of us :D I so glad the writers have finally figured out what kind of show they want Torchwood to be and what they want to do with the characters.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
They did a wonderful job on this episode.
talcat
Jan. 17th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
The Jack/Gwen bit made me feel sorry for Rhys, if Gwen really feels that way then she shouldn't have said yes but I understand why she did.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
Rhys is a grown man. He's made his bed the same as she has.
talcat
Jan. 19th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Rhys is a grown man. He's made his bed the same as she has

True I'm looking fdorward to his reaction to Gwen's job THAT should be fun!
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
It's going to be tons of fun!
haunter_uk
Jan. 18th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
More confident, sexier, funnier, and all and all more polished than the first season. The Jack/John scene near the start was a bit of a disappointment, but that's because I was exposed to too many one line comments about it and may have carried a 2 instead of a 1 somewhere along the lines.

Also - The 'Rest of season' trailer is wow.

Can't get onto the doctor who forum formally known as OG at the moment, so two quick questions:

i) Have you stopwatched the episode yet?
ii) What did Aaron make of it?
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
I won't stopwatch the episodes unless I see an obvious imbalance. I haven't seen one yet.

Aaron hasn't shown up yet, believe it or not. I figure he's storing back venom in his poison sacs for later.
haunter_uk
Jan. 19th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
But he promised he'd seen the error of his ways after what you'd said to him, and if his reactions to both sides of the standard 'if you don't agree with me you lack critical faculties' arguement (Namely PMount vs Those who try and substitute their opinion for objective fact) for Voyage of the Damned are any indication, he seems to be serious about it.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
Really? Maybe he just hasn't had time to watch it yet. Or, considering the nature of some of his complaints, maybe he's waiting until the pre-watershed version airs.
sunnyrea
Jan. 18th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)

I said a year ago that I wanted Jack to be gone long enough for the team to learn how to function properly without him. He did that. I said I wanted Ianto to more mature. Check. I said I wanted Tosh to be more assertive. Check. I said that I wanted the parallel between Owen and Jack to be made more explicit. Check. I wanted Jack's past to be genuinely dangerous. Check. I wanted the attraction Jack has for Gwen to be acknowledged but to be less than the attraction Jack has for Ianto. Check and mate.


I am with you hook line and sinker on that!
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Chibnal scored a home run on that ground!
darketernal09
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC)
same here! I am soooooooooooo glad that Ianto is being shown more and used more; he's not just the office boy, he's a fully capable, brillant member of Torchwood. Hoping that they continue to evolve/expand Ianto's character more
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
I think they've finally realized what a gem of an actor they have playing the part.
almosttomorocco
Jan. 18th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
A big "And HOW" to this whole thing! ;)
crabby_lioness
Jan. 18th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
wolfdreaming
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
I wonder if Rhys will find out that Gwen was sleeping with Owen behind his back... Loved this ep. As Davies said in some interview, it was all angst in the first series, hopefully this season will be a fun one.
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
No, they've said in interviews that Rhys doesn't find out about Owen.
wolfdreaming
Jan. 19th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
I suppose that makes sense. They seem to be more of a team this season, and so they wouldn't want to make each other uncomfortable by letting out such things. A big difference to how they were at the beginning of Countryside (?) with that whole juvenile 'who was the last person you kissed'malarky..
crabby_lioness
Jan. 19th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
I should hope Gwen has learned better than that by now.
glitterisblue
Jan. 22nd, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
I've read all your reaction posts to KKBB and I have to say that YOU ARE MADE OF WIN!

I am friending you so that I can see what else you have to say about S2 :)

I love finding other people's reactions to the episodes.
As much as I love my mum, I think there is only so much that she can take about me squeeing on about things LOL.

Rewatching KKBB for the 4th time tonight, I told my mum and at first she was all offended because she thought I was watching a new ep without her :)

Edited at 2008-01-22 11:33 am (UTC)
crabby_lioness
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Sometimes I feel like beating Hollywood over their collective head with the script and screaming, "This is how you make TV, morons!"
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )