Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review: Torchwood 2.3: To The Last Man

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Tosh and Tommy bridge the gap between times.
Torchwood - Series Two, Episode Three - To The Last Man
Written between 14th and 15th February

After writing the third episode of the first series about time-travel related ghosts, Helen Raynor brings us this third episode which focuses on a theme of time-travel related ghosts. I kid, I kid. To The Last Man brings a remarkable amount of depth along with that plotline, and manages to bring us a focus on Tosh that is both fun and more tragic than a box full of puppies sailing over a waterfall.
     In 1918, two Torchwood employees are told by an apparition of Tosh and a solider named Tommy Brockless that they need to take his past self and stick him in Torchwood's freezer. Fastforward to the present day, and it's Tommy's yearly wake-up, and the hospital where the apparition appeared has begun to see the appearance of ghosts from 1918. While Tommy and Toshiko go on a date, both faving feelings for the other, Jack reveals that it's time for Tommy to return to 1918 to save time, even if it means that Tosh must send him to his death.
     My favourite part of the episode was the central romance between Tosh and Tommy, which is treated in a way that only Torchwood can. She seeks solace in him because of his old-fashioned values and the fact that she doesn't have to put up a front in his presence, wheras he sees the pretty girl that wakes him up and looks after him every day. There's also some nice reinforcement of Tosh and Owen's relationship, as he seems genuinely concerned that she will get hurt when she has to send Tommy back.
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Amnesiac Tommy is confuzzled.
     The episode's concept itself was very well executed, making use of time travel in a way that Torchwood doesn't often get to. Tommy's perception of the majority of the 20th Century as the space of a few months allows for some interesting perspectives, especially when he laments the beginning of the Second World War "three weeks" after the First. The way that the time-travel element is used to push tragedy into the storyline can seem a little forced in places, but the overall effect is a great one and you do feel sorry for Tommy upon his return.
     To The Last Man, despite being deriviative of Helen Raynor's last script for the show, is an excellent one-off love story for Tosh that manages to combine an awesome set of sci-fi ideas with a tragedy that has a hell of a lot of punch. It's been rather odd to see how much of this series so far has relied a hell of a lot on shipping to make certain ideas hit home, but that's probably just me reading into things. Like usual.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK: We introduce Rhys to the alien world in Meat.
P.S. Be careful when image searching for "To The Last Man" with the SafeSearch off if you're of a squeamish disposition about certain acts of male intimacy...

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