Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review: Torchwood 2.10: From Out Of The Rain
Okay, I think you might be trying a little too hard to be creepy.
Torchwood - Series Two, Episode Ten - From Out Of The Rain
Written between 1st and 2nd April 2013

Fucking circuses, man. Clowns, harlequins, circus freaks. There is nothing funny about the Circus, and the history of freak shows and mistreatment of all sorts of peoples and animals doesn't exactly help their reputation. Only a week after the fun domestic runaround, we're given this creepy masterpiece, which manages the Moffattian feat of making you afraid of old glycerine film reels.
     Gwen, Ianto and Owen go down to the Electro, an old cinema that's been reopened for a couple of nights to show some old films. In a film that appears out of nowhere, there are images of the Circus, and Jack is a member - the man who cannot die. It turns out that the Ringmaster has escaped from the film, and is planning to use the souls of the living dead that he creates to bring others out of the film as well, to live on forever. Heading down to the Electro, Jack gets a modern film camera and films them all, exposing the film to kill them once and for all. The bottle containing the breaths of the people taken is nearly emptied, and the only person to survive is a little boy with a weird face (who'd later play Jackson Lake's son.)
     The two villains, the creepy Ghostmaker (Future Davros actor Julian Bleach) and the creepier Pearl (Camilla Power), have a wodnerful mixture of cheese and genuine disquiet, which only seems to amplify the effect. Their motivation is only to continue existing and performing, and like in a similar story from their parent show, the lengths they go to to do this are what make it work. That, and Julian Bleach's astoundingly weird voice, which is, I wager, why he was hired to be Davros in the first place.
     The episode's atmosphere is arguably what makes it so memorable, though - not just the framing of most of the shots with a very dark emphasis in mind, but also in the haunting organ music that evokes both the vaudeville and the distinctly alien. Peter J Hammond's previous story, Small Worlds, is also heavy on this kind of atmsophere - except here it's a little more focussed.
     From Out Of The Rain is good. It maybe pushes the celluloid creatures idea a little into the realm of disbelief, but the sheer effective weirdness of the villains and the way that the episode's music and direction compliments them means that it becomes something of a petty concern. This is the sorta Torchwood story that gives little kids nightmares, and that's awesome.


NEXT WEEK: Chibnall shows that he can actually write, just not for Doctor Who. It's his best story, the haunting Adrift.

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