Thursday, 11 July 2013

Review: Torchwood 2.13: Exit Wounds
Gray prepares to bury his brother over a petty jab spiralled
out of control.
Torchwood - Series Two, Episode Thirteen - Exit Wounds
Written 22/4/13

Watching Exit Wounds was quite a painful experience for me - not for the "omigosh this episode is so bad it's painful" kinda way but more of the "omigosh all mah feelz" kinda way. The episode represents the end of a lot of the things that I loved about the show - the death of Owen and Tosh, the final episode of a continuous 13 episode series and the final full episode to feature The Hub. While I think that the script handled a lot of this series' payoffs well, I have to wonder whether the execution of that script went as smoothly as it could have.
     The team return to the city, finding that Captain John has been causing havoc. A Hoix has appeared in a hospital, random doomsayers have appeared in an office building and there are rift spikes. As most of the team go to different locations, Jack arrives at the Hub to find John waiting, and holds him hostage as he sets off 15 explosive devices across the city. Taking him back in time via a rift spike, John explains that Jack's brother, Gray, was scarred by his experience and forced him to obey using a stitched-on explosive. Gray buries Jack in the ground in the Roman era, and then comes back, destabilising the local power plant and shooting Toshiko in the gut. Jack reawakens, having been saved and stored by Past!Torchwood, and knocks his brother out. But he's too late to save either Owen, who sacrifices himself to contain a nuclear meltdown, or Tosh, who dies in his arms.
     Gray, played by the elaborately named Lachlan Nieboer,  is a long-awaited character and the fact that he's the true villain is a decent enough twist, until the sheer extent of his supposed madness only seems to translate into a rather stilted performance. Gray is a whiny little idiot who killed my two favourite characters and I don't really think that they should have gone out in the way they did. Admittedly, I found both of their death scenes quite well done - Owen graciously accepting his slow radioactive decomposition while Tosh gracefully fell out of life before our eyes in a way which was intimate and heart-wrenching.
Four for you, Naoko Mori, for being an awesome actress
all the way to the final breaths.
     The episode's structure could have been a little more concentrated - this time last series we had a definite problem and then an even bigger one following it. This time it was more Joker-style chaos, Gray's retribution against his brother somehow including the endangerment of half a million people. The perils of the nuclear plant and Tosh's wound came up almost out of the blue, and I think that was done to make their deaths feel that much more tragic and painful. I guess it worked.
     Nowt much else to say about that, then. Exit Wounds was most certainly less gradiose than its predecessor, and instead focussed on our characters to deliver an experience which doesn't poke at our heartstrings but tears and rips at them violently like a wild animal. Owen and Tosh will be sorely missed as we leave our continuous series and, in a week's time, head on over to Children of Earth for even more pain. Fun times.


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