Altared States


A constant question this series has been “is the comedy of episode one a one-off or a new series direction?” i.e. “Where is the comedy?” After watching this episode, the question is now “can we not have comedy again, please?” Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang shows that Torchwood can do comedy, but lightly. Something Borrowed is not light comedy, it’s a run-around laugh fest (according to RTD that is. And this is the same Declassified that had to pad out its own episode with two minutes of next week’s episode. Says it all, really.). Don’t believe me? Allow to say “Banana Boat” and dismiss your objections (not to mention Gwen’s baby nearly being born in a stable, not that Torchwood is into religious connotations or anything). But this isn’t to say that there aren’t worthy moments. Such as… nothing’s coming to mind, to be honest. No, this episode isn’t bad, per se, just that the moments that aren’t cringingly-comedic are merely… Meh.

Where it isn’t comedy, it’s going for “relation-ship dynamics”, which is this episode is mainly the Jack-Gwen-Rhys love triangle. Everyone watching knows that Rhys should even bother turning up (and next week’s episode puts paid to any ideas of an extended romantic honeymoon away), but this does give everyone a pairing, and we’re just one tasteless moment away from necrophilia for the entire team to be getting it on. This could be considered as a resolution to many of the character arcs, aside from the Jack/Gwen one (which will never be) and the Jack/Grey character arc (which I am presuming will be resolved by the end of this series – or provide a cliff-hanger). Some might see this as tying up loose ends, perhaps even a tying up of the series, but this is a very loose knot. If this is indeed the case, we could live with it, but I’m sure the producers could easily break the knot should further character development ever come to mind.

In a desperate attempt to find something deeper, we could parse “Nostrovite” as “Our life”. This is a couple who are bringing a new child into the world, and going to extreme length to complete their responsibilities. To this end, they interrupt the rather crazy world of Torchwood, presenting Gwen and Rhys a taste of life to come as they mature and raise a family. Unfortunately, this is then undercut by the need to have a monster-du-semaine, and so we are suddenly flashing back to the Buffy episode Hell’s Bells and recalling a far better attempt at this concept than Torchwood will ever be capable of.

As the “wacky zany wedding episode”, I wish they hadn’t. As a thought-provoking character piece, I wish they’d tried. Let’s just acknowledge that it could have been so much worse and leave it at that.


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