The Cinema of Unease


This was a great episode where Sapphire and Steel investigated children coming out of photographs… hang on… I mean, this is a terrible episode where Ianto and Jack investigate circus folk coming out of film (although I won’t say who was Sapphire and who was Steel). Yeah, what the hey? Is there anyone in control over at Torchwood productions? Were they so dazzled by the fact that “this is PJ Hammond!” that none of them went “hang on, didn’t we see this already?” [Certainly, PJH baldly states in the Declassified that he wanted to rewrite the S&S episode.]

Last time PJH wrote for Torchwood, it was a Jack-centric episode that revealed a past acquaintance. Now we have this new episode, centred largely around Jack, and reveals a past life as a circus freak (Something Borrowed already revealed a past acquaintance). Although I will admit that Ianto fills a significant role in this story too, so we do have a pair of leads (as for the rest of the team… what did they do again?). The split is the more emotive Ianto versus the more stoic and forceful Jack (no, I won’t say who is Sapphire and who is Steel), but it’s a good dynamic that’s developed that doesn’t revolve around either sex or tea (we can but hope they haven’t combined the two). In many ways, it’s like PJH is writing Jack not Torchwood. Perhaps someone should pass him a copy of the series bible.

Anyway… circuses! What is it about circuses that people think they are such a source of horror? I never did, don’t have clown fear, but will admit that Circus on Ice is pretty scary. That said, these carnies aren’t the usual sort. Not many people will let you stick their fingers down your throat, or give out tickets to your kid, so they are abnormal plus (water girl should have just sent everyone running!). But that isn’t what’s really scary about this episode. Consider that this is episode ten. Episode ten! And this is what we’ve got? Torchwood series two showed such promise, and yet we have crazy weddings, frightening carnie stereotypes and it looks like next week the padding continues! Perhaps we can defeat this if we expose the film to bright lights? Although I’m not sure it works for avi files or DVDs (that said, I’ve no idea why it should work for circus performers who escaped from film either).

If you’ve got nothing better to do that watch this, fine, but otherwise I recommend the original.


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