Torchwood Review: “Dead of Night”

The story heads into horror, religion, tinfoil hats, and sex, as we learn some truth behind Oswald Danes, and little bit about a corporation connected, at least, to the Miracle.

Title: “Dead of Night”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by Jane Espenson

John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness
Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper
Mekhi Phifer as Rex Matheson
Alexa Havins as Esther Drummond
Bill Pullman as Oswald Danes
Lauren Ambrose as Jilly Kitzinger
Arlene Tur as Dr. Vera Juarez
Kai Owen as Rhys Williams
Tom Price as Andy Davidson
Randa Walker as Candace Perlmutter

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Oswald learns that not everyone has forgiven him, and we learn some truths about Oswald. Key Torchwood members go off on their own—at exactly the moment they uncover a key element of a conspiracy involving (and perhaps behind) Miracle Day, and most need to rely on each other.

High Points

We’re finally getting into the religious and occult views that would inevitably grow around Miracle Day, though they are less prominent than I think would be the case if this actually happened. We have religion entering the medical debate and the rantings of a television preacher. More significantly, we have the cult of the Soulless, and the growing worship of a rather soulless Oswald Danes. The story verges in the direction of horror, but in a way that looks interesting, rather than cheap.

The Soulless challenge the Empty Children for low-budget creepiness.

Low Point

The team find themselves in some desperate situations, but their motivations could use some clarification. I buy Jack’s one-night stand—but I’d like to know more about why he would give his real name to Oswald Dane as part of their clandestine meeting and, after so many years of experience, walk into a trap without any back-up. He knows many people are looking for him. Has mortality, paradoxically, made him more reckless? (We don’t see that when he insists on a condom).

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 We’re into conspiracy thriller territory, but it’s a fairly original take on the Evil Corporation. We can only assume that something bigger than pharmaceutical profits drives the larger story, especially as they’ve thrown us PhiCorp so soon in the season.

Effects: 5/6

Story: 4/6 It grows increasingly difficult to assess story, because we’re into the season-long plot now, and the individual episodes will only be telling us a small portion of the tale. Despite a significant (if somewhat predictable) revelation, this week’s story moved at a bit of a slow pace.

Acting: 5/6. Bill Pullman invests Oswald Dane with a creepy credibility. The Torchwooders get to handle some new situations for this season, and we see more of their vulnerable and personal sides.

Emotional Response: 5/6 We have more sex and violence this week. Both easily become filler. It’s good that the show can go where it needs to; whether it needs to remains an open question. I didn’t object to either sex scene, but I wouldn’t want this show to turn into an SF Tudors.

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Dead of Night” receives 33/42

9 replies on “Torchwood Review: “Dead of Night””

  1. Kiersten says:

    LOVE Oswald!
    Other than that, I’m being sorely disappointed.
    Yes, I know Gwen’s family is important but to have left Jack hanging at his moment of weakness? Seriously. No

    What happened to our British characters? No one is real. No one feels right. I gave it three episodes, but it just isn’t feeling like Torchwood yet.

    Anyone else?

    Evil Corporation. How mundane.
    I just want to cry. Where are my aliens?!??!

    • PuppetSocko says:

      In keeping with my name, I’m going to go with the review’s comment:
      they’ve give up the Evil Corporation too early. Something bigger’s coming and given the talk of Sheldrake and morphic fields, I’m sure we’re gonna see some aliens before the series is up.

      • Kiersten says:

        Oooh, I hope you are right!!! :)
        That’d make me happier!!

        • Fozzy_Bear says:

          “”Oooh, I hope you are right!!! :)
          That’d make me happier!!””

          Don’t worry. The aliens/time travelers/sorcerers are out there somewhere… Think if it this way; if this WAS the work of a group of greedy humans from the year 2011, how did they pull that off?

          Heck, at the VERY least, there’s a Warehouse 13 artifact in somebody’s hands.

          But that said, I’m right there with you Kiersten; this is all not quite Torchwood enough for me yet.

          And… What is up with that new theme music. It drags, and meanders, and has just enough of a hint of the old staccato rhythm to make me really miss the old music. – but now I’m just ranting…. At least White Collar listened and threw out their (even worse) new music.

  2. Kiersten says:

    heh, I have a friend who summed it up nicely.

    “I’ve got to hand it to them, though. Anyone who can make Captain Jack Harkness boring really has skill, and not the good kind.”

  3. Jethro says:

    That was some explicit gay sex. I know it’s Starz, but are they going to air this in BBCA? Just curious (:

    Jack… technically didn’t tell Oswald his name. Oswald deduced it (albeit very easily). But Jack couldn’t have really gone “Tell me all the names they mentioned!” right?

    I dunno about Oswald being soulless anymore. As Jack said, Oswald gave the Evil Speech (tanget: when did Bill Pulman learn to act??) because he’s hoping someone will kill him. He sees death as his only means of redemption… and he can’t die.

    • Dark Nexus says:

      I’d have to download te Starz version to be sure it was unedited, but the version that aired on Space in Canada was more explicit than I’m used to seeing in the 9pm time slot on most channels.

  4. Dark Nexus says:

    I get the feeling the religious views are going to grow a bit in future episodes. The “Dead is Dead” thing in the teaser certainly felt like it. Kind of like how the first reader comment from last week’s episode review ended up being addressed in this week’s episode.

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