Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Torchwood 'Small Worlds' - Rating B

Welcome one, welcome all to the very exciting fifth episode of Torchwood: a show dedicated to a top-secret organisation of people in very long black coats who don’t have much of a confidentiality agreement since they constantly announce their presence to everyone they meet. They even have Torchwood-branded pyjamas.

Tonight’s episode is about fairies. You all know the joke I could make about that; far too easy a shot so I will let it be.

Night, trees, an old woman’s voiceover tells us that she is returning to the ‘same spot’, moving carefully because she doesn’t want to frighten ‘them’. Our disembodied voice is revealed as an elderly woman with short white hair moving through the blue-lit forest. Piano trips across the score, oddly incongruous to the stereotypical horror movie feel of the lighting and the set. Something fantastic is about to happen, it says, introducing a fairy-tale feel to our faux sci-fi show.

Aforementioned white-haired woman peeks round the side of a crop of bushes and whispers into a tape recorder that ‘they’ are here. We see that she’s looking at a small set of standing stones in a clearing, with fairy-like creatures fluttering above them.
“My little darlings” says older English woman with excitement and wonder. She reminds me of Ruth Cracknell for some reason. In lieu of a name, Ruth she shall be. Ruth pulls out an older-style film camera and begins taking photos of the creatures, the flash firing out into the night. As she turns and walks away, the soundtrack of foreboding begins and we see our fairies morph into more demonic-like beings.

Flick, flick, flick of the words Torchwood and then we’re straight into the Hub. It’s night and Jack is asleep (I thought he didn’t sleep) dreaming about dead soldiers with rose petals coming out of their mouths. He gets up, walks over to this desk and takes a deep breath. As he looks down, a single petal is lying on top of his papers. He touches it gently and picks it up, obviously wondering where it came from.

He hears noises behind him and swings around as Ianto walks into the room. Jack tells Ianto he shouldn’t be there and Ianto notes that Jack’s not supposed to be there either. Ianto tells Jack that they’re monitoring strange weather patterns. Is Ianto doing analysis work now? Jack looks disturbed by this news, well just generally blank-faced actually. For all we know, he’s wondering what to have for breakfast or pondering how best to get Ianto into bed. But I think disturbed is what he was going for. Oh, and Ianto fans, enjoy it ‘cause this is all you’re gonna get for this evening.

Next day, we’re at a school and a young girl is obviously waiting in vain for her ride. Across the road, a man sits in a silver car. As he stares at the child, the soundtrack tells us he’s a paedophile scoping out his next victim. In the suburbs, a woman and a man are arguing about the time. We know it’s endangered little girl’s parents. Mum is annoyed ‘cause Dad hasn’t left to pick her up yet and Dad is a real tosser about it so we know he’s a disinterested stepdad ‘cause biological fathers are always much more caring. Disinterested stepdad disinterestedly tells Mum that little girl will be alright as he drives off.

We of course know that’s not necessarily the case as we cut back to little girl being tormented by larger children as she waits. A teacher asks the girl, whose name is Jasmine, who’s supposed to be picking her up and Jasmine says ‘Roy’, confirming the stepdad hypothesis.

Teacher looks at her watch and we cut to pervert biding his time before teacher gets distracted by some other children’s bad behaviour. Strange discontinuity as we see the silver car drive towards Jasmine then suddenly cut to Jasmine coming down a set of stairs leading into a park. She’s obviously decided to walk home and we see silver car following her. She walks through a tunnel that looks too much like the one used in ‘Ghost Machine’. They shouldn’t be recycling their location shooting so early in the show.

Paedophile man tries to convince her to get in the car with the whole ‘your Mum asked me to pick you up’ thing. I don’t think any kid falls for that. Jasmine doesn’t either. She tries to get around him but he grabs her arm and she tries to fight back.

Suddenly, a wind blows up and something pushes pervert against the car. A voice on the wind tells the ‘human child’ to run away and we see the scene through a greenish ‘fairy cam’. Pervert seeks refuge inside his car as Jasmine gives a satisfied smirk and skips away. This actress is actually quite good at being withdrawn and a little creepy.

Somewhere in Cardiff, Jack is taking Gwen to see an old friend. As they walk down the street and into a building we see them through fairy cam so we know they’re being watched from the trees. ‘Fairies: fact or fantasy’ says a poster on a wall and Gwen is bemused.

Inside, Ruth from the opening scene is giving a lecture about fairies to an almost empty set of chairs. On a screen beside her, the famous photograph of the Cottingley Fairies is displayed. Ruth is talking about being one of the fortunate few to see fairies. She looks pleased when Jack and Gwen walk in but continues with her lecture. She says that looking for fairies is not an easy task and that one must have the ‘patience of a saint and the blind faith of a prophet’. I like that, what a great quote. What she doesn’t say is that it’s that kind of blind faith that gets people killed.

As Gwen and Jack sit on the folding chairs, looking remarkably like they’re on a date at the cinema, Ruth shows her audience the photos she took the evening before. They’re blurry and the fairies look like nothing more than white blobs of light. Gwen is unimpressed but Jack shooshes her and listens intently. Gwen has an expression that says ‘humour the nutter’ but Jack is gazing at Ruth fondly.

Ruth says she was very blessed to witness such a ‘magical moment’.
“Fairies are shy, you see,” says Ruth, “but I know in my heart they’re friendly, loving creatures.” Jack shakes his head, both adoring and reproaching her naiveté. The talk is over, Ruth says thanks and the three people in attendance clap, Gwen included.
“Wrong,” says Jack, “she always gets it wrong.”

After the meeting, Jack asks Ruth when she took the pictures and she said it was a couple of nights ago in Roundstone Woods. Ok, not last night then: Torchwood timeline moment. Her real name btw is apparently Estelle and that’s such a good old English name I’ve got to use it. Estelle tells Jack it’s good to see him again and she obviously means it. Gwen looks interested and slightly threatened at how intimate they are. Estelle sighs and at Gwen’s questioning she admits that she and Jack have always disagreed about fairies. She says she’s only seen the good ones but that Jack thinks some of them are bad.

“They’re all bad,” says Jack, definitively and Estelle refuses to believe him. Gwen notes that somebody else’s good might be somebody else’s evil, thereby providing tonight’s moral with far more subtlety than that usually employed by the Torchwood writing team. Estelle looks nostalgic as she tells Gwen that that was what Jack’s father always said. Gwen looks slightly taken aback at this revelation and Jack clearly wants to change the subject.

“Oh Jack, if only you’d had seen them there in the wood. They were happy, they were dancing, the fairy lights were shining.” Jack disagrees so he deflects her enthusiasm, asking to see her other photos. She says they’re at home and despite their disagreement they smile in a way that only includes each other. Gwen is seriously put out. Jesus Gwen, get over yourself.

Streets of Cardiff: soon-to-be-fairy-dust paedophile man is walking along, wiping his bloodied nose and looking freaked out. He’s being followed by the invisible creatures and keeps bumping into people and being scared by passing cars.

He wanders into Cardiff Market, becoming increasingly agitated and trying to work out how he can get help from the unseen danger fluttering above him. From fairy cam, we see something descend upon him and he suddenly starts choking on rose petals, somewhat reminiscent of the Witches of Eastwick. This is not a good scene for someone with my weak stomach.

Exiting Cardiff Market, he sees a policewoman and begs her to arrest him. There’s blood and spit and fear in his eyes and it’s all cut short by a terribly-timed ad break. No wonder fans are furious that the ABC didn’t buy this so it could be aired ad-free, although frankly I respect the ABC's sense of taste in this matter. And it could be worse: it could have been purchased by Channel 7, in which case it would on at midnight and fans would get one week on, two weeks off.

Finally back to the show, and creepy Jasmine is home. Roy says he found her walking alone on her own, totally omitting his fault in not picking her up on time, and Jasmine’s Mum gives her a lecture on danger and weirdos and Jasmine says that ‘no one can hurt her’.

At Estelle’s, Jack examines her folder full of photographs while Gwen greets the cat, Moses. Estelle puts Moses out and as she leaves the room, Gwen spots a faded photo of Jack in uniform on the mantle. She picks it up and warily takes it over to Jack. Jack says it’s actually a photo of his father and that he and Estelle were an item during the war. He says that his father was posted abroad and Estelle volunteered to work on the land.

I have absolutely no idea how this romance fits into Jack’s personal history as we know it. Wasn’t he posing as an American volunteer during the war for only a month or two? We also know he left in a real hurry to travel with the Doctor. When did they have time to part? And finally, this would make Estelle at least 80 and she only looks about 65.

Gwen looks at the photo for a while and she already suspects what we know; that it was Jack involved with Estelle in the 1940s. Gwen wanders outside to Estelle and asks her about Jack and his father. Gwen’s doing the one thing she’s actually good at; asking people personal questions in a way that means they don’t mind answering.

Estelle says she and Jack’s father lost touch after the war and that Jack contacted her just a few years before. She says she’s never seen the two of them together and that Jack looks and acts exactly like his father. Estelle says she hopes Jack’s father is still alive and I find it slightly odd that she would never have asked Jack this. Wouldn’t that be the first thing you’d say? Oh, at Gwen’s prompting, Estelle says she has asked Jack about his Dad but that Jack doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. Ok then.

At this point, Jack walks out and asks Estelle to contact him the next time she sees the creatures, night or day. He asks her to be careful and she naively says she has nothing to worry about. He gives a kiss and a hug and Gwen looks as though she really likes this side of Jack.

As they leave, Jack tells Gwen that Estelle should be in the countryside, not living in town. Gwen asks how often they see each other and Jack says it’s every now and then. Gwen asks about fairies and Jack gives a very wordy non-answer.

He says that so-called ‘fairies’ do not really have a proper name. They are creatures from the dawn of time, not alien, but part of our world and as such far more dangerous because we know nothing about them. Mankind has ascribed positive attributes to them (since when?), but they are dangerous; part myth, part spirit, part real all jumbled together, unbound by linear time. He talks about “that something out of the corner of your eye” and “old moments and memories that are frozen like debris spinning around a ringed planet, tossing, turning and whirling backwards and forward through time”. No, it doesn’t make sense and that is the most annoying part of this episode. It would have been better if he just said he didn’t know but that they’re dangerous and Estelle should just leave them alone. Also, the camera in this scene is tossing, turning and whirling as well and I nearly lose my dinner for the second time this episode.

Jack says they have to find them ‘before all hells breaks loose’, even though nothing in the rest of this episode supports this fear. And if they really are unbound by linear time it means they've been there and everywhere and everywhen, all at the same time, which is to say, right now. If they could cause all this destruction, wouldn’t they already have done so?

In her back garden, Jasmine is tripping lightly down towards a break in the fence that opens on to her own little patch of wilderness. We had something similar behind our back fence when we were little. We used to call it ‘Dinosaur Country’ and man we had fun playing there.

In the house, bad stepdad is bitching to Jasmine’s Mum about Jasmine always playing in the park when she could be at home watching TV and being exposed to his little daily criticisms of her. He says there’s something wrong with her and Mum tries to defend her daughter but starts to think that maybe he’s right.

In her private park (is this supposed to be the Roundstone Woods?), Jasmine is still skipping so we know she’s slightly evil. Only evil kids skip and have pigtails. The fairies whisper on the wind for her to ‘come away’. She laughs, playing with friends that we can’t see.

Back at the Hub, the gang is discussing fairies and Gwen is showing them the Cottingley pictures. Ianto is serving tea. Gwen says the photographs were fake and Owen points out the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in them. Gwen says she studied the photos when she was at school and that when the girls were old ladies they admitted they were fakes. Actually, I think the youngest one, who was only 10 at the time, said she believed they were real. Although at that age, she could have convinced herself of that, just like I have vivid and very genuine memories of being 6 and flying.

Jack tells the team that Estelle’s photos were taken in Roundstone Woods and Owen says he’s heard of them. He says they’ve remained undeveloped and that in ancient times it was considered back luck to even walk in there. He says even the Romans stayed clear of it. Toshiko says she hasn’t had any reports of sightings and Jack says they ‘stay under the radar’, quite literally, but that they play tricks with the weather. He asks Tosh to set up a program to look for anomalous weather patterns.

Gwen says “are you saying that our machines can’t pick them up?” and Jack shakes his head, probably thinking that he totally just said that already. For some reason there’s water running down the side of the briefing room. I guess raining inside the Hub is one of these anomalous weather patterns they’re talking about. Either that or the internal walls are a gigantic water feature.

In a police station, Paedophile is brought in by the officer that arrested him. He’s begging to be put ‘somewhere safe’ and says that something’s trying to kill him. I guess they think he’s on drugs or something because the officer says she checked his mouth and there weren’t any flowers. Paedophile admits he’s done wrong and wonders if it’s God that’s after him.
“Just lock me up,” he begs, “please”.

In the Roundstone Woods, Jack and Gwen are walking down a nice little garden path, out for an English country walk. Gwen is grilling Jack on why Estelle has never seen him and his father together. His explanation makes no sense. God I’m tired of Jack’s mysterioso act. I mean seriously, Jack; I understand why you keep it from the others but Gwen already knows you can’t die. There’s no reason to keep this to yourself.

As they head down the path, fairy cam shows they’re still being watched. The gang comes upon the stones from the photographs and Gwen says that anyone could have made the circle. Well yes, Gwen, but I don’t think that’s the point really. Jack makes an equally inane comment about how Gwen keeps looking for explanations. If you’re not after explanations dear then why are you there? Go home, have some tea and investigate an alien threat instead.

Jack and Gwen have some more painful banter about it not being police work or science but the ‘out of the corner of your eye’ stuff. Blah blah blah, whatever. This whole ‘not science’ thing apparently doesn’t extend to Owen because he’s taking soil samples.

Cardiff by night and Paedophile is lying in his cell. A breeze wafts in and he opens his eyes and looks up at the ceiling. Shadows flicker across the wall and he screams at something on the roof of his cell, a giant being with wings that leaps down upon him. He screams and with some annoyance the police come to investigate. We know he’s already dead.

In Jasmine’s house, Jasmine’s Mum is cleaning up at the end of the day when she hears her daughter talking in her room. Concerned, she makes her way up the stairs and lets herself into the room to check who her daughter is talking to. There’s no one and Jasmine’s Mum says it was good to hear her laugh again. Poor creepy-Jasmine’s Mum. Why the hell did she ever marry a tosser like Roy?

In the cells, freaked-out copper is briefing Jack and Gwen as he escorts them to Dead Paedophile. He says that when they brought him in Dead Paedophile was shouting that shadows were following him and trying to choke him. He says they thought he was drunk or a nutcase.

Jack is wearing his Torchwood-issue phone attachment. Way to go under the radar, Mr Secrecy.

Inside the cell, Tosh tells us that Dead Paedophile’s name is Mark Goodson and examines the body. She determines he died from asphyxiation but that there’s no evidence of another person’s involvement. Gwen ponders how he could have suffocated alone in a locked cell. She examines inside his mouth and pulls rose petals from his throat. Close up of Jack shows us he finds this too familiar.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” says Tosh and Jack says, “I have.”

At her house, Estelle is being all oddly mystical, burning candles and beseeching some sort of white crystal to let her find the beings again. A huge roar greets her words and she finally starts to look worried. She looks out the window and hears fluttering and laughing. The window breaks inward and she gives out a yell.

Back at the Hub, the team is watching the CCTV footage of Goodson being attacked by nothing and Jack fills them in on what we already know: that Goodson was a paedophile who used to hang around schools. He says the petals in the mouth are the creature’s idea of fun, that they play games, torment and kill.
“Why,” asks Gwen.
“As a punishment or a warning to others,” explains Jack. “or to protect their own, the Chosen Ones. Somehow children and the spirit world go together.”

Fairies and only children can see them? Oh dear, now we’re in an episode of Charmed. Did the Torchwood writers mine every post-Buffy supernatural show for ideas? At least that explains the candle and the crystal scene from before. Next thing you know they’ll be calling daggers ‘athames’ and producing bad rhyming spells.

Tosh asks how we stop them and Jack says they need to know what child they’re after. He then explains why nothing in this episode makes any sense by pointing out that they can’t trap them and the creatures have control of the elements. So what are you going to do? Watch them kill people and hope they go away?

Jack says the fairies can control fire, water and the air they breathe and that sometimes he thinks they’re part Mara. He explains that Mara are a kind of malignant wraith and that it’s where the word nightmare came from. Um, Jack, no it ain’t. I wonder though if he’s talking about the Doctor Who Mara or something else. Hopefully his mention of them is going somewhere so maybe we’ll find out.

The phone rings and it’s a terrified Estelle asking for Jack’s help.
“You were right, Jack,” she says, “there are bad ones, they’ve come to me.”
Jack tells her to stay in the house and not go anywhere near them. Of course, she instantly disobeys him by going outside to looks for Moses after hearing him scream. She finds herself locked out of her house when rain starts pouring. For some reason, this pushes her terror over the edge and causes her to fall down on to the ground and scream. Wow, must have been one hell of a storm. I shouldn’t mock too much because this is the second scene in this episode, and thus in the entire series so far, that has actually been quite scary.

Torchwood is racing to Estelle’s house in the VOC all the while tracking the mysterious storm. By the time they get to her house, she’s drowned, although the area around her is dry. Jack takes her dead body into his arms and holds her. Seeing his grief, Gwen puts words to what she has suspected from the beginning; that it was Jack that was in love with her during the war. “We once made a vow that we’d be with each other till we died,” he said, realising there was only one way that vow would ever come true.

Jack’s crying and is suddenly more sympathetic than we’ve seen him before. He kisses her cold forehead and lays her down upon the ground. He says he needs a drink.

Back at the Hub, Jack is flicking through old photos and Gwen asks him how he and Estelle met. He says he met her in London at a ball just before Christmas and loved her at first sight. Apparently, she was 17. Jack says that nothing lasted back then and promises were always being broken.

Gwen asks him about the petals and he tells her he saw them in Lahore in 1909. He says he was on a troop train and in charge of 15 men. Oh God, a flashback. Guys, you do know that as a show Angel wasn’t that good, don’t you? Spare us the flashbacks, particularly flashbacks in sepia. I’m assuming that Jack doesn’t remember his personal history as old war footage. Oh, and yeah, this doesn’t fit into his personal timeline either.

Anyway, sepia flashback, the troops are on a train, they go through a tunnel and when they come out everyone else is dead with flower petals in their mouths. A week before some of the men had drunkenly killed a child in a village who was a Chosen One. Well, if we assume that the reason Jack wasn’t killed was because he can’t die, then that places this scene after his resurrection by Rose’s so maybe his personal timeline is intact.

Cross to creepy girl’s house where things are creepy. Poor Mama creepy. Gwen and Rhys return home (from dinner maybe) and Rhys is performing this week’s rendition of pointless chatter that’s supposed to remind us how divorced he is from Gwen’s oh so serious work. As they walk in, they find the flat ransacked; the furniture on its side and small stones arranged in a circle with flower petals.

Another cross to creepy girl’s house where it’s the next morning. Mama Creepy is chattering about a party they’re having but Jasmine is too interested in her fairy friends to care. Mama Creepy tells Roy that he’s right and she’s spending too much time in the woods. Roy says, rather ominously, that ‘he’ll fix it’. Roy is so very dead.

At the car, Roy tries to bond with his stepdaughter by being mean to her but Jasmine is just smiling smugly at him while fairy cam watches. Jasmine waves at the trees and Roy asks about it. God, this guy’s like an 8-year-old that deals with rejection by bullying people. He tells her that she doesn’t have any friends and that her Dad probably left because he could see how she was going to turn out.

At school, some girls are bullying Jasmine but Jasmine’s too withdrawn now to care. Jack is at Gwen’s place and Gwen is freaking out as usual and doing loads of cleaning. She says in the whole of her working life she has never had to feel threatened in her own home. She says the creatures can invade her home at will and that she’s scared.
“What chance do I have, Jack,” she asks, “what chance do any of us have?”
Good question, Gwen, because the answer is ‘none at all’ so I have no idea why Jack is still pursuing this. A better plot would have been that Gwen finds out fairies are real, she’s determined to stop them, Jack tries to warn her that there’s nothing they can do and in the end all her efforts are in vain. That would have made way more sense.

Gwen asks Jack about the Chosen Ones. Jack says that all the fairies were children from different moments in time going back millennia. He said they’re ‘part of the lost lands’ and Gwen is just about as confused as I am right now. He says they’re here to find the Chosen One. Well, if he knew that from the beginning why the **** didn’t he just say that before and why has he been going on about ‘hell on earth’? Urgh!

Back in the schoolyard, Creepy Jasmine is communing with her fairy friends. The kids are all running and playing, but Jasmine is staring off into the distance. The two bullies from before come over and start bullying her again and I guess Jasmine and her furry friends have had enough. Lots of fairy cam and a fierce wind starts to blow the leaves on the trees.

In the Hub, Jack and Gwen walk in and Tosh tells them about a sudden strange weather event. Back at the schoolyard, the two girls are screaming in the sudden gale and Jasmine is laughing, rather maniacally. For some reason, the fairies are singing ‘The Lord of the Dance’, which is like a hymn. Huh? Never fear, the Torchwood team is on its way to hopefully run around being as ineffectual as usual.

Back at Jasmine’s house, disinterested stepdad is fixing the fence in the backyard, obviously gleeful at depriving his stepdaughter of her one source of pleasure. Fairies are watching and they are not happy Jan.

Schoolyard: the VOC surreptitiously speeds down the High Street, screeches into the driveway and the team leap out and start the cool walk of coolness. Jack is still wearing his earpiece and they have Torchwood written on the side of the VOC. Yes, people. This top secret organisation has the name of their top secret organisation written on the side of their car. I bet you they even have a website with an ‘About Us’ link and full-colour ads in the local paper.

As they arrive, we see the children leaving and a teacher cleaning up the mess from the freak storm. Gwen plays some hopscotch with fairy cam in the playground before running away.

Inside the school, Jasmine’s teacher Kate is briefing the team. I hope she gets a Torchwood mug for being so helpful. Kate says she’s never seen anything like it; that the storm was so sudden but then it just ended. She says no children were hurt in the storm but that two girls were scared to death.

Gwen comes in and breathlessly tells Jacks that she “saw them”, but Kate doesn’t notice. She’s still in shock and tells them that Jasmine had just stood there in a ray of sunlight untouched.
“The sun was shining down on her,” says Kate. “It was like an aura, like it was protecting her.” “Who’s Jasmine,” demands Jack and Kate says she’s a pupil.
“Where’s Jasmine,” demands Jack and Kate says they sent all the pupils home.
Gwen says Jasmine’s the Chosen One and Jack says, “Yeah” instead of “no shit, Sherlock”, which shows some restraint.

At the party, disinterested stepdad is outside schmoozing while the women are in the kitchen cooking. Creepy is stacking party cakes, while poor Mama Creepy is asking her questions about the incident at school and her ‘friends’ that she waved to that morning. Creepy says her friends were in the trees and Mama Creepy asks if she’s playing a game.

Back outside, Roy is hooking into a beer and being the expansive host.

Inside again, those cakes are still being stacked and Mama Creepy is oscillating between humouring her daughter about her imaginary friends and being very very worried. She says Creepy should have invited her friends to the party and Creepy says her friends don’t have parties.

Then her mother absolutely kills me by her delivery of the line “I’m not surprised, if they live in trees”. It’s a joke and a good one but her tone says she’s trying to pretend they’re having a laugh about imaginary friends when she’s actually really starting to worry about her daughter. She’s made doubly concerned by the fact that her daughter takes her literally, asserting that “they don’t always live in trees, they can be anywhere and everywhere, they can even be in this room”.

A little freaked and not entirely sure her daughter’s ‘friends’ are imaginary, Mama Creepy asks where Creepy met them. Creepy says she doesn’t remember but that they told her they’d always protect her.

Outside, Roy is busy proving he thinks his life would be so much better if it wasn’t for the pest of a stepdaughter and Jasmine is left to roam free. She suddenly notices the fence has been fixed and there’s no way into the woods. The look on Roy’s face is evil glee in anticipation of how upset she’s going to be. You know, they put an awful lot of work in this episode to make sure we know the fairies only kill off evil people and only those who are mean to a Chosen One. They’re childish, capricious and vindictive, but hardly out for large-scale slaughter. Why put all this effort into a point like that and then not acknowledge it? This should have been Jack’s role.

Roy comes down to the fence to really rub it in but as he grabs her she struggles and bites him. He hits her and calls her a bitch, thereby sealing his fate. Thunder rumbles ominously and the party-goers note that bad weather is on its way. The van of surreptitiousness once again screeches down the suburban road. Will they be in time to do absolutely nothing? Oh, the tension is too great.

As Mama Creepy worries about Kinder Creepy, Roy is saying lot of nice stuff about his wife and is announcing their plans to have another baby. The wind whips up and as the party guests look up in horror at the trees, the fairies alight on the branches in their evil guise. We see them menacing the guests through fairy cam, but they’re really after Roy.

Jasmine’s just chilling and enjoying the commotion. Oh dear, a close up of a fairy and it appears the special affects guy has seen Lord of the Rings too many times. Maybe it’s not Charmed maybe it’s Lord of the Rings and Jasmine is “the precious”.

Torchwood are finally here and they deliver the very helpful message that the guests should run. Which the guests were already doing.

As the team watch in horror, a fairy leaps on Roy, knocks him to the ground and shoves its arm down his throat. Mama Creepy is screaming but Jasmine is laughing. ‘Chosen One’ is apparently a euphemism for ‘sadistic little monster’. Have you ever noticed how they never portray little boys as being evil? Just a point to raise at your next ‘Feminism in Popular Culture’ lecture.

Now to our standard ‘Jack can’t die but Gwen will freak out and try to save him anyway’ moment of the episode as a fairy attacks Jack and Gwen yells “Noooo” and pushes him away. Gwen honey, as I said last episode and the episode before and the episode before: Jack can’t die, a fact that you’re well aware of so you don’t need to try to save him. ‘Kay? ‘Kay.

As the fairies fly away from Roy’s dead body, Jasmine gives a serious and determined look and heads towards the now-broken fence. Tosh is holding Mama Creepy who’s looking shattered from the experience but they all break away to descend on dead dad. As Owen checks Roy’s vitals by holding his hand (!), Jack and Gwen run off toward the Wood after Jasmine.

Mama Creepy breaks down and a close up of her husband shows the petals down his throat.

In the woods, Jack and Gwen try to persuade Jasmine to stay. Jasmine says she can see a great magical forest around them and Jack tries to tell her that it’s an illusion, that the fairies are just playing a game with her. Talk about a lying liar who lies. He already knows these beings can travel through time. Of course the forest is real. Gwen asks about Jasmine’s mother and the fairies have just about had enough of all the chit chat.

For some reason, Jack grabs Jasmine and yells “the child isn’t sure,” even as Jasmine insists that she is. Jack tells the fairies to leave Jasmine be and find another child. I don’t know why. This child, another child, it’s all the same. What’s the difference? That hardly counts as stopping them. Anyway, the fairies say that Jasmine belongs to them and that she lives forever.

In the backyard of barbeque and death, Jasmine’s Mum is trying to find her daughter. She runs to the fence but Tosh and Owen restrain her. This poor woman will be institutionalised after this.

Jack asks the fairies what will happen if they force Jasmine to stay with them. Um, nothing, because you can’t do anything to stop them from taking her? Oh, who cares anymore, there’s like 5 minutes left.

Jasmine says that lots of people will die, every living thing will die. She takes great pleasure in telling them about the deaths that will happen and the deaths that have been, including Estelle, Roy and paedophile man. Gwen, who as usual is about 15 pages behind everyone else actually asks, “how do you know these things?” I keep waiting for Jack to look at her and go, “Seriously? We just spent like an entire hour explaining this”.

Jack asks the fairies for assurances that the child won’t be harmed (despite the fact that he only just told us that all fairies were once Chosen Ones and...) and Gwen is horrified that Jack could make that choice, even though it’s not remotely his choice.
“We told you, she lives forever,” says the Gollum in close up.
“Dead world, is that what you want?” asks Jasmine, in her suddenly very very strong Welsh accent. Jack asks her what good is a dead world if it means there’s no more Chosen Ones. She says they can find more Chosen Ones back in time.

Jack puts his hand to her face and says ‘take her’ in the most melodramatic delivery of a line ever. Painful! Gwen yells ‘no’ as though this little monster hadn’t just taken delight in a slow and painful death for every living thing and tries to run after her.

Jack grabs Gwen’s arm and pulls her back. John Barrowman and the sweeping strings of heroic sacrifice are way way over the top as he holds her arm and emotes “this is our only CHANCE!”

Jasmine walks off into the forest, stopping only to thank him. Her poor bloody mother appears and tries to follow her daughter before turning on Jack, sobbing and pelting his chest with her fists. This poor woman has lost everything. Jack’s crying as he wrestles her to the ground, apologising over and over.

As they head back to the car, the rest of the team is pissed at him and he yells that he didn’t have any choice. And he really really didn’t so get over it losers.

Now back at the Hub, Gwen is sorting through photos when the Cottingley photo appears behind her. She looks closely and she sees that one of the fairies is actually Jasmine. As the episode ends, we hear the creepy (slightly overused term – sorry) strains of fairy voices reciting from Yeats’ poem ‘The Stolen Child’:
"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild,
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

Next week, Torchwood is trapped with something deadly hiding in an old house on a desolate moor. Oh good, some originality at last.

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