Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Torchwood 'They Keep Killing Suzie': Rating A

Torchwood episode 8 – They Keep Killing Suzie
Gen’s rating – A

Irony Defn 1. the first episode of Torchwood that’s actually quite good is the first one they play in the new timeslot of 12am Wednesday morning so nobody actually got to see it.

Yes, Torchwood has been dumped by Ten and so I should probably can the recaps. But I’ve gone this far and there’s only five more episodes to go so what the hell: it’s not as if I have a life. Plus, this episode actually has an original storyline and that’s worth a recap if anything is.

First up this evening, we have a ‘previously’ and it’s the events of ‘Everything Changes’, the first episode. Suzie reminds us about the glove and how it brings people back to life, temporarily, but that she thinks it could resurrect. Then we see her shooting herself and the body and glove being put into storage at Torchwood. Oh, and can I shout out to a certain other recapper who has already dubbed this the Glove of Myneghon. Wish I'd gotten there first.

Setting is a nice middle-class street in Cardiff. There’s a police cordon and a rather beautiful detective is briefing a crime scene investigator. I shall call her Jabe. She suddenly looks annoyed and as we pan in the direction of her gaze we see the VOC coming up the street toward the crime scene. It’s careening madly down the street, as usual, before pulling up and giving us the obligatory shot of ‘Torchwood’ written on the side of the vehicle. Jack jumps out with the rest of the team and we unfortunately have a slow-mo ‘we’re so cool, look how cool we are, you can tell we’re cool by our cool walk’ shot. I will remind my readers that I said this episode was quite good so they know I’m not going to slam the show this week. But this walk is so naff and they insist on showing it.

“At last: you must be Torchwood,” says Jabe, and I promise that from now on I’ll just accept the writers’ definitions of ‘top secret’ and ‘covert’. When you see a scene like this, just hear my voice in your mind.

Oh no, Jabe has a name and it’s Detective Swanson so I’d better call her that, particularly when she has ‘new recurring character’ written all over her. Swanson says Torchwood’s the people her team bitch about all the time at the office.

The Cap’n introduces himself and Detective Swanson looks at his retro suit and trademarked long coat and asks him if he’s always this dressy for a murder investigation. Jack removes his sunglasses in a really cool way and makes one of his usual painful remarks.

Oh, you want to know what it was? Alright. I supposed that’s my job. It was, “would you rather me naked?”

Detective Swanson manages to achieve a facial expression that says both ‘God no’ and ‘ewww’ but says “God help me, the stories are true.”
I like Detective Swanson already. She might even replace Ianto as my favourite character.

“Who’s the victim,” asks Gwen.
“That’s victims, plural,” Swanson corrects her and says that a man was murdered the day before. He was Alex Arwyn, single, 28, an estate agent and he lived alone. She hands the gang some photos from the crime scene and they see a man who’s been rather brutally stabbed to death.

Swanson continues with her briefing, saying that today they have two more victims, Mark and Sarah Briscoe, both 33, married, he’s a surveyor, she works in education.
Jack, still looking at the photos, asks if the blood on the wall is writing. Swanson says it was a work in progress but if he comes inside he can see the finished product.

In they go, Jack is wearing his usual silver Torchwood earpiece but for some reason Owen’s opted instead for a slug behind his ear. Maybe it’s an alien. Maybe it’s trying to go in through his ear and penetrate his brain.

Inside the house, a crime scene photographer is taking shots as Gwen walks in with the gang behind her. “Oh my God,” says Gwen and we see that the Briscoes are dead on the bed covered in their own blood from multiple stab wounds and slit throats.

“It looks like somebody wants your attention,” says Swanson and we pan over to the wall where ‘Torchwood’ is written in blood. Close up on Jack as he says “they’ve got it”.

Flick flick flick, Torchwood.

Back at the scene of the crime, Swanson is telling Jack they found a few of the killer’s hairs at the scene of the last murder and they should have the lab results soon. Jack thanks her and then kicks her out as some of their equipment is ‘need to know’.

Swanson looks displeased and lets her professional façade slip for a moment as she tells Jack that it was only a matter of time before this sort of thing happened.
“Torchwood walks all over this city like you own it,” she says angrily, “now these people are paying the price. From where I’m standing…you did it.” She walks out.

Owen closes the door behind her and says that at least Torchwood can narrow the killer down to the 4 or 5 million people they’ve pissed off. “And that’s just the humans,” adds Jack.

Though his earpiece, Jack talks to Tosh who’s doing her computer thing in the car and asks if she’s had any luck finding out something about the victims. Tosh has run all three victims through the database and hasn’t found out anything. She says there’s no link between the three victims at all. The words ‘DNA Results’ display on her screen and she tells Jack that the police have the results on the hairs found at the scene of Alex’s murder.

Back on the street, the gang are preparing to leave and Detective Swanson is back in professional mode. She gives him the results of the DNA tests. She says the killer’s male, Caucasian, early forties, smokes and drinks tequila but that the DNA doesn’t match any of the police’s DNA profiles.

“The only thing of interest is a compound we haven’t seen before,” she says. Owen looks over her shoulder at the report and then grabs it out of her hands.
“Oh oh, we’re in trouble,” says Owen (would he really say that in front of Detective Swanson?). He says the compound in the killer’s blood is B67 and as Jack asks if he’s please kidding, Owen calls the compound ‘Retcon’. Retcon? Really? I wonder if this is some intelligent comment by the show on the show or if they’re just being a bit silly. Well, since this episode is about them going back and updating or amending Suzie’s history in a show that is at the same time updating and amending Jack’s, I’m going to have to go for intelligent, although it’s just a bit obvious to be truly clever. Never thought you’d see the words ‘intelligent’ in a Torchwood recap, did ya?

Back at the Hub, the gang is in the briefing room and Owen is expositing about B67, otherwise known as Retcon, which is the ‘magic ingredient’ of the amnesia pill. Why is he looking at DNA spirals when he’s explaining this? They said it was in his blood, not that it had changed his DNA. Gwen says whoever the killer is, it’s someone they gave the amnesia pill to.

Owen asks if the guy is now remembering that he’s a serial killer or if the drug made him into a serial killer. Ianto enters the room and we get a close up of his very concerned face as he takes a seat. Gwen notes that she’s taken the drug and seems concerned that she’s going to go psycho as well and Jack smirks that she should stay away from sharp objects. They ask Ianto how many people they’ve given the amnesia drug to and he says 2,008.

“Hey,” says Owen, bouncing up and down with excitement, “what if they all become psychotic?”
“Do you have to sound so happy?” asks Tosh, reasonably. They’ve given her a much nicer haircut. Big improvement.
“I’m just saying,” says Owen.

Jack tells Tosh to narrow down the suspects and start checking them out as fast as possible. He says they need to find the link between the victims. “Find the link, find the killer,” he says and they all jump up to get to work.

“Jack,” starts Gwen, as they’re leaving the room, “if there is a link, why don’t we just ask the victims ourselves?” Jack says it’s not the right time for a séance but Gwen points out that the first time she met Torchwood they were using the glove to bring people back to life for 2 minutes and question them.

“No way,” says Jack and Owen agrees, citing what it did to Suzie as proof they should leave it alone. “She was one of us,” says Owen, “we trusted her and now she’s dead because of that thing.” Jack agrees and says the glove is staying in the vault where it belongs.
Gwen gets more forceful and as a consequence much more Welsh as she says that Torchwood is responsible for the murders and therefore Torchwood has to do something about them.

She must have convinced them because in the next scene they’re getting the glove out of the vault. “This fell through the rift about 40 years ago,” explains Jack, “it lay at the bottom of the bay until we dredged it up. I always figured this wasn’t just lost: whoever made it wanted [to get] rid of it.”

“We never gave it a cool name,” says Owen reflectively. He’s always so on topic, isn’t he? Tosh suggests the ‘Resurrection Gauntlet’ and Owen clarifies that he was after a cool name. Ianto, who is still looking as though his heart’s no longer in his chest, suggests the ‘Rissen Mitten’, which doesn’t rhyme. Everyone stares at him as though he’s lost his mind and he deadpans, “I think it’s catchy.” He gets a hee for delivery.

In the autopsy room, Jack is preparing to use the glove on victim number 1. He reminds us that the maximum resurrection time they’ve seen so far is 2 minutes and that’s only because Suzie had practice. He says he’s expecting something more like 30 seconds. Tosh is monitoring and recording and Ianto is standing by. Jack puts his glove to Alex’s head and tries to bring him back. He fails and the glove makes a buzzing noise and he takes it off, shaking his hand as though he’s been burned.

He offers the glove to Owen instead and Owen declines, saying that everyone in the team tried last time and the glove only responded to Suzie.
“Well, I never had a go,” notes Gwen. Owen and Jack look concerned but hand it over.

Gwen moves to the back of Alex and puts on the glove, saying it’s cold. Jack tells her that it warms up. He says the glove relies on some sort of empathy, maybe compassion. “Just be yourself,” says Jack.

Gwen slowly puts her hand on the back of Alex’s head and almost instantaneously feels a reaction, arching her back and taking a deep breath. Alex wakes up and Ianto starts a stop watch to time her. Like the murder victims in the first episode, Alex is all confused and scared and Jack tries to talk him down and get him to tell them who attacked him. He’s too confused and keeps yelling at them to help him and to let him see his mother. Then he dies again. Owen tells Gwen he’s dead but Gwen insists on trying again.

“The glove only works once,” says Jack and Gwen says that she can do it if they’ll just let her try. “He’s gone,” says Jack and Gwen looks upset but finally disengages the glove.

“She’s a natural,” says Ianto, “34 seconds.” Owen makes some facetious remark about Ianto being happy with his stopwatch and Ianto actually smiles and gravely says “it’s the button on the top.” Huh? I don’t get it.

Jack asks Gwen if she wants to stop and we cut to Tosh starting to record again, this time with Mark Briscoe on the slab. Gwen puts her head on Mark’s head and says she can feel it, like a rope from her heart to the glove. Mark wakes up and he’s calmer than Alex. Jack tells him to keep looking at him and when Mark asks where he is, Jack says that he’s been hurt.

“We don’t have long,” says Jack, “we need to know who attacked you.” Mark asks about his wife and Jack rather vaguely says that they’re looking after her. “Who was it?” he asks again and Mark says, “it was that man, he belonged to Pilgrim.”
Jack asks what Pilgrim is but Mark’s remembering the attack now and says, “oh my God, he had a knife”.

Jack tries to focus him by asking him what the guy’s name was, as Ianto says it’s been 35 seconds. “Max,” says Mark but says he never knew his surname. Tosh starts cross-referencing ‘Max’ and ‘Pilgrim’ while Jack tries to get Mark to give them more details. Owen says they’re losing him and Max drops the bombshell we’ve been waiting for. He says that there was someone who knew him better and her name was Suzie.

He passes away and Ianto looks slightly astonished as he says it was 1 minute and 5 seconds.

Tosh asks if her hearing is impaired because she could swear Mark said the name Suzie. “It could be anyone,” says Owen as though he’s trying to convince himself of the fact. He says lots of people are called Suzie and Jack notes that there’s not a lot of Suzie’s who are also connected to the case, “We’ve been talking to the wrong corpse.”

Hub briefing room: Tosh is handing out a flyer for a religious support group called ‘Pilgrim’, that acts as a kind of debating society for questions such as whether God exists and what meaning life has. She says it was a small concern, like a hobby, and it was run by Sarah Briscoe. She says information on the society was in their house but everything was handwritten and photocopied and that’s why there was no information available online.

Jack asks if there was any mention of Suzie and Tosh says that Sarah didn’t keep a proper register of participants. Owen says he doesn’t believe Suzie would be involved because she would never buy into all that support group bollocks and Gwen goes totally jealous on his ass, asking how well he knew her and if they were friends. He has all of five co-workers, Gwen; I think he probably knew her quite well.

Then she realises she sounds like a psycho and so backs away from the implication, asking the whole team if any of them knew her well and who her best friend in the place was. Owen says she kept herself to herself. He’s so lying; guess he must have been sleeping with her after all.

Anyway, Gwen falls for it and says that if she needed to talk maybe a support group was exactly where she’d go. Again with the Torchwood = lonely theme. Bit tired of that. Jack says Gwen’s got a point and that it’s time they got to know Suzie a bit better.

It’s night and rain is coming down outside a locker. Gwen asks if that’s what’s going to happen when she dies, that all her things are going to be the property of Torchwood. Again, Gwen, with the asking of questions before you take a job. ‘Nough said. “Rules and regulations,” says Jack as if that’s an answer to the question. “What if I want to leave all my stuff to Rhys?” asks Gwen. Rhys who?

The team open the roller door and Jack tells them to treat Suzie’s things with respect. They have torches so I guess the locker doesn’t have lighting. Why didn’t they wait till morning?

Tosh makes a rather depressing comment about how in the end they’re all just a pile of boxes and Gwen finds a photo of Suzie and her Dad. She asks if her Dad’s still alive and Tosh says she doesn’t know as Suzie wiped all her records at Torchwood before she tried to run. Tosh says Suzie was good at computers, in fact she was good at everything and Owen notes that one of the things she was good at was murder.

Gwen asks Jack what he has and shines her torch on the book he’s holding, which is an anthology of Emily Dickinson poems. The glove, Pilgrim, the pile of boxes, Emily Dickinson and murder. Life and death, meaning and purpose, the questions of existence. Do we live life in preparation for death or is death our reminder that life ends and is therefore its own purpose?

Tosh finds the Pilgrim flyer and they decide to revive her.

Back at the Hub, Jack pulls Suzie out of the cryo chamber and just before I’m about to ask myself why they kept the body, we cut to Gwen in the autopsy room asking Jack if they keep all the Torchwood staff on ice after they die. “Rules and regulations,” says Jack again, this time as though he knows it’s a crap answer. Gwen asks how long they keep the bodies and Jack says, forever.

They gather around the body on the slab as Gwen prepares to revive her. Owen rather snidely asks Ianto if he has his stopwatch and Ianto calmly says, ‘always’. Tosh says she’s going to record from the other room because she can’t look Suzie in the eye. Jack asks if anyone else feels the same way and no one says anything but they all keep their gaze firmly on the monitors instead of looking at Suzie’s body.

Gwen asks Jack if he has any advice and as he opens his mouth she says, “yeah I know, empathy, even though she did try to kill me.”
“You and me both,” notes Jack, omitting the part where she didn’t try so much as succeed.

As Gwen touches Suzie with the glove she gets memories of the moments before Suzie died: Jack being shot in the head, Suzie threatening her with the gun, Gwen cowering like the little sissy she is.

Owen looks at the monitor, which shows some response, but Gwen gets a shock and pulls the glove away. Jack caresses her hair back from her face, rather intimately, and Gwen says Suzie is too far gone and all she got were memories. Tosh asks what they’re going to do and Jack says there’s nothing they can do as they’re out of options.

Owen disagrees; he notes that when Suzie killed those people she always used the knife that’s made out of the same metal as the glove. Tosh says the glove seems to work better if the knife’s part of the process, like it closes a circuit. Jack notes the small detail that the knife was used to kill people but that Suzie’s already dead. “Alright”, says Gwen, “so we kill her again.” And since she says this so matter-of-factly, I’m not going to ask how they kill someone who’s already dead. I choose to accept it was a figure of speech.

Jack doesn’t look happy with the plan but he gets the knife out of storage anyway. As he pulls it out and displays it, Owen inquiringly says, “Ianto?” and Ianto takes a deep breath before saying ‘Life Knife’. That sucks too, but at least it rhymes and this time the others seem impressed.

Back in the autopsy room, Gwen has her gloved hand on Suzie’s head and Jack is rather grossly slicing into Suzie’s body with the knife. He asks Gwen if she felt anything and Gwen says that she felt a spark when the knife went in but then it was gone and that Jack is going to have to do it properly.

Owen nods and Jack hesitates for a minute before plunging the knife into her chest. Gwen gasps in shock as Suzie comes totally and completely alive, drawing air into her lungs and panicking. Ianto presses his stopwatch and the camera spins above the slab as Jack tries to get Suzie to calm down and remember.

“Jack,” she says in disbelief, “there’s a knife in my chest. Did you kill me?”
“You killed yourself,” explains Jack and Suzie suddenly remembers. “Oh my God, I shot myself,” she says in incredulously. Jack raises the subject of Pilgrim and Suzie says, “wait a minute, didn’t I kill you?”

“Never mind that,” says Jack, although Owen looks a bit interested in this information, “we need names and details.”
“Who’s using the glove?” asks Suzie and as Gwen says she’s sorry Suzie says she knows and it’s ‘Gwen-bloody-Cooper’. Talk about retconning; where does that enmity come from? They barely met.

Jack asks about Pilgrim, the amnesia pill and Max, and Suzie asks if they brought her all the way back just for Max. As she starts to say that Max was just some loser, Owen says they’re losing her. Jack tells Gwen to disconnect and Gwen refuses, saying she’s not letting Suzie get away this time. Gwen is finally thrown off the body by the glove and Owen runs to her side. He says she’s alright but he needs to get her out of there. Jack’s waving the glove around all like, I told you so and Owen tells him to shove it.

Jack and Owen grab Gwen to take her upstairs and Ianto very politely says Suzie’s not actually dead but just unconscious.

Owen runs back to the monitor and confirms that she’s still breathing. Jack pulls the knife out of her chest and Owen says she’s still alive. “There’s no stopping her,” he says, “she won’t die.” Ianto says she’s been alive for 1 minute 30 seconds. Shot of Suzie with her eyes moving beneath her eyelids and….ads. One thing I’ll say for this timeslot, with less ads to jam in, they’ve started cutting the show properly.

The Hub: Jack is in an interrogation room with Suzie and Gwen. The rest of the team are watching over the monitors. Suzie’s in a wheelchair and looks as though she’s barely conscious. Jack tells her she’s been dead three months and Suzie asks them why they can’t just leave her alone and let her die.

“You seem to be stuck,” says Jack and Suzie looks straight at them and asks if she’s going to stay like that and for how long. Gwen says she doesn’t know. “Can I see my father?” asks Suzie and Jack says no. Gwen explains that they don’t know where her father is and Suzie asks if that means he doesn’t know that she’s dead. Gwen rather insensitively notes that Suzie isn’t actually dead anymore. Suzie looks as about impressed with the statement as I am.

“This is sick,” she says and Jack says that she started it. Jesus Jack, what are you, twelve? Jack hands her the police file and says there’s an investigation underway about Pilgrim. He spreads photos of Pilgrim members across the table and says that they know she went to Pilgrim meetings and gave the amnesia pill to someone named Max. Jack says they need to find him and Suzie asks why they would want to as he was just an ordinary bloke.

Jack says they think the retcon has triggered a psychosis (I’ve had the same problem after watching episodes of Charmed) andd that he’s started killing. Suzie asks how many people he killed and Gwen says it was three; the same number Suzie killed. Owen’s disembodied voice comes over the speaker asking how much retcon Suzie gave him.

“Owen,” says Suzie, “scared to face me?”
“You frighten the shit out of me,” says Owen, matter-of-factly. Kudos to Owen for being honest about his feelings for once. Suzie asks if Toshiko is still around and Owen is the one who answers in the affirmative.
“All the gang, happy days,” says Owen ironically and then brings the subject back to the amnesia pill.

“One a week, every week, for two years,” answers Suzie and Owen says, “Christ, no wonder.”
“What the hell did you do that for?” asks Jack and Suzie says she just needed someone to talk to as working for Torchwood was driving her mad. At the mention of the word ‘crazy’, Gwen’s expression is ‘no shit’. Suzie says he listened to her, that’s all, and that as soon as she’s finished talking she’d give him the pill. Jack says she overdosed him and Suzie says she didn’t know that.

“I keep getting it wrong, don’t I?” she says, trying for the sympathy card. I don’t think using and abusing another person for two years just to make yourself feel better counts as ‘getting it wrong’, dear. It counts as bloody selfish.

Jack asks what Max’s surname is and Suzie says all she did was talk about her and that it’s all her fault and never stops being her fault. I’m no expert, but that could be a side effect of it all being your fault, dear, and why are you trying to paint yourself the victim here?

“Can’t you just let me die?” asks Suzie and Jack says she doesn’t get off that easy. “You did warn me right at the beginning,” says Suzie to Jack. She looks at Gwen and pointedly says, “he said this is the one job you can never quit.”

Jack asks her to play ball and to look at the photos and see if there’s anything. I don’t know where he got these photos from but Suzie says that there’s a Pilgrim member missing. She says this girl came every week, a student named Lucy McKenzie. She says that Lucy worked in a club but becomes all lethargic when Jack tries to get her to tell them. She finally says the club’s name is the ‘Wolf Bar’ or something like that.

In the club, Torchwood is fanning out trying to find Lucy. Tosh and Suzie are monitoring them from the hub. Gwen has a headache and Suzie says it’s the glove and that it gets inside your mind. They walk around the club for a while and Suzie notes that Tosh can’t even look at her. Suzie says it’s not like Tosh to be judgemental and Tosh says it’s not like Suzie to go on a murder spree.

“So, it drives us mad this job,” continues Tosh, “god knows I’ve done stupid stuff. But now I’ve got to go on working every day in a job that has a bit less honour…because of you.”

In the club, Torchwood accidentally takes down the wrong guy and as they restrain him the real bad guy sneaks up on Gwen with a knife. Suzie yells “Gwen, behind you!” and the guys take him down.
Gwen notes that Suzie saved her life and Suzie says maybe she came back for a reason.

Still night at the Millennium Centre. Max is in a cell, unresponsive. Owen says the word ‘Torchwood’ and Max goes crazy for exactly 10 seconds before becoming unresponsive again. Owen says that if it’s a drug-induced psychosis it’s a very specific one. Jack says Torchwood again because apparently torturing the poor guy one of his team members brutalised for two years is funny. It’s like the writers feel they have to swap the prat role between Jack and Owen and if Owen’s being serious Jack’s got to act the part instead.

Jack apologises like he really doesn’t mean it and notes that if retcon caused that behaviour then they have a million more problems on the way. On his way out, he asks Owen to keep him informed and Owen asks about Suzie. Jack says he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with her and he wants to know what Owen thinks. Owen thinks Jack’s the boss. Jack nods and actually says ‘Torchwood’ on his way out. Oh, hah hah! Not.

Back in the interrogation room, Suzie, who has a scarf wrapped around her head presumably to hit the hole in her chin and head from the gunshot, is asking Gwen if it’s possible to see her father. Gwen says Suzie should tell her where he is and Suzie says she’s not letting Torchwood anywhere near him. That is, if he’s even still alive. She says her father has cancer.

Suzie then tries to bond with Gwen by asking her how she’s enjoying the work and Gwen admits that Torchwood’s a crazy place to work. Suzie says that when you die you like to think that people will miss you at work. I would have thought you’d be more concerned about being missed by your friends and family myself but I supposed these people are workaholics. She says you hope you’re indispensable and it’s quite sobering for her to see how quickly they replaced her with Gwen.

Then she starts in on the victim riff again and I’m not sure if she’s just feeling sad and sorry for herself or if she’s trying to manipulate Gwen. If the latter, I can’t see a reason as yet.

Anyway, she says that Gwen’s better than her and the others prefer her and she got the glove working better than Suzie ever could. She says that she got her job, almost as if she planned it, and Gwen says she has her own function at Torchwood and is more than just a replacement. Suzie asks if she’s slept with Owen and can tell by Gwen’s expression that she has. She says that in that case Gwen replaced her completely.

In his office, Jack is reviewing the case when Gwen bursts in. Jack tells another of his painful stories and Gwen starts lashing out about how Jack put Suzie in charge of the glove when he should have known that Suzie’s father was dying of cancer.
“And what do you do,” she asks rhetorically, “you give his daughter the one device that can bring him back to life. No wonder she got obsessed.”
“Oh, so this is all my fault,” asks Jack and Gwen hooks in to him about how he never looked at Suzie and asked himself what the glove would do to her.

“Right from the start,” counters Jack, “you thought Suzie’s death was because of you, because it happened when you arrived. Then you brought her back to life, all the way because you wanted it so much. We’re both responsible. Now what the hell are we going to do with her,” he concludes and Gwen says she doesn’t know and turns her back on him to think.

When she turns around again she’s calmer and asks him what they’ll do if she never dies. “Have you thought of that?” she asks, “undying forever, just you and her.”
“No way,” replies Jack, “I wouldn’t wish that on her. I’d kill her first.”
Jack knows as the others never could that there is no purpose to life without death to give it meaning.

Gwen asks if Jack could kill Suzie if he had to and Jack says, “oh yeah” with such certainty that you know he’s telling the truth. They stare at each other for a while, each lost in their own thoughts when Owen comes in over the intercom to ask Jack to come to the conference room. As he leaves, Gwen stares ahead, with a determined look on her face.

In the conference room, Owen, Jack, Ianto and Tosh are reviewing tapes of Gwen’s resurrections. There’s some technobabble that boils down to the fact that when Gwen used the knife and gauntlet together on Suzie it tapped into her lifeforce; something that’s still being drained away. In essence, Suzie is slowly draining Gwen’s lifeforce. For Suzie to live, Gwen has to die.

As they’re talking, Gwen takes coffee and biscuits down to Suzie. It’s all a ruse, however, to pass her a note asking if she wants to go on a road trip. Gwen is taking Suzie to see her father.

“The wearer of the glove can bring somebody back but loses their own life in the process,” says Jack as we switch back to the conference room. Tosh asks how they stop it from happening and Jack says they have to kill Suzie. Again. Owen asks who’s going to do it and Jack pulls out his gun and says that he’s the boss. Of course, when he gets down to the interrogation room Suzie and Gwen are already gone.

Outside, Gwen is wheeling Tosh toward her car as Tosh scans for them but finds nothing on the internal scanner. The VOC is untouched so they try exteriors and see Gwen and Suzie getting in Gwen’s car.

“What’s she doing,” asks Owen and Jack says she’s trying to get herself fired. Owen actually asks how Gwen could be so stupid to think she could just drive off (I’m enjoying this episode so won’t touch that) and he and Jack head off to stop her. At that point, the base powers down and they’re stuck inside.

Jack yells for Ianto and Ianto says he thought Jack must have done it because it’s nothing to do with him. Ianto says the doors are sealed and there’s nothing he can do to reverse it. You’d think after that whole Cyberwoman incident they’d have realised that a manual override system was probably a good idea. Guess not.

As Gwen and Suzie drive off, Gwen’s saying she must be insane as Jack is bound to catch them. Suzie says, “you never know, you might get lucky,” and I have to admit this is the first twig for me that she was behind all this. She was definitely the one who shut down the base.

The team are huddled in the Hub with the torches and the confusion and Jack asks Owen how long they have before Gwen died. Owen says a maximum of two hours. They ask how Suzie could have locked down the base and Tosh says she couldn’t have: she's officially dead so the computer would never have given her access. Tosh is trying to reason it through. She says that Suzie could never have started the lockdown and there’s no one else. Jack twigs that in fact there is someone else in the base. Poor Max is still in the cells.

In the cells, lit with the red lighting of lockdown, Max is sitting reciting Emily Dickinson poems over and over again. Jack says it’s a verbal trigger that Suzie must have programmed into the system so if someone repeats the poem a number of times the Hub shuts down. They realise it would have to have been installed when she was alive and that Suzie’s been planning this all along. Yes, this is all a little too neat and her plan was reliant on so many things she could never have known would come about but, what the hell. At least it’s not just another rip off from the Buffyverse.

Jack and Owen run out leaving Max sitting naked in the cells chanting.

In the main Hub, the team realise that the whole thing has been a hoax to get them to resurrect Suzie if she ever died. Max was programmed so that if he didn’t hear from Suzie for a certain period of time (3 months) his orders would kick in. This triggered the whole sequence of events leading up to this point.

Tosh points out that if Suzie programmed the Hub to shut down she must have set up something to reverse the process if she needed to.

On the road, Gwen is starting to feel the effects of the link between herself and Suzie but dismisses it. She’s starting to look a bit wan and comments that Suzie is getting some more colour in her cheeks.

“It’s all thanks to you,” says Suzie, knowing that Gwen won’t get what she actually means. She’s been so incredibly manipulative for this whole episode.
Suzie asks Gwen about the events before she shot herself. She wants to know if she remembers correctly; if she really shot Jack in the head but he didn’t die.

“Am I right, did that happen?” she asks and Gwen says that it did. Suzie asks how he can survive a bullet through the head and Gwen says she doesn’t know because Jack won’t explain it properly.
“He says he can’t die, not ever,” says Gwen and Suzie is contemptuous that someone like that would make decisions about whether she’s allowed to live. “It’s all very easy for Captain Jack, isn’t it,” she says and asks if Gwen ever wonders who he is. Gwen admits she wonders that all the time.

You know, what I also like about this episode is that it explores these themes - of life and death and meaning and hope and how hard we should hold on to life and how easily we should accept death - with only the odd anvil crashing down upon us.

In the darkened Hub, Ianto yells out to Jack that he’s managed to get reception on the phone by using the water tower as a relay. Oh, that is a water tower. I was wondering about that episode where there was water coming down the walls. Hang on, why is there a water tower underground? Forget it, not important.

“Nice work, Ianto,” says Jack in his ‘I’ve suddenly realised how attractive you are, would you like a shag?’ voice that we know so well. Jack and Ianto, hey? Um, something to ‘look forward’ to.

Armed with a phone, Jack realises he doesn’t actually have anybody to call. He thinks and then we cut to the police department where Detective Swanson’s phone is ringing.

“Better not be wasting my time,” she says into the phone and Jack asks if she could do them a favour. “Humble police helping the mighty Torchwood,” she says, sarcastically, while looking at the crime scene photos with the word ‘Torchwood’ written in blood.

“Why don’t you just help yourselves like you normally do?” she asks and Jack says that he can’t because…are you ready…because they’re locked into their own top-secret subterranean base and can’t get out. Hah!

Detective Swanson also thinks this is hysterical and as she waves her team over she asks how she’s supposed to help. Jack actually has to say, “we need a book of poetry and it’s not funny.” She laughs and so do I.

Gwen is still driving and thinks she feels tired because she’s driving at night. She turns on the radio and some old song comes out. Suzie sadly says her Mum used to sing it. Suzie starts crying and Gwen looks concerned.

In the police department, Detective Swanson has called everyone over so Jack can repeat into the speaker phone that he’s locked into his own base. Everyone laughs and Jack says that she’s had her fun but that one of their team is in danger. Back to her usual professional self, Swanson tells everyone to go back to work and picks up a copy of the same Emily Dickinson anthology from Suzie’s locker. She asks Jack what she’s supposed to do and he asks her to find the poem Max was reciting, appropriately called ‘I Could Not Stop for Death’. He asks Swanson to read out the next verse and if that doesn’t work she’s going to have to read out the whole book. She hands her coffee cup to someone for a refill and notes that it’s going to be a long night.

Car again and Suzie’s gone all subtly maniacal. She asks if Gwen’s tired and Gwen says she’ll be fine. Gwen asks her about what happens after death and Suzie wants to know if she’s religious. Gwen says she’s not, really, but outlines her vision of life after death, which Suzie mocks for being the kind of faith they feed you in primary school. White light, seeing your Gran again, the smell of carbolic.

Gwen asks what’s up there and Suzie says there’s nothing, just darkness. “But if there’s nothing, what’s the point of it all,” says Gwen. Once again, I understand but can’t accept Gwen’s determination that life or anything has to have a conscious point behind it. Neither can Suzie, who says the point of life is life itself.

“We’re just animals howling in the night ‘cause it’s better than silence,” she says. “I used to think about Torchwood, all those aliens coming to Earth, what the hell for? But it’s just instinct. They come here ‘cause there’s life, that’s all. Moths around a flame. Creatures clinging together in the cold.”

Suzie says when you die it’s darkness and Gwen says that what, you’re all alone, there’s no one else. Suzie says she didn’t say that and why does Gwen think she was so desperate to come back. This statement seems to be saying she set up this elaborate plan from beyond the grave. Or maybe she saw what she believed beforehand and that belief was the reason she set up the plan? Maybe the afterlife is a self-fulfilling prophecy, like in a Discworld novel.

The camera moves across so Suzie is framed as though she’s alone in the night. She says there’s something in that darkness, moving.

Hubwards and Jack is citing poetry at the ceiling while Swanson feeds him Emily Dickinson from the other side of the phone. Anyone who’s read Emily Dickinson will know Swanson's not exaggerating when she sarcastically says she was a bundle of laughs.

Suddenly Tosh has a strange idea that I’m going to class as brilliant, rather than convenient because the writers need all the encouragement they can get. She thinks they should try reading out the ISBN number on the back of the book. Swanson reads it, Jack relays it and Tosh types it into a dead keyboard that she says might still recognise the numbers. (?)

Anyway, it works and the Hub comes back online. Jack thanks Swanson, whose first name is apparently Kathy, and she says ‘pleasure’: one part sincere and three parts bemused.

In a hospital, Gwen is pushing Suzie’s wheelchair through the hall toward her father’s room.

Hub again and Tosh says she has a tracker on Gwen’s car and she’s apparently at Greenleaves Hospital. She feeds the coordinates through to the VOC. Owen says Gwen has maybe 40 minutes to live and Jack asks Kathy to keep the motorway clear because he’s going to have to exceed the speed limit. She does, which is nice of her really.

In her father’s hospital room, Gwen shuts the door and then collapses against the wall saying that she doesn’t feel well and her head feels like a spike has gone through it. She touches the back of her head and realises she’s bleeding. She asks what’s happening to her and Suzie tells Gwen that she’s dying slowly of a gunshot wound to the head. She unwinds her scarf and reveals that her wounds are healed.

Gwen’s moaning and crying in the back of the room and Suzie approaches her father’s bed and asks him to wake up and see her. He opens his eyes and she grabs the respirator out of his mouth and tells him he’s a bastard who deserves to go into that blackness. We will never know what he did to her.

Suzie hauls Gwen into the wheelchair and takes her back through the hospital and into the car. As they drive off, Tosh reports to Jack that they’re moving and Jack tells her to keep feeding him the coordinates.

The phone rings and it’s Suzie in gloat mode, asking him if he liked the poem. He asks her to stop and she wonders why on Earth she’d do that. Jack says she should do it for Gwen’s sake and Suzie says Gwen replaced her and now she’s doing the same thing.

Jack tells her they have a tracker on the car and they’re going to catch up. Um, Jack, you just basically told her to ditch the car so you won’t be able to find them. Anyway, Suzie asks what happens when Jack catches up and Jack says he’s going to kill her.

“I’m going to kill you, Suzie Costello,” he says, “I’m going to kill you for the last and final time.” Suzie wants to know if he could really do that when there’s a part of [Gwen] that’s now in [Suzie]; if it’s the only thing left of her.

“Why are you doing this?” asks Jack, and she says it’s because life is all, something that he’s very well aware of. “I’d do anything to stay.” She starts in on the crazy about how Gwen is a real find because she’s better than her. Well, you’re a zombie homicidal maniac dear, I think most people are.

She says she was never any good and you wonder why someone who hates themselves so much would cling to life in this way. But I guess that’s the duality many people live with. She apologises to Jack and hangs up. Jack yells, “Suzie!” at the dead phone and for once doesn’t go OTT. The VOC streams through the night.

Tosh says she’s worked out where Suzie is going and it’s a Hedley Point where she can take a ferry to the islands.

Ok, I must admit I have been wondering how long this night could possibly be but have avoided saying anything. Now I have to because as the VOC drives down toward the point it’s suddenly totally broad daylight. Not dawn but like 10am. How’d that happen?

Continuity error aside, Suzie is at the Quay. She’s getting Gwen out of the car and toward the ferry. She’s saying they’ll take the ferry as far as they can and keep running and that Jack won’t hurt ‘them’. The VOC pulls up behind Gwen’s car and Jack and Owen run out onto the quay. Gwen has collapsed and Suzie’s over her all commiseration on her untimely death. Crazy crazy with a double side of crazy.

As she sees Jack and Owen approach, Suzie kisses Gwen on the forehead and runs towards the ferry. Owen stops to see if Gwen’s ok and Jack pulls his gun on Suzie and tells her to let Gwen go. Suzie says she can’t. Owen says he thinks he’s too late. Jack says killing Suzie is the only way to cure Gwen and Suzie says he can’t because she’s the only thing left of Gwen Cooper.

“Just the smallest bit of her,” she says, and Jack says, “not one bit,” and shoots her. Owen, looking at Gwen, says nothing happened and Jack realises Suzie’s still alive. He shoots her, over and over, until she rolls onto her back and says it’s all Jack’s fault because he recruited her.

Jack suddenly realises the glove is keeping Gwen and Suzie linked and tells Tosh to destroy it. “Captain, my Captain,” crazies Suzie as Ianto runs into the armoury to get a gun, “do you want to know a secret?” she says. Ianto tosses the gun to Toshiko who aims it at the glove.

“There’s something moving in the dark,” she says, “and it’s coming, Jack Harkness, it’s coming for you.”

Tosh fires at the glove and as Suzie dies, Gwen regains consciousness. Gwen’s breathing, but traumatised, blood caked on her head. Owen holds her head as she gasps and we pan out over the bay.

The mid-afternoon after the lunchtime before. Gwen is back in the Hub, looking a bit overwhelmed but quietly glad to be alive. Jack walks in, they have a meaningful look and then he leaves the room.

Down in the cryo-chamber, Ianto is preparing Suzie’s body for storage again. Jack sadly thanks him and notes that he’s the one he should be doing it…but. He looks around at the storage chambers, sighs and says, with the voice of someone who’s just realised that everyone around him is going to die while he’ll be forced to live on, that one day they’re going to run out of room.

Then Ianto says something so bizarre that I barely know how to recap it. He looks up, pauses for a minute and says, “If you’re interested, I’ve still got a stopwatch.” A what? A stopwatch?
Jack looks as confused as I am and asks, “So?”
“Well, think about it,” Ianto adds, “lots of things you can do with a stopwatch.”

A Stopwatch. A watch that stops. A. Stop. Watch.

Jack thinks for a minute, gets his ‘I’m getting laid face on’, smiles and says, “Oh yeah, I could think of a few.” Really? Could you tell me, ‘cause the most I’ve got is sprint training and that experiment my sister and I conducted when I was in highschool to find out whether water boiled faster with the lid off or on. Maybe they’re going to time who can make tea faster?

Jack says he’s going to send the others home early, presumably so they won’t have to share the tea, and for Ianto to meet him in his office in ten. Ianto gets this…look…on his face that I can only describe as knowing and says “that’s 10 minutes, and counting” and Jack walks off quickly.

A stopwatch?

“Oh Jack”, says Ianto to his back (no, not like that…I don’t think they’re going to do that with the stopwatch. Dirty minds). He’s suddenly serious as he asks what he should put on the death certificate because Suzie had a lot of deaths in the end. Jack thinks and says, “Death by Torchwood”.

A stopwatch.

Ianto says he’ll put a lock on the door in case she goes wandering again and Jack says there’s no chance of that because Torchwood’s resurrection days are over. “I wouldn’t be too sure,” says Ianto. “The thing about gloves, Sir, they come in pairs.”

Jack looks pensive and then leaves the room. And there you have it, the best episode of the season so far. Let’s hope it just gets better from here on in. Adieu. May all your sexual conquests know what to do with a timepiece.

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