TV Review: Torchwood: The Children of Earth, Part 1

sysadmin 2.0
sysadmin 2.0's picture

Tonight begins the Torchwood miniseries "The Children of Earth" on BBC America. All the series regulars who were not blown to itty-bitty bits in the last series' finale seem to be present, so let's jump right into the play-by-play.



Teaser: 1965 Scotland-
There's a bus carrying young Scots somwhere in the middle of the night. A light appears and they all walk into the night

Torchwood, Day One
Gwen stops at an ATM and notices a few children on the street stopped cold. We then flash to all over Wales, where all the children have stopped still as statues. Then just as suddenly, they start back up again. Gwen apparently doesn't think much of it and enters The Hub.

Cut to Jack and Ianto in a hospital trauma unit running some variety of scam so that they can fish an alien out of a recent victim. In the process, a doctor (Rupesh) tells them that bodies are disappearing. They drive off...

A UNIT officer meets with a cabinet official and informs him that children stopped all over the world at 8:40 GMT UNIT is clueless We meet Lois Habiba... who will likely be significant, eventually.

Back at the Hub, Gwen is tracking traffic accidents, and coming to the same conclusions. Martha Jones is unavailable -- Honeymoon (Good For Her!). Jack and Ianto squabble like girls. Rupesh (the doctor from earlier) has tracked them to the bay. Jack and Ianto are thinking about recruiting him for Torchwood; while they quibble- Gwen goes out and introduces herself.

(Geez, that was nearly fifteen minutes without a break...)
(and it was SHORT)

Rupesh and Gwen start charting out the missing bodies in an outdoor cafe. She starts 'interviewing' him for Owen's job. Apparently, suicides have doubled due to people 'losing their place in the universe' due to the clash of faith and science. Gwen extols the joys of Torchwood when the Children start 'stopping' again.

And then they all scream.

(Seriously creepy)

And then they start talking.
"We Are"
'We Are"
"We Are Coming"

Apparently the mentally childlike are also victims..

... and suddenly everything is normal again

And we have Russell T. Davies patented running.
The regulars runTo the Hub, leaving Rupesh staring behind them.
We go back to the office where Lois Habiba is trying to make sense of it all. A Mr. Decker visits the Home Office and mentions the numbers "4 5 6" to the Secretary"
Jack calls the Home Office and Lois answers... and investigates Torchwood's origins.
The Home Office Secretary and Mr. Decker go into a sub-basement in Thames House- Ancient Equipment has uncovered transmissions at the same times the children stopped. They make vague and forboding statements about "The 4 5 6", and we have another
Apparently all the kids spoke in English, in unison--- and Rhys figures out that it's focused on Britain due to the times- they're at natural 'kid break times' in Great Britain.(rather, times when kids would be out in the open)
Home Office- The PM (I think) and the Home Secretary are discussing "the 456"- apparently the Brits have known about this species for some time. They discuss a massive coverup of this knowledge

(Where's the Doctor when you need him?)
Jack visits someone I probably should know... someone with kids. So does Ianto, apparently his sister. We have some character moments. Jack and Alice (his daughter!) sing "Who wants to live forever?" together. Jack tries to get his own grandson to see what's going on. Alice turns him down, cold. Ianto talks to his sister... who is realizing that he's gay... but Ianto is apparently only gay for Jack.

Ianto gets his car jacked, and.. and... and....

the Welsh are very odd people.

Gwen is investigating the one adult who participated in the scream-a-thon earlier. Gwen talks to him a bit, and tries to make him comfortable. He asks for her hand, which he then snorts.... as some variety of lie detector.
Gwen kills the survellance camera in the interview room, and they talk aliens.
As a child, he was taken out from school and driven, after being told that they were going to a new home. There was a light in the sky and all his friends were taken. He ran.
But he smells the aliens that took his friends and he knows they are returning. She coaxes his name out of him-Clem McDonald.
Clem tells Gwen that she's preggers (he can smell this)....

... she is disturbed by this and leaves.

Gwen sets Ianto onto Clem McDonald-
And the Home Office is onto Torchwood.
Lois intercepts an assassination order for Jack
Jack goes to see Rupesh (who has reported another mysterious death)
Jack is assassinated by Rupesh... Rupesh was meant to infiltrate Torchwood (and is NOT a nice person, apparently)
A very harsh woman re-assassinates Captain Swings Both Ways, and cuts him open.

Clem is also targeted by Home Office, but he smells them coming and runs for his life.
They seal up Captain Jack, and shoot Rupesh.
Captain Jack resurrects, and runs to the Hub.
Gwen is looking at her fetus;

They discover Jack's bomb... and start running

More kissing. (ew.)

The children have started chanting again....

Captain Jack gets blown to itty bitty bits...


Okay. That was intense and harrowing. We know that Jack will survive this, but can he pull himself together in time to be a factor? That's really a big question. I missed the Rupesh headfake; I was genuinely surprised when he turned traitor.

The Ianto-Jack relationship was kind of distracting, but I can see why they did it. I was impressed, though, with the introduction of Alice, Jack's middle aged daughter. It made a good amount of sense.

The central mystery of the series is just hinted around. We have a name... and we know that these aliens want children for some nefarious purpose. Very creepy and effective, though.

The performance, direction and the nature of the miniseries format makes you think that anything could happen....

I was very impressed. This may be Torchwood's swan song, but it's going out with a bang...