Greeks Bearing Gifts


I’ve been a bit behind on my Torchwood reviews. In part this has been laziness, but mostly, because Torchwood has been a bit behind in quality.

Television’s a funny thing. Different people have different tolerances for crap. Some will give a show one strike any time, as long as the next episode is good. Some will give two. Some none. It was after watching the run from ‘Cyberwoman’ to ‘Countrycide’ that I realised I was in serious danger of losing interest in Torchwood altogether, which came as something of a shock.

Luckily for the show, along comes ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’. Which isn’t awesome, but it does, at least, entertain, and makes the Torchwood crew far, far more appealing than they’ve been for… well, for about three weeks.

Our story follows dear old Toshiko Sato. Grumpy at how much Torchwood‘s been sucking recently, she storms out of the office and goes to the pub, where she meets a hot blonde chick. This chick knows exactly who she is, and offers her an alien device that allows her to read people’s thoughts. Wacky hijinks ensue, involving golf clubs, hot girl-on-girl action, startling revelations, and lots and lots of mind-reading.

It’s like everyone’s been given a lift this episode. Gwen’s a lot more appealing — well, alright, about as appealing as someone having an affair can be. Owen’s still a bit of a bastard, but a compassionate one at least. Ianto still suffers silently (though, we get to hear him, poor sod) and Jack’s far and away an improvement on the last few stories. Mainly because John Barrowman isn’t forced to do any shouty-crying, and instead gets to be friendly, peculiar and a little unsettling. This dangerous, manic and edgy Jack is definitely the best side of his character’s refit, and feels like a more natural part of his character’s evolution than some other moments.1

The story does, unfortunately, finish with another deep and meaningful with Jack, but it’s not as on-the-nose as some have been recently.2 What it has over some of the poorer recent episodes is a solid sense of humour; which does wonders for the tone. It has become clear that the staff of Torchwood Cardiff are a bit crap, a bit unorganised, and not as close as they could be. But at least this time round, they felt a little bit real.

  1. I’m looking at you, ‘Countrycide’. I might even review you. Later. A disturbing pattern with Torchwood is that the Chris Chibnail episodes suck and the others don’t, or at least, not as much. I say disturbing because Chibnail’s writing an awful lot of them.
  2. There are some more cute hints at the nature of his resurrection, too.
Once, just once, I'd like to walk into one of these tents and find out it's a party. — Jack Harkness

One Response to “Greeks Bearing Gifts”

  1. I’ll comment on this just as soon as I get around to watching it. I’ve been put off by the earlier episodes.