On Torchwood: Children of Earth: Day Three

There’s one major problem with the new-look Torchwood — as much as we see the team on-screen, this isn’t their story.

They’re not driving events. No, it’s British civil servant John Frobisher who’s in the driver’s seat. And the alien creature known only as the Four-Five-Six.

They’re not even solving events. Of course, that could be that, until halfway through Day Three, no one on the team knew quite what Earth was dealing with.

Day Three raises a lot of questions. What exactly happened in 1965 — and why? What was Jack Harkness’ role in those events? And what happened that was so bad that the British government conspire with an alien race, outright lie to other governments, and order the assassinations of a half dozen people to keep it hidden? Hopefully, we’ll find that out in Day Four (which I won’t see until after Shore Leave).

After Day One and Day Two being wide open in their settings, Day Three is far more limited. The action is confined largely to two rooms — the Torchwood headquarters, and the mysterious Floor Thirteen at Thames House (the headquarters of MI-5). In the headquarters, Day Three feels like prototypical Torchwood, with the characters looking at computer records and having awkward conversations. In Thames House, however, Day Three feels like something else, something creepy. There’s something in a giant tank. Something that isn’t happy. Something that isn’t human. Something that the human mind can’t wrap itself around. Something wrapped in fog. Here, in Thames House, the tension is palpable.

And I’m still not sure where Children of Earth is going.

The word “event” has been thrown around a lot to describe the third season of Torchwood. Only, that’s not right. Children of Earth is a novel, albeit one broadcast on television. The resolutions are precious and few thus far. At this point, I’m only sixty percent of the way to the end. Of course Torchwood is largely off-stage and ineffectual. Of course other characters are driving the story forward. We’ve had three days of build-up.

Now, hell is about to be unleashed.

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