Torchwood or Torture: Miracle Day 2

"It would make my dream come true if we didn't give him this medicine. What do you think?"

Case no. 55793 – The Crown Vs. Russell T. Davis and the BBC TV Series, Torchwood

We re-join proceedings as Mr Cathcart concludes a joke, designed to boost the Jury’s spirits.

Cathcart: …now a third man approaches St Peter. ‘What did you do in life?’ he asks him. ‘I was a juror, sir’ he replies. ‘Well,’ says St Peter, ‘in that case you’re in, you’ve been through hell already!’

Some faint tittering from the jury benches.

Justice Dowd: Yes, very good Mr Cathcart, shall we proceed?

Cathcart: I’m grateful your honour. Members of the jury, you’ll now be shown the second episode of this Torchwood series, “Rendition”.

55 minutes later…

Justice Dowd: Mr Cathcart?

Cathcart: Thank you, your honour. Men and non-men of the jury, you’ve just experienced the second fifty five minute portion of this nine hour endurance test. The Crown’s case is, I suggest, at its most potent when one considers this episode. You’ll have noted that in nearly an hour of drama, almost nothing took place. The rules that govern this kind of fictive drudge were abandoned for what, one might generously describe, as an avant-garde approach.

It’s our case that in this second instalment, the life drained out of this series with greater rapidity than the exodus of blood from John Barrowman’s face. What, you may ask, happened in episode two? We suggest, nothing.

Fenric: Objection. The episode was full of incident, m’lord.

Justice Dowd: Sustained. I know Mr Cathcart will want to be clear.

Cathcart: I’m obliged. Incident, yes; the advancement of story, the introduction of new information, the sense that this series had a pounding, unrelenting momentum, no. Two scenes, ladies and genitals; two scenes prevented this episode from being completely inconsequential. The first was the introduction of the grotesque flame haired agent, keen to exploit serial killer Bill Pullman’s earning potential – the accumulation of space bucks if you will.

Some members of the jury laugh.

Thank you. Yes, the other, the revelation that although the human race is now immortal, they continue to age; again, plenty of pensive faces and talk of the medical apocalypse to come.

However, Doris Egan, who bravely allowed herself to be credited with this script, chose to build the episode around a flight from Cardiff to Washington D.C, in which Captain Jack was poisoned by a CIA agent, and Gwen, whose testosterone levels made my beard grow, barked and bleated and fumbled, attempting to save his life with the help of a woman on the ground, in what I suggest, was a poor parody of the film Apollo 13.

These scenes, which lasted for the longest time, served little purpose other than to give the two main characters something to do in transit, and showcase Barrowman’s ability to sweat. Was it really necessary to show the journey to the United States in what felt like real time? We suggest that it was not.

Justice Dowd: Thank you. Mr Fenric?

Fenric: M’Lord, members of the J to the U to the R to the Y, what you’ve just heard from Mr Cathcart are the observations of a man who looked, but alas did not see, the embarrassment of detail in this episode. I trust you did better, but, and you’ll excuse me telling you something you already know, being attentive and thoughtful individuals, let’s go over one or two aspects for your convenience.

The Crown argues that nothing happened in this episode. Nothing happened? Perhaps Mr Cathcart fell asleep as the series’ plot strands were pulled together, during an exhilarating hour of intrigue and, what some would even dare call suspense.

You’ll have noted the introduction of Wayne Knight’s character, also known as the portly saboteur from Jurassic Park, the big lizard film which was popular some years ago. He was involved in some form of CIA conspiracy, indicating the government will have a predominant role in the plot going forward. You’ll also have seen the agency’s attempts at assassinating Captain Harkness, and you could hardly have failed to get behind them in that endeavour.

Writer Doris Egan, whom Mr Cathcart unduly criticises, we suggest made excellent use of the plane setting in creating drama and introducing those conspiratorial elements that may prove so decisive in future episodes. The point about a series set over a limited timeframe is that one can’t simply, as the Crown suggests, skip over several hours of storytime. When one undergoes rendition, one expects the flight to be a backdrop for some drama, and indeed, revelation. It hardly be said that this episode failed to deliver the same.

So, as we look ahead to the ne- I’m sorry, your honour, can we ask Mrs Clacknell to place a shroud over her mams? It’s a sexual assault on my train of thought.

The trial continues…

Review the evidence thus far:


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