In an effort to throw some variety into the content, that is, Torchwood reviews and Pokemon battles, I’d like to make a shout-out to Karen who organised two weekends of birthday fun for me. Aside from going to the Lychee Lounge, which is always fun, I also got to try out a new restaurant and went to my first casino! Blackjack is a fun but easy way to lose money and I continue to regret not walking away when they changed dealers. Still it wasn’t my money and for that I shall thank Karen as well.
Special mention should also go to Delia for her presents independent of the weekend’s frivolities. And to Liam and Katherine for hosting. And to Neil for being Karen’s Hired Goon in ensuring the success of both weekends.
Now to abandon the cold uncertainty of variety and back to the warmth of the familiar.
Torchwood: (See what I did there. Cause its wood, on fire, like a torch which is warm)
If you haven’t watched episode 6 and are interested, be aware that what follows are spoilers for that episode. I would recommend not reading this part..
So Owen wound up being shot to death!
Episode 7: Dead Man Walking, should be pretty self explanatory. It’s also the first episode of the second season that I have considerable problems with in terms of its execution. Let’s break it down:
The episode opens with Captain Jack Harkeness interrupting Owen’s autopsy in spectacular fashion. Cool, no problems there. Although I question why an autopsy is being run in the first place since the cause of death is not only obvious, it was in front of everyone who is now watching the procedure like the displays of the 19th Century inquests. Still it gives Martha Jones something to do and it also gives Jack the perfect excuse to melodramatically burst in and order it stopped until he returns. Returns from what? Well here is the first problem.
Jack goes to a fortune teller. Yep, a fortune teller. Granted she’s a little girl who appears to have a prior acquaintance with Jack as well as being creepy but the problem is that she’s not an alien (at least as far as anything I’ve seen is concerned) and she’s using magic. The world of Doctor Who is pretty fantastical in terms of what science can do that it might as well be magic. At least as far as Huxley is concerned. But they’ve always made a point of cloaking the incredible as scientific elements, which is ignored as the little girl uses a tarot deck. Now the lack of magic is one of the underpinning elements of the Doctor’s world and it is poor writing in service of advancing us to the next element that sees this rule effectively broken.
And what is that next element? A handful of problems for Torchwood. That’s right, the other Gauntlet of Ressurection that premiered in the pilot of the show and reappeared in the halfway decent episode titled: “They Keep Killing Suzie”. Jack is informed that the price of the gauntlet’s location is “A favour” and we’re left to ponder the dire implications.
I tell you what though, this had better have dire implications in this season or I am going to be somewhat annoyed. Freakin hackneyed plot device and it’s not the only one.
So the gauntlet is stuck in an old abandoned church currently inhabited by a nest of Weevils (who have been Torchwood’s answer to vampires if we keep following the Buffy formula coughriftequalshellmouthcough). Jack tiptoes his way clumsily through the sleeping nest until he manages to find the gauntlet and then the whole nest predictably wakes up. This leads to another problem:
Jack is immortal. He can’t be killed! Nothing will kill him! I know the cast are a little worried about relying on this too much but they should rely on it a little. For no other reason, it can make for some morbid humour. There’s a reason why Deadpool works in the comics. See also Wolverine in X-Men 2. At any rate, play with it. Could be fun.
Jack returns with the gauntlet and a little blood on the shirt and using the power of his will, manages to successfully use it to resurrect Owen for two minutes so he can ask… The combination to the freezer vault!? Would have been funny if it had been played up, or if we couldn’t see what was about to happen once two minutes elapses. Predictably the gauntlet don’t quite work like the other one and Owen is back on his feet quicker than Jesus.
Naturally this begs all sorts of questions and it isn’t long before the price of Owen’s new lease on life is revealed. In this case it appears to be Death Incarnate whose looking to get out of Owen’s body and have itself a good time. Death appears to like killing and wants to do a lot of it but first he has to kill 13 people to manifest and start killing fo’reals. Gwen discovers through the power of Google that a similar instance occurred back around the time the church the glove was found it was being built and learns that Death got stopped at 12 by something called Faith. Not knowing what that means the team run around a hospital, trying to stop an ephemeral personification until Yanto, again with the power of Google, learns that Faith was actually the name of a terminally ill girl that Death tried to take, but seeing as Faith had no life to steal, Death went away.
I’m simplifying it a lot but it’s really that dumb. What is even dumber is the number of times Torchwood members keep checking that it’s 12 people who died the first time. It just keeps on coming up during the episode that I wondered whether they OD’d on the amnesia pills from two episodes back. But that’s not as dumb as what follows. Owen, still moving even though dead realises that he is the best chance of stopping Death and engages in a shadowboxing/wrestling match when he lures Death into trying to kill him. HANG ON! Maybe we all just look alike to this thing but I would have thought the meatsack you were possessing might be passingly familiar!
In terms of story drive, this thing has the stink of season one on it but what elevates it from that dung heap is the killer (Ha!) performance that Owen gives. It’s not so much that he acts dead but rather how he treats it. Even the corny showdown with Death gets a little class from Owen but the best part is how he has to handle not having a working digestive system after trying to drown his sorrows.
Anyway, weak episode but good performance by Owen and okay performances by the other actors, even Yanto was a bit off this week. Jack is still good, though I wonder the type of loyalty he inspires with how he treats Owen in this and next episode. Still getting him contained by starting a fight in a bar that results in both of them being arrested is a pretty novel method.
But please. Not with the magic if you would. And learn to write conversation instead of repeating plot points like you think we’re idiots or we’re going to be smart enough not to watch. Seriously, you’re doing good but you’re still on thin ice.
Weekend previous, Delia brought around a copy of Tintin. Now I love Tintin. I’ve read every comic and I own all the cartoon series on DVD. But until last week, I didn’t realise that there was, in fact, a live version produced. Developed in France, the live movie isn’t actually based off a comic but fits rather nicely sometime after the affairs of Red Reckham’s Treasure and it’s called Tintin and the Golden Fleece. Captain Haddock is bequeathed a ship by a recently deceased captain on condition that he fulfils the contracts still owed upon it. It isn’t long before hijinx ensues when he is made several incredibly generous offers for the beaten up old tugboat and then he and Tintin are dodging all manner of chickainery.
Its cheaply done, approximately in the early 1980’s and the whole film is French, which is no surprise but it is also quite impressive. The script reads well like a Tintin comic and the actors are not only the spitting image of Herge’s artistic representations but they also play their characters to the hilt. There’s some surprises, the biggest being that not only can Tintin fight REALLY well, but he’s also pretty buff. The only fault I could find of it is Captain Haddock’s beard which looks less like actual facial growth and more like a black mat of hair was slapped on his face that his nose pokes out of. There is one other thing that I found hard to reconcile regarding Haddock and it’s this:
I accept that the cast is French* and that’s not the problem. It’s watching Haddock go about being ill-tempered, insufferable and indignant. Which may actually suit the French stereotype well, I’ll admit but I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to hearing “Ten thousand thundering typhoons” as “ ouragans de tonnerre de dix-millièmes” in an accent.**
At any rate, rather enjoyable and if I could go back to Tintin’s mad fighting skillz, an interesting style of what I suspect is Savate. Delia has another DVD that continues the live adventures and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
I’d better update the status on Pokemon soon as I’m playing quite a bit of it and don’t want to leave anything out.
Oh! Just after I hit “Save” on this, the guys at work surprised me with a belated birthday celebration!!! Which was very cool and came with cake and little chocolate meringues and a glittery card with many people wishing me well. And it also included a particular message from a certain director from accounting who finally got his revenge on me for writing on his birthday card about how things had changed since he balanced the books for Moses. Its taken him nearly a year but well done!
*Yes, a case could be made that Tintin and Co. are, in fact, Belgian but they’re French to me and you know why? Cause they smelt bad, ate frogs and talked to me in FUCKING FRENCH!
**Translation courtesy of BabelFish and may actually not be the correct way to say this