TV REVIEW Torchwood 2.08 "A Day in the Death"

Written by: Joseph Lidster

Directed by: Andy Goddard

Rating:

The One Where: Striking up a conversation with a woman contemplating suicide, Owen explains (via flashback) what it’s like to be a reanimated corpse. As he struggles to come to terms with his condition, Torchwood investigates an ageing multi-millionaire with a penchant for alien artefacts.

Verdict: It’s not easy being dead. That’s the theme of an episode that explores what life (well, sort of) is like when you don’t need to eat, drink or shave. Despite his voiceover’s maudlin tone, Burn Gorman makes you care more about Owen than at any point in series one, and this is cracking drama until the last act. The twist – that Owen is not contemplating suicide as you’re led to believe – is a neat (if obvious in hindsight) bit of misdirection, but his too-sudden change from self-loathing to resigned-to-his fate is over in a flash. And surely Richard Briers’s turn as a dying Howard Hughes-type was worthy of more screen time.

Nitpick: We know dead Owen doesn’t breathe, so how does he pass air over his vocal cords in order to talk?

Smell the Coffee! Ianto finally reveals his state-of-the-art coffee machine when he shows Owen the teaboy ropes. Shame Owen can’t drink.

Influences: The black glove Owen wears to hide his injured hand is very Luke Skywalker, while his post-death fragility echoes Death Becomes Her.

Farewell Martha: Her services no longer required, Martha departs the Hub. She does take the opportunity to snog Jack,though – “Well, everyone else has had a go”. It‘s just a shame that after her initial apperance in “Reset” she didn’t really get anything meaty to do in the next two episodes.

Best Line:
Jack: “Skinny guy in tight jeans runs into the water? I was taking pictures.”

Richard Edwards

Next Torchwood review: “Something Borrowed”
Previous Torchwood review: “Dead Man Walking”