It’s been a while since I’ve delved into the archives of Torchwood – if by “while” I mean “three frakking months”. So sorry to keep you waiting – and with season two of the Doctor Who spin-off nearing, it’s time we best get down to it…
Which is what episode five, entitled “Small Worlds”, did. While not the Toshiko episode I was hoping for (and will hopefully get!), it was a creepy little watch that shed a little bit of light on Captain Jack’s past as a time-traveller while adding shades to the mysterious character. We learnt of his one great fear – fairies. But oh no, not the ones of the greeting card variety – these fairies were creepy grasshopper-like beings with Gollum voices and bad teeth that trusted in an equally creepy little girl by the name of Jasmine (Lara Phillinpart) – but that’s for later… We have questions to ponder.
First and foremost, Jack’s time-travelling shenanigans had found him looking after his love from WWII, Estelle (Eve Pierce) – for a good two years he had posed as the son of the man she had fallen in love with, without ever once telling her both were the same man. And he didn’t get a good chance to tell her, seeing as Estelle ended up being killed by the very fairies she was fascinated with. These fairies could alter the weather around them to their advantage, and after killing a paedophile via rose-asphyxiation (inventive), they lured Jack’s ex-girlfriend outside, drowning her with a relentless onpour of rain. Nasty.
Another person affected by the shifts in the weather? Gwen, whose flat was broken into and dirtied. Looking at the mess made and by the odd little statues left on the floor, shouldn’t Gwen’s boyfriend be noticing how odd things have been getting recently?
And looking back on the Estelle/Jack storyline – it’s a heck of a shame that Estelle was killed in this episode, because I would personally like to learn more about their previous courtship. A creepy flashback to a train ride in 1909 Lahore showed us Jack was in the command of a group of army men but didn’t reveal much else – what gives? Did the Jack episodes on Doctor Who reveal anything I should know? And just who or what does that bottled hand belong to if it wasn’t Estelle? (My guess: Jack is a time-travelling manslut. Just a guess here.)
As for the creepy little fairy-friended brat, Lara Phillinpart sure as hell managed to creep me out – when she said to Jack and Gwen, with a hint of undeniable excitement, “next we’ll kill everyone at my school!”, my eyebrows shot straight up to my forehead a la Roger Moore.
Maybe it’s just me, but the scene where she tormented her bullies with a fairy-led gust of aggressive wind felt like an elaborate tribute to a certain Steven King novel you may have heard of… (My notes read as follows: “Carrie Carrie Carrie Carrie CARRIE CARRIE CARRIE CARRIE”.) I thought that the fairy Jasmine talked to in her room was her dad, seeing how she was simply living with her step-father.
So did he die and was communicating with her through the fairies? Will we see more of the now-disappeared Jasmine? Will Jack’s slightly dickheaded decision to essentially not save a little girl from doom have consequences amongst the team? Or am I simply trying too hard to make it simpler than another incomprehensible “chosen one” saga?
A lot was packed into this episode, leaving it feeling a little overstuffed after “Cyberwoman” and meaning that the rest of the team barely got a look in – although there’s still noticeable animosity between Ianto and Jack, the kind that doesn’t easily fade once you hold a gun to each others’ head. To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of revelations about Jack’s past and in the lack of quality snarks, but a solid episode nonetheless. And my head is already bursting with questions, but here’s the most important ones of the week:
1. Did the Torchmobile, as I am now calling it, look badass in this episode or what?2. Did anybody notice the Torchmobile going well over 20mph in a school zone? How can you be a secret organisation if you’re speeding in front of children?3. Will somebody get the message already to turn the freaking volume down when it comes to the score?
Til next week, folks. It’s good to be amongst friends again. Yes, even you, Owen.