Yes, in a shock development, this week's BBC3 episode did NOT have the hideous fuchsia pink channel logo floating in the corner of the screen, as discussed in a recent rant by me! Oddly enough, I emailed the Beeb and complained about the unsightly graphics a couple of weeks ago, thinking nothing would come of it. But good grief, are the Powers That Be actually listening? Or was it simply left off by mistake? I suspect the latter explanation may be the correct one, particularly since the programme that followed DID feature the logo in all its nastiness. But hey, for a brief moment BBC3 was logo-less and lo, it was good.
And now, my briefer-than-usual thoughts on "From Out of the Rain". Or, as it perhaps should have been named, "Damp Squib":
- I missed the on-screen credit for it, but it was immediately clear that this episode was written by the same writer as Small Worlds. Jack hearing strange whispering noises in the Hub, check. Big mystic portentous things happening that make no sense, check. A few striking images, but no emotional involvement, check. Bad things happening to a cardboard suburban family with small children, check. Jack playing Grab-a-Granny again, check.
And indeed, P.J. Hammond was the writer of both episodes. And unfortunately so, because, to be brutally frank, I think that this and Small Worlds are contenders for the worst TW episodes ever. Why? Because as a writer, he seems to have no interest at all in the Torchwood characters or their personalities or relationships or anything that makes the show engaging, entertaining or watchable. This could almost have been an episode of anything: the TW team were only there to move around like sock puppets, spouting plot points and advancing the Mystic and Portentous storyline. The only one he seems at all interested in is Jack, and only because his immortality seemingly makes him a good vehicle for Mystic Portentousness (TM), despite the fact that it's nothing like anything the Jack we know would ever say.
I really like Torchwood -- if I didn't, I wouldn't write about it every week -- and despite the occasional ropey moments and ridiculous storylines, the characters and their interaction are why I enjoy it so much. Sure, the team are flawed and inconsistent and impulsive and immature, but that's why they feel like real people, and that's why I care about them. But here there was nothing. A few spots of atmosphere, but virtually no relevance to anything that has gone before in the series and (I'm guessing here) anything that will come after. A chance for loads of scenes featuring just Jack and Ianto should be a great opportunity, yet all they ever did was engage in endless plot exposition. What a sad waste.
- This being my general attitude to the episode, my additional thoughts this week are pretty thin on the ground. Only a couple of lighthearted lines managed to raise a spark of interest: "He's part of this freakshow" / "Yeah, some things never change", and the nudge-nudge reference to Ianto's "local knowledge
for local people".
- So Ianto, Gwen and Owen choose to spend a Wednesday night watching a creakily filmed piece of spurious entertainment with no discernable plot, and the sole point of interest being that they might get a quick glimpse of Jack. Hmm. Does this remind you of anything?
- Despite my belief that we won't ever see this interest of his mentioned ever again, Ianto's cinema geekitude is just about in character for him. And he has such a sweet look on his fact when he's being nerdy.
- And for one week only, please welcome our special guest villains, Count Olaf and his gang! I'm glad to see they are still getting a bit of work for themselves, especially now that A Series of Unfortunate Events has come to a close. (Hey, perhaps when Jack went to investigate the Night Travellers, he was working for VFD? Let's face it, it couldn't make the plot any MORE silly...)
- Also, I wonder whether Jack's travelling show days coincide with his twin acrobat shagging days? Then again, Jack seems like the type who just runs into sexy twin acrobats down at the Cardiff branch of Starbucks on a Tuesday afternoon.
- In conclusion: dull, dull, dull. Aside from a couple of nice shots of Ianto, both in manly motion (rawr) and viewed stationary from the rear (why hello there, pert young man), my brain could happily retcon the whole thing tomorrow and I wouldn't even flinch.
Only three more episodes left in the series now, alas! Let's hope they pick up the pace from this point on...