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Kiss Kiss, Bang, Bang: An Early Look at "Torchwood" Season Two Premiere

I am absolutely hooked on Torchwood, the sleek and sexy spin-off of the BBC's venerable Doctor Who franchise, which is poised to kick off its sophomore season this week on sister network BBC America.

For those of you who have missed out on this addictive series, fret not: Torchwood's first season DVD is due out, well, today in fact. Giving you no excuse not to be up to speed when Torchwood launches its second season this weekend.

Thanks to the good folks at BBC America, I was able to take a sneak peak at Torchwood's season opener ("Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"), written by Chris Chibnall, and it is a doozy, to say the least, reuniting the Torchwood team and sending them out into the field to face a threat unlike any other they've battled so far, while they get a long overdue glimpse into Jack's past.

During Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)'s mysterious absence from the alien-fighting team he assembled (during which he teamed up with the Doctor and Martha Jones to save the world over on the third season of Doctor Who), the gang has come together stronger than ever under the leadership of Jack's protege, the now-engaged Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles). Which isn't to say that they aren't overjoyed when Jack turns up again without so much as an explanation during an alien hostage crisis. (After all, they agree, things are much more fun when Jack's around.)

Still, Jack's not the only thing that's recently come through the Rift. That other figure cutting a murderous swath through Cardiff? That would be Captain John Hart, another ex-Time Agent with a love/hate connection to Jack's past whom would just as easily kill him as kiss him. And, yes, before you ask, these two do end up going at it in a barroom brawl that's equal parts savagery and foreplay, all set to the tune of Blur's "Song 2."

Oh, did I mention that John is played by none other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer's James Marsters, who excels at these sort of charming rogue Brit types? Here, John injects a blend of malice, allure, and insanity as a Time Agent with a murderous streak and a devil-may-care glint in his eyes... and a kiss that could stop a person's heart.

Without giving too much away, Marsters' presence kick-starts Torchwood's second season in some pretty unexpected ways, placing each of the characters in peril right from the start, and forcing Jack to come clean about some elements of his mysterious past... and his unique powers (the dude can't die). After casually killing a criminal, John reaches out to Torchwood with a proposition: he needs help locating three canisters of unimaginable power before they explode and turn Cardiff into a sinkhole. Or that's what John claims anyway, concealing the truth about the canisters' true purpose. And so the team splits up in the hopes of covering more ground... allowing John to pick them off one by one in some very interesting ways. (Poor, poor Gwen!) As for how they manage to get out of this sticky wicket (and which one of their coterie comes to their rescue), you'll have to tune in this weekend to find out.

However, I will reveal that I was absolutely gleeful over a third-act reveal in which John whispers something to Jack about having seen "Grey," prompting Jack to have a flashback to a little boy's hand slipping out of an adult's. Is Grey Jack's son? Brother? Father? A fellow Time Agent cast out in the web of time? Jack, always keeping his cards close to the vest, isn't telling, but I feel like it's only a matter of time (heh) before we do learn a bit more about Jack's mysterious past... and feel that maybe we haven't seen the last of the maniacal John Hart.

Entering its second season, Torchwood is still a darker reflection of Doctor Who, seen through a cracked mirror, its characters dangerously human: flawed, self-absorbed, and sometimes unfailingly selfish. And that's what makes the series such dark fun, watching the world's last line of defense against alien incursion be just as messed up as you or I, falling in and out of romantic entanglements, and trying their best to live to see another day.

Captain Jack, it's good to have you back.

Torchwood airs Saturday evenings at 9 pm ET/PT on BBC America.


Anonymous said…
Nothing can replace Doctor Who in my heart but I find Torchwood to be hugely entertaining and am really looking forward to the second season and to James Marsters guest appearance!
Anonymous said…
For those who can wait (or like to re-watch ;-) and have HDnet on their cable system, you can watch Torchwood in high-definition goodness starting February 11 :)

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