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Talk Back: Season Finale of "Torchwood"

Okay, now that the second season finale of Torchwood has aired on BBC America, we can finally get down to what I've been wanting to talk about for the last week or so: that ending!

If you read my original review of the sophomore season ender of Torchwood ("Exit Wounds") the other day, you know that I was kind enough to dance around a few issues rather than spoil the entire episode, but the spoiler warnings are off now, so beware!

Sniffle.

I was completely heartbroken by Toshiko's death. We all knew that not everyone from Torchwood 3 would make it out of this episode alive but I didn't really expect them to kill off both Tosh and Owen in the same episode.

I understand that Owen's story has really come full-circle at this point--dying, being brought back and discovering he can't truly die, and then, well, disintegrating--and there really wasn't anywhere else for the series' writers to take his character. His "King of the Weevils" status played off quite nicely in the season finale and his undead status allowed him to get into the heart of the nuclear power plant without feeling any effects of radiation poisoning, etc. He died as he lived, saving the world, but did so with a dignity that I didn't think we'd really ever get to see in the callous team medic. I'll miss him.

While Owen's death was sad, Toshiko's was absolutely painful. Shot from behind by Jack's psychopathic brother Gray, Tosh managed to keep herself alive long enough to stop the nuclear plant from obliterating the city of Cardiff and finally got to have a heart-to-heart with Owen. They never did get their date and I'm actually glad that the writers didn't cop to an episode where Owen and Tosh try their hand at love and discover that they have absolutely nothing in common. No, keeping these star-crossed lovers apart lends their demise an aura of resolute sadness, of felicity thwarted, and of an requited love that went to the grave.

There's also a sense of permanence to these deaths. Jack has now tried twice to revive fallen members of his team. The first time, he brought Suzie back to life with horrific consequences and then resurrected Owen... out of guilt? duty? Jack has a problem saying goodbye, especially to people under his command who die on his watch. Still, there's no going back from these deaths, which are as final as possible. There will be no glove-induced resurrection for Tosh or Owen.

Which is a good thing. MI-5 (aka Spooks) succeeded at raising its stakes because the audience never knew which characters were "safe" from being killed off at any time. They were all expendable and, in such a dangerous line of work, at high risk for death, dismemberment, or all of the above. In killing Tosh and Owen, Torchwood has succeeded in making the danger very real for Gwen and Ianto... while making the immortal Jack Harkness again feel the curse of his longevity in every iota of his very being.

And perhaps that's what Gray wanted all along.

What did you think of the Torchwood season finale? Talk back here.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Like you, I sat on my couch, watching and crying. They killed BOTH of them? The scene between the two of them absolutely broke my heart.

How can we possibly head into Season 3 of Torchwood without them?

Kill me now.
Anonymous said…
To me it seemed somehow fitting that Tosh and Owen went out "together." I'm not sure I could bear watching her go on with Owen dead. "Because you're breaking my heart" nearly broke mine. What sent me over the edge was not the actual deaths, but Toshiko's final message. (I, too, would prefer not to go out in an incident with a toaster.) I became a blubbery mess after the "I hope I did good."

And dare we hope for the return of Captain John in Season 3? There will be a Season 3, right?
Unknown said…
On your rec, over the last few weeks I rented season 1 and caught up on season 2 between on-demand and "other means" so that I would be prepared for the finale. Boy was it worth it. The show is tremendous and the finale did not let us down.

So sad to see Tosh go...and her message to the team..."broke my heart."

Looking forward to season 3.
Anonymous said…
sigh.
I can't even read reviews of Exit Wounds at my desk at work and not get all weepy feeling.
It killed me.
And poor Jack. You can't blame him for having such a hard time saying good bye when he has to do it _all the time_ - forever.
I can't wait to see where they take S3.
The CineManiac said…
Such a good, and heart-wrenching episode.
That shot of Gwen, Ianto, and Jack at the end was the worst for me. Torchwood looked so empty.
But with Owen gone, do you think they'll bring in Freema Agyeman's Martha to be the new medic?
I will say I really thought Rhys was going to get killed at the police station so I was relieved that didn't happen.
Also Anon, I believe the BBC has already picked it up for Series 3.
The CineManiac said…
One other thing I wanted to mention:
My only problem with the episode was Jack's return from being buried alive.
I mean he's buried alive, dying and coming back over and over again for over 1800 years and yet once he's found he's fine.
I kinda think he'd be a bit crazy and might have needed some rehabilitation from Torchwood once it found him, rather than just freezing him.
It reminds me of Angel going to hell in the end of Season 2 and coming back a bit feral and needing to be nursed back to stability in Season 3.
And if being buried alive for 1800 years isn't hell than I don't know what is.
Also Damn if Jack ain't really old at this point. No wonder he goes on to become the Face of Boe, he's just super old.
Anonymous said…
Awesome episode but I can't believe they killed both of them. Tosh was easily my favorite though I can see them putting Martha in to replace Owen but who would they get to replace Tosh? She'll be missed.
Anonymous said…
Incredible episode all around, much superior to last year's finale. And like others, it was that finale video from Tosh that sent me over the edge (okay, I was alredy sniffling but still. . .)

And let's not forget Marsters in this. Better performance the first time around, I thought he did a great job of playing the layers - not wanting to be Gray's stooge and yet, taking some pleasure out of hurting Jack. Great stuff.

Oh where will they go from here?
Harleypeyton said…
Lovely episode. Killing off characters is the new black, but I'm not sure it's always a good idea. My problem with the episode was the Big Bad. It sorta came out of nowhere, and the story would've benefited from some ramp time in previous episodes.

But it was still pretty heartbreaking.
It was a brave move to kill off both Tosh and Owen and I think it really paid off. The final scene between the two of them was one of the best ever for the show.

And I can't believe that, after all that, Jack still didn't kill Gray and just "froze" him instead. He really can't let go!
joy said…
Twas an awesome episode. Sobby McSobberson was I on the first go round. On the second, I was a little more controlled, but only because people were with me.

Even though I hold the UO crown for not liking Tosh, their scenes were incredible. And, they *finally* paid off the Toshiko standing in for OhWhen for the DW/Space Pig autopsy. I knew she was Toshiko, but couldn't figure the rest of the story. (Yep, I was probably late to the game on that one.)

Please hurry, Beeb, and figure out if you're coming back with a Series 3!
Anonymous said…
OK, I'll be the lone dissenter here. I found the whole "kill off some characters" schtick very disappointing. It's way too overdone, at least on US TV, for sweeps weeks and season enders. It doesn't have any shock value anymore and, at least in my case, just ticks me off. I watch shows because I enjoy the cast, their interplay and how they work through the storylines. Lately, the directors, writets and other behind the scene personnel seem to think it's all about them and actors are "plug-and-play" props. This seriously lowered my interest level toward next season. I watch a lot of shows and this one now is essentially in the startup mode, not returning series one.
Anonymous said…
I'm a big fan of torchwood and am looking forward to next season already. I will be the only one to say it, but I'm so happy Owen died. I just don't like even looking at him, something creepy there.

I was sad to see Tosh go. Though I thought she'd played her part out as far as it could go. I'm excited for new blood. I'd like to see Ianto develop to be more than "the toy".

Lastly, I agree with the poster that wanted to see more emotional impact from Jack. Berried for that long with no impact???
Anonymous said…
The deaths were great everything done well...captain john as always was a great villian....but Grey....seemed totally unbelieveable and contrived? You let go of my hand as a child in the middle of a world ending disaster...I need to spend my whole existance hunting you and plotting your demise...even after he apologised..Ususally I feel Torchwood does a good job of tying loose ends together...but I just didn't buy this...maybe the actor didn't sell it enough

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