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The Sound of a Nightingale or a Swan Song on "Torchwood"?

If you haven't yet watched this week's episode of Torchwood here in the US, stop reading now.

For those of you who did watch the Doctor Who spin-off series this weekend, I have to admit that I was surprised and shocked by the end of this week's pivotal installment ("Reset"), which appeared to kill off snarky series regular Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) after he saved the life of his new colleague (and Doctor Who transplant) Dr. Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman).

"Reset" managed to capture precisely the sort of tone and scope of Torchwood that I always want every single episode to have and brought its audience just the right mix of mystery, aliens, intrigue, and murder, along with the first of a multiple-episode arc with Martha.

I had a feeling someone was meant to die, what with the promo depicting a gun-toting Alan Dale (here playing the head of a pharmaceutical research firm called The Pharm which was experimenting with alien DNA) and the fact that Toshiko FINALLY asked Owen out on a date. So I figured that one of them would be the one to catch that bullet.

As much as I was shocked and saddened by Owen's murder, I do have to say that I was happy that, for a change, we didn't have yet another example of Women in Refrigerators Syndrome here. It's far easier to pull the audience's heartstrings when a woman is unnecessarily killed on a television series so I am glad that the producers didn't opt for the death of the lovely Tosh, whose computer skills, social maladjustment, and unrequited love for Owen have quickly made her a favorite of mine since her initial appearance on Doctor Who's first season.

As for Owen, he died as he lived: saving lives. Finally able to calibrate the weird alien device that he's been blowing things up with throughout the episode, Owen manages to disintegrate the alien parasite implanted within Martha by the evil Professor Copley (Alan Dale), thus saving her life... and he does so again when he steps away from Martha to try to talk the gun-wielding Copley down, only to get shot in the chest. It's a painful reminder that no one on this team--save maybe Jack--is truly safe and that, despite battling rift monsters, aliens, and all sort of world-ending baddies, any one of them can be felled by something as ordinary and mundane as a human-made bullet.

However, this is Torchwood, so I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't quite the end of Owen's story. After all, Jack has a resurrection glove that could be used to bring Owen back to life, but after seeing what it did to Suzie last season, I have to wonder if that would be a good thing in the long run. Still, it's a nice little paradox to have Jack have far too much life for his body (read: immortality) and Owen with not enough. Perhaps some sort of life force transfer protocol is in order? Hmmm.

As for the brilliant Martha, it was fantastic to see her interact with the techies at Torchwood. She's definitely grown and deepened as a character since her first appearance and I will admit that, as much as I loved Rose Tyler, I do have a certain fondness for Martha as well. Maybe it's something to do with her saving the world when even the Doctor was incapacitated by the Master. (Loved the shoutout to that episode when Jack told Copley that he doesn't really listen to Whitehall--or politicians--anymore.)

So what happens next? Will Martha take Owen's place as the team's resident doctor? We'll have to wait to find out. But I bet that Owen's untimely death will stir up some pent-up emotion among the Torchwood crowd. And I can't wait to be there to find out just how the team bounces back from this tragedy...

Next week on Torchwood ("Dead Man Walking"), the team tries to process Owen's death, Martha prepares Owen's autopsy, Jack unleashes a force that uses Torchwood as a conduit to wreak havoc across the planet... and is that the resurrection glove that I see? Find out next week.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: How I Met Your Mother/Welcome to the Captain (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Gossip Girl (CW); A Raisin in the Sun (ABC; 8-11 pm); Moment of Truth (FOX)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS); My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad (NBC); Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (CW); Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX)

10 pm: CSI Miami (CBS); Medium (NBC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Gossip Girl.

It's another chance to catch up on the teen soap. On tonight's repeat episode ("The Handmaiden's Tale"), Dan's childhood friend Vanessa returns to Manhattan and hopes to be more than just BFFs; Dan and Jenny sneak into Blair's costumed ball.

8-10 pm: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

On tonight's double-header ("Vick's Chip" and "What He Beheld"), Sarah makes a business transaction with a mystery man as John defends Cameron against Derek's accusation, Ellison makes an enemy, and Cromartie closes in on our heroes.

8:30 pm: Welcome to the Captain.

It's not the best series out there, but there's something winsome about this low-key comedy. (And, hell, at least it's scripted.) On tonight's episode ("Mr. Big Meeting"), Josh scores a meeting with the president of Paramount (yay, vertical integration!), thanks to Marty, but Saul insists that he help Josh prep for the sit-down.

9:30 pm: Old Christine.

On tonight's episode ("Between a Rock and a Hard Place"), Christine tries to get over her breakup with Mr. Harris while Matthew enters therapy and learns he is too co-dependent on his sister.

10 pm: No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain on Travel Channel.

It's a brand new season of No Reservations on the Travel Channel; follow enfant terrible chef Anthony Bourdain as he travels the world in search of good food. In tonight's installment, Tony heads to Hawaii, where he checks out the North Shore surf at Banzai Pipeline, hits Sunset Beach on a jet ski, and attends a luau at Paradise Cove.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The funny thing about gloves.. they always come in pairs... Ianto Jones, 1st series :-)

-teckboyny
The last few episodes have been excellent. It was great seeing Martha Jones in the Torchwood mix. She and Gwen are fun together and Martha adds a certain lightness to a normally dark, intense group of people.

Speaking of darkness...I really hope that Owen isn't gone for good. He was one of my favorite characters and I can't imagine the show without him!!
Harleypeyton said…
Couple things. First, there's no way Owen stays dead. None. Second, there's little chance Martha will stick around for more than a couple episodes -- don't forget, she returns to Dr. Who in the middle of the upcoming season.
Anonymous said…
@Harley: Yeah, Martha is only around for a few episodes but that doesn't mean that she won't take Owen's place... for now anyway.

Thought it was a great ep and definitely one of those moments that make Torchwood worth watching. I can't wait for Saturday!

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