Torchwood – Children of Earth

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I watched “Torchwood – Children of Earth” last week and I have to say it was better than I expected. WARNING! This entry contains SPOILERS! If you do not want to know the ending, look away now and do not read the rest of this post.

I almost turned off at the beginning of episode 1 – at the credit saying “written by Russel Davies”. His Dr Who episodes have been poor and his notion of making Torchwood “more adult” was to have sex (gay and straight) in it.

Children of Earth is certainly dark. A species of alien want human children because they can get a high from them. They also initiate contact by speaking through Earth’s children. They use English throughout the world. The reasopn turns out that this is the human language the aliens (referred to as the 456 from the radio frequency they originally used) understand because they have had previous contact with Britain in 1965.

The current government wishes to keep the lid on this and an early reaction is an attempt to eliminate Torchwood (now reduced to Jack, Ianto and Gwen). Jack is blown to bits by the bomb which destroys the Cardiff Hub but regenerates from some bits in a body bag. Two thoughts on this. First he breaks the law of conservation of mass doing this. Second, why do the bits the government failed to find not regenerate to make another copy of Jack?

They also keep UNIT out of the loop until after the 456 representative has teleported (via a pillar of fire) into a specially built chamber (It requires an atmosphere toxic to terrestrial life).

The 456 announces that it wants 10% of Earth’s children to be handed over. Britain’s contribution is to be 325,000. A quibble here – There are 11.5 million children aged 16 and under in Britain. The 456 want children who have not yet reached puberty, which would mean the onder 12s. Assuming each year’s cohort is the same size that would mean approximately 7.9 million pre-pubescent children and Britain’s share would be 790,000.

There is a very disturbing scene where the selection process is decided upon. The cabinet inevitably exempts their own children and the decision is eventually made that the children will be drawn from schools from the bottom of the league tables as these are considered to be less useful to society.

At the end of this discussion, Lois (a PA) outs herself as a [recently recruited] Torchwood agent and explains that the entire discussion has been recorded by Torchwood and unless Jack Harkness is brought on board the discussion will be made public.

Eventually, Jack and Ianto find themselves in Thames House where the alien resides. In a show of strength the alien seals Thames House and releases a fast-acting toxin into the aair, killing everybody inside except Jack.

Jack eventually realises that the only way humans can fight the 456 is to feed it’s own frequency back to it (Davies shows his weak point here. He always seems to wrap up the ploy in a load of gobbledygook). They need a child to use as an amplifier. The only one available is his own grandchild – who gets used even though Jack knows it will be fatal.

After the 456 is driven off, Jack also leaves Earth. One wonders whether this is the end of Torchwood as the only survivors are Lois and a (now heavily pregnant) Gwen.

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