I said at the outset that the series was threatening to come into its own. It now has. Writing and acting are now at the same standard, in this excellent character piece, which opens up many more questions about Jack and his missing brother. Adam inveigles himself into the team – an energy being who can manipulate memory. In changing remembered history piecemeal within the team he forces new looks at the key relationships – Jack and Gwen, Gwen and Rhys, Owen and Tosh, Jack and Ianto, and we see whether the real and fake relationships were based on chance or through something more primal. In cutting away the issues which at the end confound them all still, we could see their true potential and were left wondering where, under normal situations, things could really go.
The acting by the regular cast didn’t have a weak moment. The dynamic between Gwen and Rhys in particular is now driving the show, after being dreadfully written last series, and even Gwen’s feelings for Jack were given room to breathe and make sense. Despite Adam’s painfully 90s hair, he also enabled Jack to access lost memories about his family. The disappearance of his brother Gray was now given a context, leaving Captain John’s enigmatic closing line in episode 1 even more poignant. How did he find Gray, and who has he become? What implications will there be for Jack? Will the team move on after this, despite not remembering what happened (‘Eternal Happiness’), or will their personal lives continue to stagnate and be conflicted?
I was ready to give up on Torchwood at the end of series 1, but this week in particular we really had a chance to care for these characters, and the failings of series 1 really seem lost for good.