Children of Earth – Day 1 (2009)

The third series of Torchwood was the boldest one yet. Having started on BBC3 before moving to BBC2, the fact that the series had moved to a primetime slot on BBC1 was a ringing endorsement that Science Fiction was back in vogue. It could be seen odd that the series went from being thirteen episodes to five might be seen as a worrying sign but the series seemed to be part of a experiment as all five episodes were aired at 9pm on BBC1 over five consecutive nights.

Day One is the set up episode where the story has to introduce us to a whole group of new characters and make us interested in them and that is done quite well. We meet the government minister (John Frobisher) and his secretary (Bridget Spears) as well as the new temp Lois Habiba (Cush Jumbo). Then there is a nurse working in the A&E department Rupesh Patanjali (Rik Makarem) who witnesses something alien happening. Soon the main story starts with children acting weird. The image of children standing still with an alien voice coming out of them is something that is Russell T Davies is good at. Making the simplistic seem scary. Another character that is quite important is Clement McDonald who is the only adult to be uttering the “We Are Coming!” line. I quite like the mystery surrounding him and it well handled in this first episode.

At the start of the episode there is a scene with some kids on a bus in 1965, soon there is a flash of light with the kids walking towards it. Talk about starting off in style. However nothing more is mentioned in this episode. There is a lot of emotional stuff going on apart from the main alien threat, this is another RTD trick which he has mastered in Doctor Who since it returned. In this opening episode we are introduced to a mother and son with the son referring to Jack as ‘Uncle Jack’ we would find out that she is in fact her son and he is his grandson. We are also introduced to Ianto’s sister, boyfriend and kids who live on a council estate which isn’t where you would imagine his relative’s living. Also Gwen and Rhys are looking for a house and it’s also revealed that Gwen is pregnant. The way she finds out is possibly the strangest way for someone to find out.

The three main characters seemed to have grown even more since the end of series two and considering that they have lost Tosh and Owen the set up is stronger than ever. Jack and Ianto are a ‘couple’ though it’s never really beleiveable despite all the chemistry that there has been since Torchwood began. John Barrowman impresses me because when you see him on TV away from Torchwood he is an irritating person who you wouldn’t want to go anywhere near yet when he is playing Captain Jack in either Doctor Who or Torchwood he is impressive. Eve Myles continues to impress me as Gwen as she is the connection for the viewer and she has grown from that police officer in ‘Everything Changes’.

Despite being one long story, it is important to end each episode with a cliffhanger and the first one is a fantastic one. They plant a bomb inside Jack which explodes in the Torchwood Hub. It’s just as well that we only had to wait 24 hours for the next episode because it was the perfect way to end the first episode which did what it was suppose to do and that was to set the characters and the various plot strands up.

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