Escape to LA (2011)

Torchwood goes a bit brighter. Well they go from wandering around in the night to lovely sunshine. It’s at this stage the series needs to settle down and move on otherwise the series will not work. It still doesn’t feel like a series of Torchwood just a sci-fi show that happens to have Torchwood in it. The story is shifted from Washington DC to Los Angeles which is the right thing to do because the story needed a new thing in it to keep it going. Quite why they had to go to the other side of the USA is anyone’s guess. But the story needed it and that meant we got a bit of colour and also a new phrase ‘Dead is Dead’. Which is a new policy set up by Ellis Hartley Munroe and it’s a plan to segregate all the people who are dying until death returns and takes them. She is working for the people behind this odd triangle logo whilst Oswald – deep in the bosom of PhiCorp – continues his path of madness. One of the best scenes in the entire episode occurred with the Torchwood crew and that’s the first time this series that I could say that. It’s when Gwen and Jack are trying to steal the server from PhiCorp. It was tense, dramatic and occurred with the obligatory hiccup when Gwen is knocked out. When Gwen is threatened by the man I did have the genuine fear that something nasty was going to happen to her. This was achieved partly by the superb acting of Eve Myles who continues to shine and seems to be enjoying herself. Even John Barrowman seems to be settling down and gives one of his best performances so far. After the unnecessary ‘sex scene’ in the previous episode it was good that felt they had enough to not resort to that. I’m also still impressed with Mekhi Phifer who as Rex Matheson seems to have changed the most in the four episodes. He’s the gun toting shoot now ask questions later kind of character and that’s a fresh thing to have in the series. Alexa Havins is the only person in the new team that hasn’t impressed me so far but she really went up in my estimations in this episode. She starts off by visiting her sister and reporting her to social services and she spends the rest of the episode battling with her guilt. I thought this was really good and the guilt continued even when Gwen and Jack where doing their Mission Impossible thing.

Mare Winningham is another good piece of casting. This was her episode as she was the one trying to steal the thunder from Oswald Danes. She seemed to be working with this mysterious figure who when Danes turns the tide back in his favour, decides that Munroe is surplus to requirements and meets a grizzly end by being crushed in the limo that she was in. The final shot of her is her eye moving. It was quite a grim moment but excellently done. For that brief moment that these two were at odds it was some of the best stuff in the series so far. Bill Pullman is the best thing in this episode (I keep saying it and will continue to do so). There was a bit where it seemed like he was in the pocket of this PhiCorp but within 10 seconds in the scene at the hospital where he crosses the press line it shows that he thinks or is in control. His speech in the hospital is another fine speech and Pullman seems to be growing in confidence with each episode.

If I had a complaint about this episode is that the cliffhanger was horribly predictable. From the moment they started talking about patients being lumped into one hospital I was wondering at what stage we hear about Gwen’s dad who in episode one is unwell. This is the only complaint that I have really because for the first time the series is starting to feel like a Torchwood one and that’s been a major issue for me. The writing was good, the acting was good and as usual the scenery was stunning. As we get to the half way stage its looking like it’s shaping up to being a very good second half.

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