Monday, 4 December 2006

Torchwood - "They Keep Killing Suzie" 9/10

Apologies for the delay in my reviews. I've missed last week's episode on all it's screenings, but may still catch up later.
So here's my take on "They Keep Killing Susie", basically a sequel to the first episode but (in my opinion) a little more clever. It's the only one of the run written by the combo of Paul Tomalin and Dan McCulloch and the second (after "Cyberwoman") directed by James Strong. Strong is now back at "Doctor Who" handling the 1930s New York-set 2-parter.

But back to the hub ...
A spate of serial killings throw up clues which eventually lead the team back to the 'ressurection glove' and dead ex-colleague Suzie Costello (Indira Varma), handily kept in cold storage. Jack at first attempts to use the glove but fails, so Gwen volunteers and is quite adept, if traumatised. So Gwen brings Susie back to life, albeit with the latter still bearing her fatal shotgun wounds through the head. Lucky for Susie it was a remarkably 'clean' wound!
Strangely, Susie does not 'die' again after the requisite time. She is interrogated at the hub and reveals her father is dying of cancer. Meanwhile Max, an erstwhile acquaintance of Suzie's, is also confined in the Hub cells under heavy suspicion of committing the serial killings. Suddenly Max manages to trigger a complete lockdown just as Jack discovers Susie and Gwen have fled. It transpires that not only has Suzie planned everything out, she is also aware that her 'death-force', complete with wounds are being transferred slowly to Gwen and it will soon prove fatal. Gwen has taken Susie to the hospital where her father lies in life support. Shockingly, she rips away the tubes and wires to kill him - this was not the sentimental visit Gwen had assumed.
By this time Gwen is in a worse way than Suzie and back at the hub they are trying to escape. Jack and team manage this by solving Suzie's complex trap, which involves an ISDN number from a book of Emily Dickenson poetry and the help of a policewoman (Yasmin Bannerman) on the end of a phone.
The gang race off in pursuit and there's eventually a dawn showdown with Suzie and the near-dead Gwen. Despite firing a volley of bullets into Suzie, she still won't die, and the effect is not reversed. Finally Jack realises the glove too must be destroyed, which Tosh immediately does. As Suzie finally dies she whispers a final prophecy to Jack, no doubt one which will be returned to. Day saved by Torchwood once more!
But that was not all. As with "Countrycide" the very last scene was unconnected with the main story and again revealed (albeit so subtly that it was cryptic) that 2 of the team are shagging without any previous signposting to the audience. Since this was Jack and Ianto again it was 2 who seemed unlikely to be even friendly given events in "Cyberwoman". Ianto also appears to call Jack 'Sir' even in this context - rather kinky!
There's a few imperfections to the logic of Suzie's best laid plans and a big continuity concern when night turns suddenly to dawn near the end but I thought it was one of the best as well as one of the more adult in a grown-up way. There's also possible hints to the future with Suzie's last words and the late realisation that gloves come in pairs.

Screencaps courtesy of The Institute

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