Torchwood, Series One: The EPIC FAIL Project
Episode 13: "Apocalypse FAIL" aka "End of Days"
We open with Gwen and Rhys having a happy morning, so we know that can't last. She gets a call from work and turns on the news, where we learn that aliens are invading the Taj Mahal (...again) and conquistadors are robbing banks in London or something. The TV announcer solemnly reports that people are saying this is Judgment Day, ignoring the fact that people of the subway soap-box variety say this EVERY day and that the apocalyptic parts of the Bible are curiously reticent on the subjects of aliens and time-traveling conquistadors. So, in other words, FAIL.
Torchwood: Can't cause a proper apocalypse!
It's not much better at the Hub, where Ianto decides to randomly Bible-thump:
IANTO: And I heard but did not understand, and I said "Master, what is the end of all these things?" and he said "Go, Daniel, for the things are closed up and sealed until the end of time". Daniel 12:10.
GWEN: Sounds a bit close for comfort.
1) That's actually verses 8-9.
2) Since when does Ianto walk around quoting the Old Testament?
3) Dear Gwen: Aside from "and I heard but did not understand," this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with ANYTHING that's going on.
In conclusion: FAIL.
They would have been better off if everyone had just quoted the Bible TOTALLY AT RANDOM, because it would have made AT LEAST as much sense.
"End of Days" Revised Scene:
IANTO: That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, bagpipes, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye shall fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the King hath set up. Daniel 3:5.
TOSH: He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. Deuteronomy 23:1.
OWEN: And Elisha turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two children of them. II Kings 2:23-24.
JACK: My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. Song of Solomon 5:4.
GWEN: Sounds a bit close for comfort.
So far, Torchwood is O for 2 on their Apocalyptic checklist. Even The Mummy did better than this, and they only managed SIX of the Ten Plagues of Egypt. (This raises an interesting point: who fails worse at their job, Torchwood or the Medjai? Discuss.)
It turns out random and not-apocalyptic stuff is happening all over the world, and it all traces back to Cardiff. More importantly, the Doctor's Hand-inna-Jar is on the blink. OH NOES!
Jack emerges from his office and complains that he's been fending off phone calls from world leaders demanding an explanation for all the crazy shenanigans. So not only does the ENTIRE PLANET know about Torchwood, they know that Torchwood fails at their job and assume (correctly) that they're to blame.
Turns out all this is happening because Owen broke the Rift. He gets all defensive and claims he was only trying to rescue Jack and Tosh
OWEN: Are we going to sit around, crying into our lattes, or are we gonna do something about it?
Unfortunately for Owen, no one is actually drinking coffee. Jack tells everyone to just concentrate on Phase I of the plan, which is to handle all the crises occurring around Cardiff. Owen totally calls him on Phase II, which is apparently "make something up as I go along," and demands to know why Jack won't do anything to make it all better. Jack says he can't do anything because OWEN BROKE THE RIFT. Owen gets pissy, and Gwen tries to defend him:
GWEN: He has feelings too, Jack!
JACK: You would know!
1) Jack, you BITCH.
2) THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE.
Owen and Tosh go to investigate an outbreak of the plague at the local hospital, while Jack and Gwen team up with PC Andy to deal with a stray Roman Legionnaire. Gwen sees Creepy Man from the last episode, so she and Jack go investigate him. He escapes them by stepping through time, but not before revealing his powers and showing Gwen a vision of Rhys dead. Interestingly, he does this by telling Gwen "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry." OMG EV0L DOKTAR!!1!!
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Tosh sees a vision of her mother, who gives her an unspecified warning about the future. Also somewhere in here, Ianto has a vision of Lisa, who tells him that he can save her from ever becoming an evil robot woman if he opens the Rift
Back at the Hub, Owen yells at Jack some more, saying he's a crap leader who doesn't tell them anything about who he is or where he came from. Well done, Owen! Way to pay attention. However, more constructive and, you know, RELEVANT criticism might be more helpful.
Jack finally snaps and fires Owen. Everyone is shocked that you actually CAN get fired from Torchwood, since unleashing alien terror, hiding alien terror in the basement, bringing alien terror into the Hub, and BREAKING THE RIFT are apparently not firing offenses, and really, where can you go from there? Anyways, Owen storms out in tears.
Gwen goes home, zaps Rhys with her stun gun, and locks him in a cell in the Hub to keep him safe. He is not very pleased with this. However, no sooner does she start keeping an eye on him in the CCTV then the power goes out:
JACK: Nobody panic!
GWEN: RHYYYYS!!!!! ::runs off in panic::
Creepy Man appears in the cells and stabs Rhys with what looks suspiciously like a barbecue fork. Gwen finds Rhys too late, and he dies. She flips out, and it's quite sad, really, garnering a WIN because it is touching and ACTING!-free and there's nary a kitchen sink in sight.
Meanwhile, Owen has been drowning his sorrows at a bar, where Diane appears to tell him she's trapped in the Rift and he needs to save her. He returns to the Hub to find Gwen in a state of shock over Rhys' death:
GWEN: This is what happens here.
If by "this" you mean "love interests die/disappear", you are 100% correct, Gwen. She decides that opening the Rift will somehow bring back Rhys. Led by Gwen, and influenced by the obviously sinister urgings of Creepy Man's visions of their loved ones, Torchwood decides to mutiny and open the Rift.
Guess the name 'Captain Jack' is unlucky. By this point everyone believes that opening the Rift will suck all the crazy shenanigans back in, return their loved ones, and dispense candy.
Instead of trying to stop his rapidly rebelling team, Jack starts insulting them all, possibly banking on the notion that you need high self-esteem to commit mutiny. It kind of backfires, though, since Owen, in a fit of rage, shoots Jack. A lot.
Torchwood: It's all fun and games until someone empties a clip into their commanding officer!
Exhibit A: The ugly face of mutiny. And Owen.
Everyone is shocked, but that doesn't stop them from opening the Rift anyway, which is easy because Jack hasn't gotten around to fixing his password FAIL from the last episode. But instead of unleashing happy fun, the Rift triggers an earthquake that starts destroying the Hub (though it does make dead!Rhys disappear, which is probably an improvement over being stabinated).
Jack wakes up, much to everyone's (except Gwen's) surprise, and is Not Pleased. They escape the collapsing Hub only to find that opening the Rift has allowed Creepy Man to summon forth TERRIBLE CGI, aka Abaddon.
MY DESTROYER OF WORLDS IS PASTEDE ON YAY.
Yes, all the foreshadowing and dire premonitions of the season have culminated in a cut-rate Godzilla. Surely they could have found a better Antichrist:
And remember, always be sure to dress warmly when bringing about the end of days.
Apparently, opening the Rift unleashes all sorts of FAIL, like Lame Demon FAIL, "We've-been-watching-too-much-SPooN-and-t
See, kids, this is why you should't play with the Rift!
As conveniently exposited by Creepy Man before he mysteriously disappears forever, Abaddon sucks the life out of everything his shadow touches, so it kind of sucks for everyone that he's standing in the middle of Cardiff. Fortunately, Jack has a Cunning Plan:
JACK: If he feeds on life, then I'm an all-you-can-eat buffet!
Jack lures Abaddon out of the city with the traditional demon-challenging battle cry of "BRING IT ON!", and defeats him by doing the DEMON BUFFET LIMBO.
This must be a force of good because it makes my soul so very happy. I think we should all take a moment to contemplate the fact that Jack just defeated the Antichrist or whatever by MAKING HIM OVEREAT. I cannot stress how much this WINS at EVERYTHING FOREVER.
Unfortunately, the DEMON BUFFET LIMBO really takes it out of Jack, and he doesn't revive.
Most of the team give him up for dead fo realz, and mope around cleaning up, hopefully while feeling terrible about mutinying and unleashing demonic terror upon the unsuspecting populace, thus causing their boss to sacrifice his life with NO DIGNITY WHATSOEVER. Also, Ianto sniffs Jack's coat and cries, which might be a tiny bit hilarious.
Gwen, however, insists that Jack is only pining for the fjords, and keeps watch over his dead body with increasingly crazy hair.
THE STAGES OF GRIEF: PICTORIAL EVIDENCE
Stage 1: Denial
Stage 2: Boredom
Stage 3: Insanity
Sure enough, Jack comes back to life and forgives everyone. After all, what's a little mutiny among friends? There are hugs and kisses all around, and Owen cries like a little girl. It's GREAT.
Also, somewhere in here, we find out that Rhys is alive and well
Jack leaves Gwen in his office and wanders out into the Hub, where he notices that the Hand-inna-Jar is bubbling excitedly. Suddenly, a familiar VWORP-VWORP noise begins. WIN!
Some unspecified time later, Gwen wanders out into the Hub and notices a distinct lack of Jack, so she decides to engage in one last FAIL for old times' sake. The rest of the team returns from the coffee expedition, and Gwen asks if they saw Jack on the way down. Since they didn't, Gwen immediately assumes that he's been ABDUCTED BY ALIENS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HUB ("Something's taken him! Jack's gone!") instead of, you know, USING THE STAIRS TO ESCAPE TO A BETTER SHOW.
After this shocking revelation, we end with a rapid panoramic zoom out of Cardiff accompanied by triumphant pirate music, boldly backing away from the epic fail that IS Torchwood.
The Fail Scale
- Apocalypse FAIL
- Irrelevant Bible passages FAIL
- Mutiny FAIL
- LAME DEMON FAIL
- Unleashing demonic terror upon the unsuspecting populace, YET AGAIN, FAIL
- SPooN/DW ripoff FAIL
- OMG KIDNAPPED! FAIL
- Gwen grieves without ACTING! or kitchen sinks
- DEMON BUFFET LIMBO
- JACK ESCAPES TO DOCTOR WHO!
Total Score: -4, plus ONE MILLION AWESOMELY BAD BONUS POINTS
Death by Torchwood:
Jack (twice), Abaddon, Cardiff. I'd say an entire city counts as the record high.
Captain's Blog: Civilian deaths: Oh, lots.
TOTALS FOR THE SERIES
Record High Total FAIL: -5 ("Cyberwoman")
Record Low Total FAIL: 2 ("Out of Time")
Most FAIL in one episode: -7 ("End of Days")
Most WIN in one episode: 4 ("Combat" and "They Keep Killing Suzie")
Average FAIL per episode: -1.167
Overall FAIL for Series One: -14
Greatest Victim of Death by Torchwood: Jack (four times, once self-inflicted)
Cause of Most Death by Torchwood: Gwen Cooper (9 victims via sex alien, not to mention contributing to the death of Cardiff)
Average Deaths by Torchwood per episode: 2.23 (not counting Cardiff)
Overall Death by Torchwood: 29 (And Cardiff)
SPECIAL FEATURES FOR THE SPECIAL SHOW
The Demon Buffet Limbo: Now with Musical Awesome! (Courtesy of Laura)
Jack Runs Away from EPIC FAIL (Spoilers for DW Series 3!)
Billy Joel + Torchwood = Musical WIN
Screencaps from time-and-space.co.uk, macros made with Roflbot, crack courtesy of Russell T Davies and the BBC.
Series Break Road Trip: Whither Jack?
The Torchwood: EPIC FAIL Project Table o' Contents!