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S01.E01: Everything Changes

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WPC Gwen Cooper is at the scene of a brutal murder, when the "special ops," known only as Torchwood, arrive. After witnessing the group bring the dead man back to life, Gwen goes in pursuit of this mysterious organisation, only to see weirder things than she could ever imagine existed. Soon after, she begins to regret giving in to her curiosity, when she meets Captain Jack Harkness.

Captain Jack Harkness: We don't just catch aliens. We scavenge the stuff they leave behind, find ways of using it, arming the human race for the future. The 21st century's when it all changes, and you gotta be ready.

Whether you're starting at EC as part of a rewatch or you just have something you want to say about this episode, here's a nice cozy place to do it.

...

I remember being B-O-R-E-D and mostly unimpressed the first time I saw EC when it originally aired on BBC America. Let's see if nostalgia and a few years does anything for it...I'll report back!

Edited by indeed

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I remember being super excited to watch this because I was such a fan of Jack because of Doctor Who.  I think this first episode was promising.  I liked Gwen's curiosity and determination.   But for the most part I was all about Jack at this point although I did notice Ianto as well.

 

The only thing that struck me in a negative way was Owen raping that couple.

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I remember finding this episode serviceable as pilot episode, but kind of meh during the last re-watch. I did laugh at how half-arsed Torchwood were from the get go though. They wipe her computer, but don't do a follow-up sweep of her house in case she wrote something down? I also wish they hadn't made Gwen so dumb about aliens. I think it would have made more  sense if she'd been suspicious of alien life and the stories that were told to cover them up and wanted to seek the truth and thought Torchwood held the answers. Instead they have her kind of neglecting the job she's paid to do and her colleague to chase after the goings on of an organisation she already knows, for better or worst, have their own legitimacy. I mean what was she planning to do after she tracked them down? Also if she's supposed to be so curious and aware it makes it kind of dumb that cybermen literally stomping into peoples front rooms and all the other country and worldwide alien invasions didn't apparently make any real impression on her. I mean how do you miss that? Also dumb? Having her completely ignorant about Torchwood. By the second episode its pretty clear that the police either routinely call Torchwood in when things get weird or they just show up and take over crime scenes which also undermines the sense of her astuteness. Still, I infinitely prefer the Gwen we get in this episode than the one we get in the next.

 

I also remember wishing we could have seen the team as more of a team before Suzie's demise. They were actually the most intriguing part of the episode for me and other than being played by Indira Varma I didn't feel Suzie's death had much impact. Were we supposed to think that Torchwood had lead to this or that Torchwood just had a propensity for attracting psychopaths especially in light of Owen's actions? And was that supposed to say something about Gwen too?

 

I wouldn't have minded Owen being introduced as a possible rapist if it hadn't simply been played for laughs and effect. Storywise I think there was potential in that, but the way it was written just made him (and the show) seem kind of gross.

 

I'm still debating a re-watch, but I'm still in two minds because I'm not sure how far I'll get again.

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I liked the episode-well Jack and Gwen. I wasn't not a fan of Owen and he never Grew on me. It was ick her and ick through out. I thought the show would do something with him and his "rape" tendencies but nope. On reflection I think his treatment of Tosh makes him a worse person then I already thought. He would rather "rape" then be with someone who's sweet and likes him.  EC definitely felt like a pilot episode but I was ok with that since it was the first episode. I haven't rewatched it yet since it wasn't one my favorite episodes and it was just a few months ago I first watched it. It's not super clear in my memories though so I guess that says the most about the episode :p

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I remember thinking it's ok , i want more Ianto cause i totally agree with Jack LOL and why didn't Gwen tell any of the Doctors or Nurses about the guy dying upstairs in the hospital. In fact she deliberately avoids bumping in them which was just a really weird reaction to seeing someone throat ripped out. "Get help" would have been my reaction, screw what the dude said.

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So I watched the episode. Figured since I was talking about Torchwood may as well watch it. The pilot is ok. It does its job. You can tell they're on a restricted budget and even though it was only 8 years ago it does feel a bit dated. Having read that article about Torchwood failing because it forgot the children I did keep thinking it does feel like a production you might see on CBBC or CITV.

 

Gwen spends hardly any time in this episode actually doing her job to the point that when she tells the weevil to stop messing about because she's busy I laughed. She doesn't exactly act like someone whose job keeps her busy. Also this always bugs me. She witnesses someone being attacked and instead of dealing with that or calling someone in to deal she chases after Torchwood while they apparently do theirs (albeit kind of badly. Did they seriously wait until someone was attacked before subduing what they knew was a potentially dangerous alien? Jack runs up long before Gwen? What's he doing all that time?  And how small is Cardiff? The police are apparently called to what looks like a mini riot and only Andy and Gwen show up to deal. They don't even call for back up.

 

Owen using the spray because a woman makes it clear she's not interested is still gross. Made even more gross because it's played for laughs. I guess it's ok because he does it to a bloke too. Equal opportunity rape for the win! But going from Jack telling Gwen he makes sure that the tech never leaves the base to his team taking tech home is an amusing if unsubtle moment. I guess they really want the audience to see why Gwen is so necessary for Torchwood. Not that she proves to be any better in this area, what with her own taking tech off site for her own personal use and stealing retcon so she can drug her boyfriend. Also he tells Gwen at the pub that Torchwood is beyond the government blah, blah, blah which then gets completely rewitten in COE so they government can blow up Torchwood.

 

Is Gwen lying to Rhys about doing her job, especially the first time,supposed to say something about her character because otherwise it makes no sense. He does know she's a police officer and that she works with crime and she knows he knows so what's the mystery here? I get not wanting to tell him that she saw a man brought to life, but she can't admit she was at a crime scene? What a ridiculous moment.

 

Torchwood apparently have the maturity of 12 year olds. I thought this was something that only came up in Day One, but no it's pretty evident in this episode. And it's no surprise that Torchwood is the worst kept secret. Besides having their name on their car (why?) and ordering pizza under their company name they also apparently think its wise to try out alien tech in the middle of what looks like residential/business area. Lucky for them only PC Cooper seems to care at that point. (Possibly because everyone else in Cardiff already knows about Torchwood and what they do. Except the police (well until Day One).)

 

Gwen's line to Jack about being tired of following him around, I guess, is supposed to be their equivalent of a significant Companion/Docctor moment, but it falls a bit flat. Not only because EM's delivery is pretty flat, but it makes no sense. The only reason she's embroiled in Torchwood business is because she chose to run around after them just because. Instead of sounding like some great prophetic moment like it's supposed to it just sounds dumb. 

 

I do like the scene between her and Suzie at the end though even though it makes a complete nonsense of her resurrection in episode 8. She admits to only being able to work the glove for 2 minutes at a time so again how is this master plan supposed to work out again? Also I'm going to assume Suzie has some serious issues with Jack because she murders three people just to test a glove, murders him without breaking a sweat even though she knows him and has apparently worked with him for a while and is his second in command, which suggests a level of trust on his part, but cries and wibbles over killing Gwen because, why? She's just too gosh damn pretty and special? lol. This show. I mean if she wasn't so callous about killing Jack I'd assume it's because killing is just that difficult for her. But apparently not. Sigh.

 

It was kind of stupid of Suzie, though, to kill people with such an easily identifiable weapon. She's lucky it never occurred to the police to go to the press with the type of weapon in the hopes it would lead them to the killer which might have been a smart thing to do. But if the police were actually smart that would make Gwen less unique, I guess.

 

Having Gwen only mention Owen and Tosh at the end, presumably because Ianto is supposed to be short-lived at this point, is kind of lame writing and doesn't make any sense. Every time she meets them she meets him and in fact he's the first person she sees when she arrives at Torchwood. Are the writers taking retcon too? I assume the reason why she doesn't note him when she's trying to remember Torchwood on her computer is because each remembrance is punctuated by a scene of that particular character and Ianto doesn't get one of those which seems like a silly reason to have her not remember him.

 

Jack tells Gwen he's hiring her because she's right they could do more to help, but do they? I mean they show up at crime scenes pretty regularly, but only in relation to suspected alien involvement. Do they ever show up just to help the police because their knowledge or tech might be useful. I can't say I ever remember that happening. It seems to remain a pretty one way street. I guess if I stick with the rewatch I guess I can see.

 

Also they don't exactly sell the idea that working for Torchwood is a job you want to cling on to even though Suzie apparently wants to cling to it. But all she moans about is how crappy it is. How they only ever get the crappy aliens and the crappy experiences so what exactly is she supposed to be clinging to? How crap it all is? I mean there's moaning about your job and then there's this. Beyond suggesting that everyone at Torchwood is social inept and emotional and psychologically dysfunctional and that's why they stay with the company because they couldn't function anywhere else apparently they don't exactly sell its appeal.

Edited by Swansong

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You reminded me Swansong about how confused i was about Gwen and what her position was within the Police. When we meet her all the work has been done, it's all tape off etc. But Gwen and Andy just stop for a look, then she takes the other guys tea or coffee, so i thought she must have rank or something, then in the Police station she is handing out the Tea and Coffee and that would surely be a job for the Probies. It is rather all over the place LOL

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Something else I realised. Jack looks like an actual action figure when he's standing on that building. That made me laugh. I can't  decide,though, if it is because an actual action figure was used to film that scene at one point.

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He does. They showed many angles of Jack standing on the edge--each more hilarious.

Well, started my rewatch. I resisted fast-forwarding--yay, me. That confrontation scene is still silly; and Jack's bullet wound--LOL. Then, they're standing on top of that music house at the end...ugh.

Poor Ianto--Gwen forgets him twice. Poor Rhys--in the very first two scenes he's in Gwen lies to him each time...unnecessarily.

It's too bad about that spray scene. I kinda liked Owen in his other scenes.

It still seems a little too fast between Gwen getting retconned and Suzie coming clean. I think they could have spent a little more time getting from point A to point B (without more knife drawing flashes). But it was time for the resolution, so do the villain confession/explanation, Suzie, even though Gwen was all "I don't know, I don't remember, I don't know, I don't remember!" And this Suzie doesn't seem to be a mastermind at planning great escapes (from justice or death), but I guess we'll get to that later.

It was an OK first episode, but there really wasn't anything else on Saturday nights when it first premiered in the States because this Jack alone was not enough to keep me tuned in (but I remember liking the eye candy that was Ianto--I had never heard that name before!--and still do count him as one of the few stand-out positives). The preview for the next episode doesn't look all that bad...but I'm dreading watching that again because I know all too well what the episode is actually like! LOL

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Guys, I had hand surgery this week so forgive my one-handed typing and short comments.

 

Along with other observations here, i liked the total assumption by the series that it was completely in a day's possible work to encounter a lizard monster upstairs and not check yourself right into an asylum or call NORAD.  That was very "Doctor Who-ish" and made me feel immediately like I had a grip on how this new "adult version" would be handled.  

 

Thought Gwen was a simp, Jack was sexy, Ianto was the bees knees and Tosh was in danger of becoming a cliche.  Owen I wrote off as a ghastly rapist -- but am glad in a weird way that RTD hadn't intended that audience response and, so, in future episodes we got a fascinating character.

 

I wonder why RTD never bothered to redeem him of that particular incident carefully, specifically and obviously, though? 

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I wonder why RTD never bothered to redeem him of that particular incident carefully, specifically and obviously, though?

Because they didn't realise they might have to? They do write it to be a bit of a laugh. I do think they attempt to redeem him towards the end of s1 with the Diane story line and then more so in s2 where he's suddenly interested in looking for love and not just sex, is less of an arsehole to Tosh and gains a tragic fiance and shitty mother to explain him, but that's not specific to him possibly raping two people. Some think Ghost Machine is supposed to redeem him of his own rapist tendencies, but I can't see it. There's never a single moment in that episode where either the text or the character shows any awareness of Owen's previous actions. 

 

I never really got into Owen even outside of his actions in the pilot, he never actually did much for me even though he was clearly supposed to, but I actually think I'd have found him a lot more interesting if they had addressed the raping head on. I mean they wanted the show to be dark and that did suggest a very dark character and in relation to how they seemed to want us to view Torchwood, an organization with too much power and too little oversight, that pretty much did what it wanted when it wanted I think I could have found him interesting. Of course that assumes the writing being up to that.

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I've always felt that they focussed the story lines on the wrong guy.  Maybe they thought Burn Gorman was the better actor so they banked on him?  

 

Should have spent that time on Ianto.  Especially after they gave him that amazing Torchwood One survival story.

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Well I definitely think it's because they loved BG better as an actor and he is a stronger actor in a number of ways. And maybe they thought he complimented EM better because a lot his story line focuses on interactions with her and she is obviously the star of the show (no offence JB). Sometimes I think Owen is the character Jack is supposed to be and can't be because of his DW ties and because of his role as Doctor to Gwen's Companion: the bad boy rogue, who is irresistible to women and great in bed. Who does bad things, but really only needs the love of a good woman to redeem him.

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Eh, aside from the spray scene, Owen doesn't do much but joke around and be snarky, whereas Jack was trying too hard to be cool and charming. I liked Owen laughing along with Tosh, too, in the Hub with Gwen and her pizza. I liked Owen, Ianto, and even Rhys more from the start (Andy, too--poor guy had to walk all the way to the Plass because his oh-so-"busy" partner on "official" business took off in the car--too bad he had to fall for Gwen and be more concerned about whether someone was gay than dead when breaking the news to the next of kin...but I'm getting ahead of myself ;) ...he just had promise early days).

BG was the better actor and did the best he could do with what he was given. (That spray scene was unfortunate.) I've enjoyed seeing him pop up in other things. He seems to be doing well for himself.

Edited by indeed

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I agree that BG is and was the better actor.  He also had training which GD-L did (does?) not.

 

GD-L had the benefit of enjoyable, natural comic timing and a hefty dose of charisma with the leading man.

 

Then they gave him a cracking good backstory full of promise.

Edited by Captanne

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It really was a crime they didn't do more with Ianto's backstory...and The Torchwood Institute in general. The show was(/is?) only called "Torchwood" after all...

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The first time I saw this episode I remember thinking that it was a bit more cheesy than I expected it to be.  But a lot of pilot episodes are so I was still going to give it a try.  Plus, I really wanted to see what they were going to do with Jack.  I still had such high hopes then.

 

I didn't know what to think of Gwen at this point because I was also misguided in where they would take her.  In the beginning, I liked that she lied and did stupid things but I thought it was going to pay off and have consequences for her later down the road.  What did I know?

 

Owen, Tosh, and Suzie were kind of in the same boat for me.  Well, maybe not Tosh so much but just in that first viewing I figured I was suppose to think that all three of them were doing things that they weren't suppose to be doing and the degree of awfulness varied.  Like, all of them were using Torchwood tech outside of work but while Tosh didn't seem to have any bad intent, Owen and Suzie were clearly either crossing the line or heavily flirting with it.

 

Ianto was interesting one for me because although he was in the background, there was just something with him.  And at one point, when the team all leaves and they do a close-up on Ianto's face, I just knew that there was something up with him.  I was hooked on him from that moment on.  And the horrible thing was that I went into this first episode knowing that he was going to die at some point and really not wanting to like him.  Absolutely no luck there.

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Torchwood's 10th anniversary!!

Ah, the good ol' days...when the Hub was an underground HQ and not a solid block of concrete, the Rift was still active, and Ianto, Tosh, and Owen (*sniff*) were still alive.

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Still one of the most fun, intelligent shows ever made.

For my money, the backstory on Ianto and the impact it had on the series was the greatest missed opportunity I've ever seen on any show anywhere, anytime.  GDL could have carried the storyline and his chemistry with Barrowman was palpable.  As campy as Cyberwoman was, it could have interwoven a whole narrative tapestry between Torchwood and the Mothership, Dr. Who.

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On 10/23/2016 at 10:05 AM, Captanne said:

Still one of the most fun, intelligent shows ever made.

For my money, the backstory on Ianto and the impact it had on the series was the greatest missed opportunity I've ever seen on any show anywhere, anytime.  GDL could have carried the storyline and his chemistry with Barrowman was palpable.  As campy as Cyberwoman was, it could have interwoven a whole narrative tapestry between Torchwood and the Mothership, Dr. Who.

There was so much fantastic potential squandered.  Despite the flaws I still have so much fondness for the show's first two seasons.

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Why did they have to end this the way they did?  Was it a sinking ship and they decided to go out with a bang?  I really liked the group and I don't think I've even seen the final mini-series since they weren't there.

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They had big plans for an American co-production deal, and apparently only certain elements were considered essential and successful.  Whatever.  

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