Timestamp #TW28: Children of Earth – Day Two

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Torchwood: Children of Earth – Day Two
(1 episode, s03e02, 2009)

The band is on the run and the Hub has been destroyed.

All that’s left is a giant crater in Roald Dahl Plass. As Gwen stumbles to her feet, an emergency response team pulls her away from the flames and loads her into an ambulance. This team is not your standard emergency response but rather an assassination squad. Gwen bites and shoots her way free before hijacking the ambulance.

Meanwhile, Ianto pulls himself out of the rubble and runs from a sniper as the police arrive, complete with Andy Davidson and a defense of Gwen’s character. Agent Johnson calls Frobisher and reports that the job is one-third of the way done, then takes Davidson to raid Gwen’s home. Frobisher also receives some information about a mysterious device and the 456.

Gwen stops the ambulance and interrogates one of the surviving assassins, learning that the government as ordered the destruction of Torchwood. Gwen rushes home, wakes up Rhys, and unceremoniously tries to usher him to safety. Ianto makes contact while Rhys gets dressed, and Gwen rushes away, shooting out Johnson’s tires before escaping.

Government forces also storm the Davies household in a search for Ianto, but he’s one the streets elsewhere. Gwen and Rhys end up dumping their car since the license plates are trackable.

As morning dawns, Frobisher tries to patch up relations with his family before heading to work. At Home Office, Lois Habiba does some more digging while Frobisher briefs the Prime Minister about Jack and the 456 device. The 456 have only directly contacted Britain. Lois tries to ask Frobisher if Jack can help, but she’s chided for her efforts.

Jack’s daughter tries contacting him without success. We also discover that Timothy White has survived and is on the run.

At what’s left of the Hub, recovery teams find an arm, a shoulder, and a head. They take to a warehouse in London while Ianto watches from a nearby rooftop. In the warehouse, the remaining pieces of Jack’s body start a gruesome and extreme resurrection sequence. He goes from a skeleton to a blind, screaming burn victim. Johnson reports this to Frobisher as gets ready to check on Mr. Dekker’s progress with the 456 device.

Gwen and Rhys find that their accounts have been frozen, so they take their fight to London by stowing away on a food delivery lorry. During the trip, Gwen finds the right way to tell Rhys about their pregnancy, leading to mixed emotions of joy and anxiety given their current situation.

Meanwhile, Ianto’s family receives a card in their newspaper, which is a covert request for Rhiannon to bring him supplies. Johnny runs a distraction while Rhiannon sneaks away, and when she makes contact, she’s happy to see him but upset about his condition. During this meeting, the children stop again.

In unison: “We are coming tomorrow.”

Timothy White is particularly upset about this revelation.

Ianto takes the laptop and Rhiannon’s car in his pursuit of the ambulance that took Jack. At Home Office, Gwen Cooper tries to make contact with Frobisher but ends up finding an ally in Lois. The women covertly set up a meeting, though Gwen was clearly expecting Frobisher instead of the new hire. Luckily, Lois is a much friendlier face, and she bears news of the kill order. Lois doesn’t like covering up murders.

Jack has finished his resurrection. He demands to see the man in charge but instead meets Agent Johnson before being sealed in concrete while Ianto watches from afar. Meanwhile, Gwen and Rhys use the information provided by Lois to sneak into a secure compound as funeral directors to retrieve Rupesh Patanjali’s body. This takes them into the lion’s den, and Rhys almost blows their cover when their contact, Corporal “Kodak” Camara, flirts with Gwen. Luckily, Camara’s a bit thick. He also hits the deck nicely when Gwen sucker punches him.

Unfortunately, as Gwen disables the cameras, the alarms are sounded and the couple is surrounded by Johnson’s forces just as they discover the concrete cell. They find an escape route when Ianto uses heavy machinery to rip the makeshift sarcophagus from the building. Gwen provides an explosive exit and Johnson reports her failure to Frobisher. The man is not pleased.

Ianto stops the machine at the edge of a large quarry and drops the sarcophagus over the edge. The concrete shatters and frees Jack’s body. He comes back to life once again and is reunited with his Torchwood family.

Frobisher, Spears, and the Prime Minister observe the device’s construction. It ends up being a tank of some sort. Later that night, the tank is flooded with a gas mixture that is poisonous to humans. Bridget wants to investigate the 456, but Frobisher tells her that they don’t have time. The 456 will be arriving tomorrow.

Frobisher and Spears leave as Dekker embraces the tank with an unnatural sense of welcoming anticipation.

It’s under extreme pressure where Torchwood works best, and this is no exception. Watching the team play to their strengths without the guidance of Jack Harkness behind them says a lot about how well they have adapted to their roles over the last two years. The endgame, of course, was the rescue of their team’s leader in a tense action sequence that left me cheering multiple times.

I do feel bad for Jack’s daughter, Alice, who is left wondering throughout the entire episode.

This episode brings some further Torchwood mythology to bear, including snippets of how Queen Victoria created other institutions (of which the current government is unaware) and the official stance that Torchwood Two has been disbanded (but that the current government is unsure).

Finally, we get another tease of Gwen Cooper’s linage with the funeral director sequence. Gwyneth, her ancestor from The Unquiet Dead, was the servant to an undertaker.

The team dynamic and resourcefulness make this an amazing chase episode as the mysterious threat bears down on the planet Earth. They arrive next week.

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”

UP NEXT – Torchwood: Children of Earth – Day Three

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

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