This story in a nutshell: Russell T. Davies on the sex gas that permeates this episode: 'when we're launching a new adult science fiction drama, it's kind of inevitable you're going to do the sex monster.' Proving that as TV savvy as he is, sometimes he gets it very wrong.
Hunky Hero: Jack is so naive that he thinks his instructions on not allowing the alien technology out of the Hub is being adhered to. Everything Changes revealed that they are all up to it. The Torchwood regulars know nothing about Jack. He is a big mystery to them. I can't imagine why he would want that beyond the fact that he enjoys keeping them in the dark because he doesn't trust them.
Jack's Crew: I still don't understand the logic in making the Torchwood team this impenetrably unlikable. I maintain that an episode like Fragments in season two would have been an ideal way to kick off the series, showing how each of the regulars joined the staff and why they are so impossibly aloof. Without that context they just come across as being a thoroughly dour, conceited bunch. Owen trying to record a colleague who is about to go down on a prisoner is the height of distaste. Ianto doesn't give two shits about Jack's sexuality which is rather odd given he is deep throating him by the end of the season.
'It's a shame your tools not big enough for the job.'
'I wish I never met you. I wish I were dead. Call me back.'
'He just...' 'Came and went?'
'You want to tell his family he died screwing an alien?'
'Put your trousers on and get out.'
'Where are you from and why are you trying to invade Earth because you can forget about enslaving us?'
'I just want the energy. The climax...' 'Just to recap, you've travelled to Earth to feed off orgasmic energy?'
'What are we doing having Chinese while a girl fights for her life?'
'Are you alright now or are you still feeling a bit of a cock?'
'Put out and APB. Woman possessed by gas knobbing fellas to death.'
'All you want is to cum and you don't care what's underneath.'
The Good: Gwen makes a good point that the Torchwood crew have been stuck down in the dark, dank Hub with alien tech that they have forgotten what it is like to be human. It's going to take a far less corrupt human being than Gwen Cooper to remind them of that though. Instead of her injecting a little humanity into the series, Torchwood manages to suck what little she has out of her throughout season one. The Doctor's hand appears and with animatronics it manages to twitch with life out of the liquid. That's worth a raised eyebrow.
The Shallow Bit: 'First contact with an alien, not quite what I expected...' Huh? Gwen is bisexual? She'll happily snog a woman at work behind her boyfriends back? She's willing to clinch with an alien life form? Was anybody script editing this bollocks? Having Gwen copping off with Carys and then speaking to Rhys on the phone whilst she's still buttoning up her blouse might have something to do with the fact that I didn't warm to this character. She's sexually corrupt and would go on to prove to be throughout the first two years.
Result: Such a terrible, terrible episode that I am surprised that it didn't frighten everybody away from Torchwood in their droves. The fact that this show managed to build its audience and make the leap from BBC2 and BBC1 after producing drivel like this, Cyberwoman and They Keep Killing Suzie suggests two things to me. One that the general television audience is not discerning enough or two that they are too unintelligible to determine good television from bad. This is exactly the sort of TV I expect the Big Brother/TOWIE crowd to gobble up; crass, simple to the point of retarded and loaded with inappropriate content. It's such a car crash that you can't help but watch the results through your fingertips and wince. I think this is supposed to be a fun piece but it is so misjudged and po-faced that it misses the entertainment jugular by a country mile. I'm not sure what is worse; the perverted subtext, the graphic content of toilet sex, masturbation and lesbianism, the retarded characterisation of Gwen who never once convinces as a competent police officer, the unflinching arrogance of the rest of the team, the lack of a single identifiable character, the way the plot stops halfway through for the team to grab a Chinese, the piles of dust in the wank bank, the lack of anything resembling logic, scares, laughs or intelligence...this really is as bad as it gets. I find it hard to think of an episode of science fiction that is quite this tacky and I have seen some pretty hideous examples. Incompetently acted. Blandly directed. Atrociously written. Welcome to the semen drenched world of Torchwood: 1/10