Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Something Borrowed - Torchwood 2.9

In which Gwen Cooper goes hunting for an alien creature through the streets of Cardiff. It is the night of her Hen Party, but she is going to be late. She corners the alien - which appears to be a human male - but his blood is black, leading her colleagues to surmise it may be a shape-shifter. Gwen is bitten on the wrist but Jack then appears and shoots the man dead. Jack recommends that she have her wound checked by Owen, but Gwen hurries off to meet her friends.
On waking up the following morning - the day of her wedding to Rhys - she discovers that she appears to be heavily pregnant...
Gwen contacts Jack and Owen, who inform her that some alien creatures reproduce by transmitting their eggs to a host for incubation. In this case she was impregnated through the bite. Jack recommends she postpone the wedding, but Gwen refuses. She will deal with the foetus after the ceremony. She notifies Rhys, and he is furious that Jack and her job have spoiled their big day. As neither of them has seen their parents for a while, they will inform them that they were planning to keep the pregnancy a surprise - though this will mean having to break the news later that their "grandchild" was lost. Jack sends Ianto off to buy a new wedding dress that will fit Gwen.

At the Hub, Owen carries out an autopsy on the dead man, and discovers that he was a Nostrovite. These savage creatures can take on the appearance of anyone they have seen. The male of this species plants an egg in a host body, and the female then births it by tearing the child from the host. She will do anything to get her child, and they realise that the mother will be hunting for Gwen. Tosh arrives at the wedding venue - a country house hotel. She meets Rhys' best man - Banana Boat. The Nostrovite mother - posing as a young woman named Carrie - kills and partially devours the DJ and captures Tosh and Banana Boat, tying them up in one of the bedrooms.
Rhys and Gwen are about to be married when Jack rushes in and stops the ceremony. He and Ianto rescue Tosh and Banana Boat. Ianto is forced to cut off the phones when a bridesmaid sees the DJ's corpse and alerts the other guests. The hunt is then on to identify the shape-shifting alien and protect Gwen.

The creature takes on the form of Jack and also of Rhys' mother Brenda. Bullets have no effect on it. Owen arrives with the laser scalpel he had previously used to destroy the Mayfly larva within Martha Jones. The Nostrovite may call off its attack if the foetus is destroyed. However, Owen had earlier broken his hand, and he no longer heals, so he tells Rhys that he will have to operate it. The alien corners Gwen and Rhys in an outbuilding, disguised as Brenda, and is about to attack when Jack appears with a powerful laser weapon. He destroys her. Rhys then uses the scalpel to remove the foetus.
The wedding then goes ahead, but Ianto has doped all the drinks with Retcon, so no-one but Gwen and Rhys will remember the events of the day. Later, back at the Hub, Jack digs out an old photograph. It is of him and his bride on their wedding day...

Something Borrowed was written by Phil Ford, and was first broadcast on 5th March, 2008. Ford had previously written two episodes for the first season of The Sarah Jane Adventures - Eye of the Gorgon and The Lost Boy - and he would be made script editor for the show's second series. Executive Producer Russell T Davies had wanted this episode to be lighter in tone, and also to have some soap opera elements as well. As Ford had written for Coronation Street, he was felt to be the right person for the commission.
Following the trio of episodes revolving around Owen's death and resurrection, it was time to have a little fun. Though it deals with a vicious monster, who tears its victims apart, there is a lot of humour to be found in this episode - from Ianto's shopping for a wedding dress (being assumed by the shop assistant to be buying it for himself), to Rhys' exasperated reactions to events, as well as those of the respective in-laws. It is a very good episode for Kai Owen.
I have previously commented on the fact that, due to changes in format towards season-long storylines, many of the mysteries set up around Jack were left hanging. We get another one here, as we see that he was once married (in the early 20th Century, judging by the costumes).

We are introduced to Gwen's parents - Geraint and Mary. Geraint is played by William Thomas, who had previously appeared twice in Doctor Who - as the assistant funeral director in Remembrance of the Daleks, and then as the hapless surveyor in the pre-credit sequence for Boom Town. He was the first actor to bridge the gap between the "classic" and "new" eras of the series. Mary is Sharon Morgan. Both will return in future seasons. Rhys' mother, Brenda, is another returnee from the classic era of Doctor Who. Nerys Hughes had previously played the scientist Todd in Kinda. Rhys' dad, Barry, is played by Robin Griffith. This is their only appearance in the series.
The Nostrovite mother - Carrie - is played by Collette Brown, whilst Best Man Banana Boat is Jonathan Lewis Owen.

Overall, fast paced and fun. Shame there weren't more episodes like this one.
Things you might like to know:

  • Gwen foreshadows future events when she tells Rhys that nothing will stop them getting married - not if Weevils crawl out of the sewers (which will happen in Exit Wounds), or the sky is full of spaceships (as occurs in The Stolen Earth), though spaceships had previously appeared in the skies above the Taj Mahal, in End of Days, and Weevils had massed in the streets in Dead Man Walking.
  • The Sam Raimi film The Evil Dead is referenced when Rhys picks up a chainsaw to attack the Nostrovite when it poses as his mother.
  • The draft title for the story was simply "The Wedding". "Something Borrowed" comes from the old tradition of the bride wearing something borrowed, and something blue; something old, and something new for luck. This saying will be revisited by Steven Moffat for his first series finale - where the TARDIS is old, borrowed and blue.
  • Gwen is seen eating a jar of pickled gherkins on the morning of her wedding - alluding to the odd food cravings some people experience during pregnancy. This was added by Eve Myles herself. The script simply had her drinking a glass of water.
  • The first draft had Gwen and Rhys also being given Retcon, but this was changed to her declining the drug, to show that Gwen did not want there to be any secrets between her and her new husband.

No comments:

Post a Comment