Dana's TW4 Blog - Barrowman Day
 
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25 days left and we're continuing on my countdown to Miracle Day Torchwood re-watch! I'll be watching an episode a day and blogging bits and thoughts. With any luck this is gonna read like an episode guide and commentary. Let's dive right in!

Episode: They Keep Killing Suzie (Series 1 Episode 8)

Written By: Paul Tomalin and Dan McCulloch

Original Air Date: 3 December 2006

1 Sentence Sum-Up:When the team is forced to resurrect Suzie she tries to stay alive by stealing the life from Gwen.

New Characters:

Kathy Swanson (Yasmin Bannerman): A police Detective who calls in Torchwood when a series of murders are linked to them. She resents Torchwood and Jack for being entitled and cocky. Which to be fair they sort of are.

Favorite Quote:

Ianto: "If... you're interested, I've still got that stopwatch."
Jack: "So? "
Ianto: "Well. Think about it. Lots of things you can do with a stopwatch."
Jack: "Oh. Yeah. I could think of a few."
Ianto: "There's quite a list."
Jack: "I'll send the others home early. See you in my office in... ten."
Ianto: "That's ten minutes, and counting."

(I had the hardest time choosing here, "there's quite a list" of great quotes in this episode. So I went with the popular vote and the scene I think we all quote more often than any other.)

Never Noticed:

I don't remember them coming across the Emily Dickinson book in Suzie's storage unit. I think maybe that was a bit too on the nose putting that there and in their mind. I think Jack could have just realized that that poem part was Dickinson, or Ianto. Both really know a lot, Jack because he's been around so long and Ianto because he knows everything. Not that it matters really, except for one thing....keep reading for that in the WTF moments section.

On two separate occasions Owen mentions Ianto's stopwatch which we haven't seen before. Have we? I feel like it came out of nowhere and now they are making a big point of it. It's certainly more present later, but again I think they over emphasized it. While I love all the stopwatch moments I think it was a little over the top. And then of course it becomes an important part of the episode with the famous "stopwatch scene" I feel like this episode sets things up in a way that is sort of heavy-handed.

There's a height chart in the interrogation room. And very randomly placed. It seems like where they would take mugshots, which I just can't imagine. And they never use it in the show as far as I recall. I wonder why they chose to put it in and in that spot.

There's a pair of 3D glasses hanging from the lamp in Jack's office. Presumably they belonged to the Doctor. Didn't spot that before. I have read about Jack having a pair lying around in fanfic and it's mentioned he found them in the ruins of Torchwood 1. I think that's likely the case.

WTF Moments:

When they are at the club and Gwen is about to be attacked Suzie spots it on the CCTV and warns her. From later in the episode we know Suzie has no issue with Gwen dying. So I'm wondering why she warned her. Is it because she needs her to remain alive so she can continue to siphon life off of her? I assume that's it but if anyone has other ideas, let me know. Not so much a WTF moment, rather just a curious one.

There's a conversation between Gwen and Jack where she questions his willingness to kill Suzie if the need arises. Why? Why would she think he's incapable of being ruthless when just last episode he killed Mary without a second thought. I know it's a bit more personal this time but previously in the episode it's' established that no one was particularly close to Suzie or knew anything about her. Really not a crushing dilemma for Jack. But turns out Gwen is a bit of a pessimist, she really does always assume the worst in a situation and doubts the capabilities of people. It's really starting to bum me out.

When they are trying to get out of lock-down and have made the assumption te key is also to do with Emily Dickinson. Tosh says "Try the ISBN, each book has a different number". That was quick thinking by Tosh and she's absolutely right. But she is right. And that's a problem here. At least it is with something as vague as a book of poems by Emily Dickinson. There are tons and tons of versions of Emily Dickinson collections and even if it's the complete works there are different editions. And each edition has a different ISBN number. Detective Swanson has someone buy her a book of Emily Dickinson poetry and we see it's not the same edition as the one found in Suzie's things. Showing us that book in the beginning makes this even more unrealistic. That was not the edition we saw in Suzie's stuff and presumably that is the edition she would have used in creating the code. So the ISBN from a different edition would not work to override the lock-down. It just wouldn't.

Random Rants:

The best thing about this episode for me is easily Jack in the sea-foam green shirt and burgundy braces. It's my favorite look of Jack in any series including Doctor Who and including nude moments. Seriously he looks amazing. It's not really a rant so much as a mention and a reason to post the following picture.
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And the picture is a good segway into my other rant. I want to talk about the stopwatch scene. The implication of the scene is Jack is upset and Ianto offers to make it better with sexy favors of undisclosed sorts. A lot of people comment that this is awfully forward of Ianto considering this is the first time we've seen Ianto return Jack's affection outside of the odd cheeky comment. They pair have only kissed so far and it was technically a one-sided resuscitation. So how did we jump from mostly one-sided flirting, that just last episode I said I didn't assume would ever go anywhere, to casual offers of sex?

It seem sudden because it is. I love Jack and Ianto and their relationship and I love every moment we get to see of them. However, I am not the only one to criticize that there seem to be very big gaps in their story that happen off screen. It's not that they should spoon feed us every milestone but they shouldn't make such huge leaps and blindside us or have things feel out of order. We're on episode 8 and it seems like they are having sex. This is episode 8 but we don't see a first kiss until the series closer, episodes away. And we don't see a first proper kiss until episode 3 of the next series! And yet we're supposed to keep in the back of our minds they have been intimate before those moments? The main sections people point out as missing is this jump from flirting to sex and the jump from series 2 and Children of Earth. That time lapse takes them from fooling around to seemingly serious relationship forcing issues and causing Jack to be an ass hat.

The question then arises concerning when Jack and Ianto got together or if this really is out of nowhere. If we assume they have been together previously it likely happened between Small Worlds and Greek's Bearing Gifts. It's either that or we accept that Ianto could have been cheating on Lisa. While that's a sometimes good theory for fanfic purposes I just don't buy it. He loved Lisa and jack was just his boss who flirted. The more I think about it and the more I think or Ianto the way I see Ianto I think this has to have been the first time. I don't think they had any sort of physical relationship before then, not even a kiss (Cyberwoman discounted for obvious reasons). I think first of all that people underestimate Ianto and forget that he does have a backbone and does in fact initiate most of he and Jack's relationship. Pay attention as we go forward I wouldn't put it past Ianto to proposition Jack out of the blue.

And then consider that Jack is hurting and Ianto knows that. Ianto wants to comfort him and maybe the only way he can think of to do that is physically. Maybe in a moment of compassion he gives himself to Jack, for the first time and maybe that's it. Maybe their relationship doesn't properly start then. Maybe Ianto  and Jack question what they did and there are lingering concerns and feeling that they don't pursue again immediately. If we accept this scenario, that kiss at the end of the series could have been a surprise in the moment but seemingly comfortable because they had been together once before. And perhaps the series 2 kiss and the date proposition were firsts. Perhaps it was them exploring a relationship for the first time outside of the isolated incident? I've never thought of it that way but I think I kind of like that story better than the working theories out there. Really it's all speculation, we may never know the full story of Jack and Ianto's relationship. What do you think? Watch the scene again and "think about it."
And "if you're interested" there is a great animated video of this scene and more that is sort of adorable. Man I really can't help quoting it, can I?
MVC (Most Valuable Character):

Suzie I suppose would be. She's in the title and she really is the center of the episode. She's particularly sinister in her planning to return to life and seemingly heartless. It's an interesting character who I genuinely dislike. But that's a good thing right? We can't all be Suzie sympathizers like Gwen. Bringing her back was a great twist and really gave us a lot of honest reactions from the surrounding characters. She was good for this episode, but I'm glad she didn't linger any longer.

MVA (Most Valuable Actor):

Tough one. I don't think Suzie had enough impressive moments on her own to give it to Indira. And Gwen who is arguably the other "main character" is not really up for it, Even played sick and unconscious for a good chunk of the episode. So I am going to say it was John on this one. John had a number of big moments. We saw Jack take control in a situation that was sticky to say the least. He did what had to be done and John portrayed the the silent conflict a leader can never show perfectly. And his flirting throughout with Gareth's Ianto was just enjoyable, they play so well off each other. Great performance by John.

Episode Grade:

B.
I went back and forth a lot on my grade here. I decided on B because B is solid but not exceptional. There are exceptional moments but there are too many off-putting moments (see my WTF moments section) to rate it any higher. I think the flaw was mainly in the writing, it was a little too spelled out. I don't think the audience needs that much. I don't know. I'm sticking with B, read the blog again and you'll see why I feel that way.

Tomorrow's Episode: Random Shoes  (Series 1, Episode 9). Remember, I'll be live tweeting my re-watch on the @BarrowmanDay twitter at 12:00am PST (US - West coast) and 8:00am GMT (UK). Hope you all can watch with me and chat.

That's it for today! Hope you enjoyed my run down. What did you all think of this episode? Did you notice anything new? What grade would you give it? xx

<3Dana

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Susan
6/13/2011 23:16:43

Just wanted to say I love your blogs, girl, even when I don't comment directly, and I read them everyday:)

I like your speculations concerning Jack and Ianto's relationship timeline, it works for me. I haven't been able to watch all the episodes along with you, hopefully I can catch up this weekend:)

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