Source: BBC America
As I have been doing all week, I want to start off this article on "Torchwood: Children of Earth - Day Four" with a recap of "Day Three."
The most important part of last night's episode was the arrival of the alien race known as the 4-5-6. And again, we still had to wait til about half-way through the episode for them to come, which adds up to about three hours of the series without it's main protagonist even being on the same world as the series heroes. Of course, the government counts as a protagonist in this one, so it's not like the Torchwood team has been sitting around playing cards for two episodes. In fact just the opposite, so far the series has taken on a very "X-Files-esque" feel, with Jack, Gwen and Ianto running around not knowing who to trust.
Normally a sci fi series wouldn't be very entertaining without it's alien bad guys showing up early on, but for this story, their absence has worked, and how. Russell T Davies has masterfully built suspense by keeping the aliens off world.
Amazingly enough when the 4-5-6 finally do make their entrance.....we still don't see them. They are contained in a giant aquarium full of the toxic cloud atmosphere that they need to survive. We, the viewer, only get to see flashes of claws, tentacles and that's just about it.
Oh, and the 4-5-6 seem to throw up as regularly as a college freshman.
Again, my hats off to Davies for doing this. It appears that the skillful writer and director has learned the valuable lesson, that when it comes to monsters, sometimes less is more. Just like in "Alien" and "The Thing From Another World" it's what you don't see that is truly the most terrifying. The viewers mind ultimately fills in the blanks and conjures up a horror far more effective than anything even the most twisted effects man could dream up.
And the 4-5-6 are terrifying! Tentacles, one word answers and spewing vomit all combined behind a veil of toxic gas. Very, very effective!
And did I mention that they want 1/10th of our children.....as a gift?
Oh, and I know this thing is getting a bit 'wordy', but I also wanted to mention how much I loved it when the Torchwood team turned 'criminal' to outfit their new headquarters. Now that was fun to watch!
Okay, Captain Jack, tell us why you gave away a bunch of kids back in 1965 to these alien squids?
Children of Earth - Day Four
Torchwood finally learns the truth and everything now pivots around one man. Old allegiances are destroyed and true intentions are revealed. Part 4 airs Thursday, July 23rd, 9:00 - 10:15 p.m et/pt.
What the critics are saying:
Hero Press - Acrobatic Flea
If there's one thing Torchwood can be counted on to do well it's a death in the family. We all remember how powerful the simultaneous death scenes of Owen and Tosh were in Season Two's Exit Wounds.
Well, the sad passing of Ianto in Captain Jack's arms this evening was just as moving - and certainly not as inevitable.
The episode opened with more information about the original deal with 456 in Scotland, 40 years ago: a dozen children, who wouldn't be missed, in exchange for a miracle vaccine.
Total Sci Fi Online - Writer Unknown
Day Four of Quatermass: 2009 – sorry, Torchwood: Children Of Earth – and the creative team have yet to put a foot wrong. As the ratings hold strong (increasing for this fourth instalment, in fact!) and the gripping drama unfolds, Torchwood seems to have settled into a five-day epic format that works as event television.
As a regular series, Torchwood struggled in its first two seasons to find a raison d’etre. Now, with Children Of Earth it has one: it’s Britain’s answer to 24. This is a genuine television event in the style of the original Quatermass (which emptied pubs in the 1950s), or ITV’s broadcast of the original V mini-series opposite the 1984 Olympics. Kids watching Torchwood this week (and enjoying the illicit nature of it), will recall the coming of the 456 for a long time: at least, they will if episode five can wrap up a series that has enjoyed a nearly faultless set-up.
In case you missed the last two episodes of "Torchwood: Children of Earth", here are some photos: