Torchwood: Children of Earth

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Over a week has passed since Canadian audiences were able to watch Torchwood's third season (a five-parter shown over the course of one week on the space network) and I'm still in awe over how dark the series wasn't afraid to get. I avoided any spoilers from overseas so everything but the basic premise came as a surprise. Suspense, dread, love, loss, sacrifice and even a comedic sequence that involved the remaining members of Torchwood going on a stealing spree—this third season had it all.

I should've known from the stony look in Jack's eyes when he mentioned handing twelve kids over to the 456 (one of the creepiest alien enemies I've ever seen, in part because the swirling vapours in its tank always partially obscure its form prompting us to imagine the worst) back in 1965 that he would be prepared to make other terrible sacrifices for a greater good.

Whether you think Jack was right or wrong (I'm not sure he clearly knows the answer to this himself) it's a horrifying question to have to ask, one the show makes us pose along with him.

When it comes down to it the most frightening thing about this third season wasn't the 456 itself but the deal humanity's representatives (governments) were willing to make to save the majority (a sacrifice which is later echoed in Jack's own terrible sacrifice). But can you actually save civilization by making such a grave sacrifice or will the cost of that sacrifice poison what remains?

I especially appreciated Gwen's explanation of why, this time, the Doctor doesn't show up to save the day:

I can easily understand why some viewers could find these questions too dark to want to explore but I admire the show tremendously for daring to ask, with painful honesty, who we are as a species — not on our best days but when the chips are down and it's a matter of all going down together or allowing select others to be dragged off into the darkness.

Gwen and Reese trying to escape the children cull in Torchwood: Children of Earth
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