Torchwood Episode 3 Review: Cult of the Soulless

TORCHWOOD: Thursday 28th July, BBC1, 9pm

Following the CIA assassination attempt on Captain Jack in last week’s episode, the Torchwood team are playing hide and seek in Washington as they try to unravel what’s causing the so called ‘miracle day’ on planet earth.

Armed with the accrued interest on Captain Jack’s bank account from 1906, the team get stuck in to detangling a conspiracy that goes much further than previously thought. With the discovery of millions of drugs being secretly stashed in a warehouse over the last year, all signs suddenly point to multi-national pharmaceutical company Phicorp being involved in the ‘miracle’ – they’ve even recruited paedophile murderer Oswald Danes as their poster boy. So it’s true then – there really is no such thing as bad publicity..

There’s also the rise of the mysterious ‘cult of the soulless’, with thousands of masked followers taking to the streets in robot like formation for as yet no particular reason. Interestingly, they have a tear coming out of one eye, similar to the race of cybermen that often feature in Doctor Who. Could this be a hint as to what we can expect as the series unravels?

With all this going on, you’d think that the Torchwood team would be no time to think about anything else, especially since they are at the top of the CIA’s most wanted list. But in a bemusing and frankly out of place piece of writing by Russell T Davies, Captain Jack pops into a gay bar to get his groove on, using his famous WWII coat to flirt with the barman. Thanks to the Beeb’s editing, we’re also treated a sex scene that’s quicker than a teenage boy losing his virginity at the Playboy mansion.

But he’s not the only one living it up, with injured Rex also getting it together with his doctor pal Vera, possibly the only woman under 40 in the world to claim that name. Quite how Rex’s character managed to can get it on is beyond me – lest we forget this is the man walking around with a hole through his body following a car accident.

There’s also the usual yawn inducing references to differences between the Americans and English, with Gwen deciding to have a chat about snack foods and fizzy drinks with Esther, the ex-CIA agent with heels so big that she might make Peter Crouch look like Kenny Baker. At this rate, I look forward to the ‘you say tom-ay-to, i say tom-ar-to’ conversation next week.

In a fast paced story that jumps around more than a young McCauley Culkin after five litres of coke, we see Gwen bring out the alien contact lenses from Children of Earth to infiltrate the headquarters of evil pharmacological company Phicorp, while Captain Jack stumbles around hungover and feeling awful for the first time in his life. The lead character proceeds to have a one on one with Oswald Danes, with the two finding perhaps they have more in common than they first thought – after all, they both have killed a child.

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