Episodes 2 & 3: Sleeper & To The Last Man, or, Vuja De, Sorta
After breaking out of formula a bit during the premiere, the past couple of eps have been, if not quite a step backwards, then seemingly placeholders 'til we reach the season's next big plot point.
Last week's Sleeper played out almost note-for-note like Season 1's Cyberwoman. The only new wrinkle was that the titular unwilling antagonist wasn't close to anybody on the team (though Gwen, back in Good Cop mode to Jack's Bad Cop, certainly tried to befriend her). Owen's suggestion of "Let's all have sex!" has been the line of the season so far, but it wasn't enough to save this episode. Hopefully the dangling plot thread of the alien cell itself gets picked up again later in the season.
From there, we got more Rift hijinks in To The Last Man, which parallelled last season's Out Of Time, only this time it's Toshiko who's caught in an inter-temporal love affair. What could've easily become another knock-off episode was saved by some welcome touches of continuity.
As Tosh grapples with her feelings for time-lost soldier Tommy, Owen (more on him later) steps up and tries to be there for her. Also, we got a nice opening sequence and peek at the Torchwood of 1918, whose members apparently didn't live long enough to get their retirement benefits, a factoid that prompts Ianto to pronounce, "Nothing ever changes."
The set-up for the episode -- this latest time shift coincide with Tommy's annual "day out" from cryogenic suspension -- brings up another interesting fact. Since Gwen didn't meet him last season, even off-camera, then we can only presume that she hasn't been with the team one full year yet. Coupled with Ianto's aforementioned line, that doesn't bode well for one of the regulars.
Speaking of Ianto, this episode saw the romance between he and Jack continue to smolder, to the point of full-on snogging in the office. I realize they've done more than that, just not on-camera. Hmm ... between that and the character's accompanying maturation, maybe he should be our early favorite in the Death Pool. Or maybe it should be Owen, who continues to amaze by ... well, not being a douchebag yet this year.
For the second time in three weeks, he comes up with the idea, albeit a hackneyed one involving "psychic projection," writer carny code for "Let's give Tosh and Tommy a dramatic goodbye." And the closing sequence found him gently attempting to console Tosh, who he's seemingly crushing on. Don't look now, but it seems like the show may actually be building to something.
Sleeper: 5 out of 10
To The Last Man: 7.5 out of 10
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