Ever wonder what the Torchwood
crew does on their night off? Well, Tosh continues to work because she has no life to speak of and Jack probably does things I can't repeat here, but as for the rest of the team, they go to the movies. Ianto takes Gwen and Owen to the Electro, an old time movie house where they think they're going to be treated to a history of Cardiff. Gwen and Owen are understandably prepared to be bored, but Ianto is all about the black and white silent films.
While preparing the film, the son of the Electro owners notices that there is some creepy footage of sideshow folk and tries to cut their scenes from the film. Clearly people would rather watch the streets of Cardiff in 1902 instead of carnies. Poor kid isn't that great at his job because when the movie plays, the scenes are right back in it, including a scene of good old Captain Jack. He sure was a jack-of-all-trades!
Everyone is suitably creeped out by the scenes, and Ianto calls Jack in to investigate after he sees some suspicious shadows ate the theater. Ianto really needs better excuses to be alone with Jack, or I don't know, just say "fancy a shag?" When they look over the film again it turns out some characters have gone missing, namely a water lover named Pearl and the ringmaster whose name we'll learn is The Ghostmaker. The duo has escaped the film and is now wandering the city stealing the last breath out of anyone they come across and storing them in a magic flask. Torchwood is on the case!
Jack recognizes the people from a traveling band called The Night Travelers, who only performed at night and had a tendency to steal people to travel with them. What follows is a pretty search and rescue heavy episode where the team tries to find the escaped characters before they kill half the city. Meanwhile, the rest of the sideshow gets let out, thought it's not really explained how. Not a lot of character development here, but they can't all be gems, right?
Jack gets the bright idea that he can reverse their escape by filming them and exposing the film to light, overdeveloping them to death, again. This almost works perfectly except the flask gets opened when the Ghostmaker dies and the breaths get loose, so a bunch of people die. Nice going Torchwood, at least they were able to trap one last breath to bring a boy back. It didn't make any sense at all, I'll be the first to admit it.
The show ends with Jack ominously saying that film might still be out there that can bring the Night Travelers back, but nobody really worries about it because the episode was over.
My issues with this episode:
1) The supernatural elements were totally out of place. I'm a geek and a half, and as a Doctor Who
fan I am fully aware that the mythology of the universe states there is no such thing as the supernatural. Even a throwaway line about alien influence would have helped; the rift isn't magic you know.
2) Jack's work at a sideshow didn't draw the attention of Torchwood back then? I know an immortal man might rank high on the list of government agencies. Oh, and if you're going to have an action-heavy episode, at least fill it with action.
With only three episodes left this season, this had better be the last clunker. The season has been quite a rollercoaster of emotions and quality, and I'm still along for the ride.
People go missing, Gwen gets curious, Jack is hiding something, Gwen goes all Scooby-Doo to solve the mystery.
Story by Dan Chruscinski
Starpulse contributing writer