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Torchwood – Gwen shines in the Jack-centric episode

In 'Immortal Sins,' Gwen steals the episode that was to revolve around Jack. I have absolutely no problem with this.

- Season 4, Episode 7 - "Immortal Sins"

When I sat down with John Barrowman at Comic Con, he said that this was the episode that Torchwood fans should be looking forward to. Well, in actuality, he said Episode Five, but he was talking about this one. This was the big look into Jack’s life, how he might be involved in the root of the Miracle. It was also to be a “Big Damn Jack and Gwen show.” While “Immortal Sins” tried to do all of these things, it was foremost an opportunity for Eve Myles’ Gwen Cooper to steal the show.

Throughout the run of Torchwood, we’ve seen Gwen fight to keep her work life in balance with her home life. She has been, for the most part, pretty successful. She got married, and told Rhys what she really did – something that no other member of Torchwood was allowed to do. Her confession to Jack colors all of that history:

I caused this; I knew this would happen. I knew Torchwood was toxic. Right from the moment I joined; the very first day. But I stayed … because you know what is the worst thing of all? After all of the shit we have seen, all the bloodshed, all the horror … do you know what is worse than all of that? I loved it … I bloody loved it. And I’d keep telling Rhys I was sorry and I say to little Anwen, “I’m sorry,” but I loved it so much. I knew things that no one else knew, and I felt so special. And when we lost people, it was so, so big, and I could say it was worth it, ‘cause the bigger it was, the more important I was, and the more people we lost, the more that meant I was a survivor, and I was better than them. Oh god this is all my fault, and now they’ve got my beautiful little girl….

Then, she promises Jack that she’d see him killed to save her family, and he’d do the same to save his new mortality. These confessions and pledges weren’t what they seemed at first; they were not threats or pontifications. Jack and Gwen were, in their own way, confessing their sins to each other. They both figured their relationship might soon be at an end, and they were both clearing their conscience, at the end. Thanks to Rex, Esther and Fred, they were given a real chance to forgive each other.

I’ll have to hold judgment on Angelo for now. They’ve spun the idea that the Big Bad, be it Angelo or someone yet unseen, has a significant grudge to bear against Jack. After Angelo led the folly that was Jack’s circus act torture show, it would seem that the Captain has much more of a right to be pissed than his former lover. I had hoped, with only three episodes left, that we would have more answers than hints at this point, but I think I’ll keep waiting and see how things play out.

Notes & Quotes

  • “We just did something special … why do you make it cheap?” – Angela
    “I suppose I do sometimes.” – Jack
  • “It’s been about 700 years since my last confession. Where to start? How about the triplets. Or the naked circus. Or that sapphic leapfrog jamboree.” – Jack
  • A direct reference to the Doctor, and a mention of the Trickster’s Brigade
  • Two episodes with no Jilly or Oswald?
  • “I’m sorry Angelo, but this is the story of my life. It always ends the same way. You kill me … men like you kill me.” — Jack
  • I absolutely love Esther and Rex riding in as the cavalry, and Gwen’s embrace of Rex
  • Poor Fred, saves the day, but is forced to shoot someone for the first time
  • [To Jack] You, you’re going to live.” — Gwen
    “It’s a talent of mine.” — Jack
    “I meant every word I said.” — Gwen
    “So did I [they hug quickly].” — Jack


Photo Credit: Starz

9 Responses to “Torchwood – Gwen shines in the Jack-centric episode”

August 20, 2011 at 2:39 AM

I really do love this series and the fact that we get to look in to the life of Jack, once you get beyond the idea that at some point in time there is three Jacks living at the same time (well not until the 1940’s).

The one thing though that has really bugged me about Miracle Day (don’t get me wrong, I really do love the show, since I love Torchwood) is what they made Jack in to. I miss the old Jack that would hump anything that was pretty, be it man, woman, and definitely other. Starz makes it seem like he’s only interested in men. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but that is just not the old Jack. And the one thing in particular, as awesome as that confession was (and seriously, you explained it in such an awesome way), I just wanted Jack to finally after all of these years to say to Gwen that he had real feelings for her. It just seems like some of those little things were thrown out of the window in this series.

August 20, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I am truly interested in knowing this and just not being argumentative. But when have we ever seen Jack humping a female. During the first three seasons of Torchwood it was only Ianto who he ever seemed to have any interest in. In Dr. Who he equally semi flirted with men and women but no sexual innuendo was ever uttered. He has kissed three women during both these shows that I know of. Rose when he also kissed the Doctor, The sex alien infested girl to help her live longer, and Gwen who actually kissed him after he saved the life of the sex alien infected girl. That is it and yet he kissed Captain John, who shared the fact that they had been partners in every way, Ianto who he was also caught with naked and in the midst of some sexual act, and the real Captain Jack Harkness which was so hot it won After Elton’s kiss of the year award. Whenever Jack talks of past loves it always starts out with “I had a boyfriend once who….” We know he has been married to at least two women and had a short wartime romance with another to whom he never returned. Why is it because in this episode we see him in a one night stand and a beautiful romance with men do we suddenly think he is too gay. Gwen did ask him how many children he had, was that enough for us to know that children must equate with women he has made love to. Please I really would like to know what drives this issue.

August 20, 2011 at 9:03 AM

It’s Andy, not Fred.

August 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM

What a dunce! I’ve been calling him Fred all throughout my Virgin Diary, too.

He kinda looks like an Andy, no?

August 20, 2011 at 11:23 PM

I agree this was the best episode of MD yet (I was impatient for identifiable extraterrestrials to show up), but I respectfully disagree about Gwen. Maybe it’s because I’ve never like her character (nothing against the actress–I’ve always though “heart” was a useless power and making a female character pregnant as a symbol for something leaves me cold). I thought Gwen was just a weepy mechanism to get Jack to the meeting. I thought Angelo stole the show.

I guess we each see it our own way. :)

August 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM

So, the “Heart of Torchwood” felt good because their deaths meant she was better than her former colleagues. It isn’t necessary for anyone to assassinate her character; the writer’s of this show are doing a fine job of it. Her hypocrisy was on full display as she who lied to Reese throughout seasons one and two, mostly without cause, cheated on Reese, and now we know got off on surviving what felled her colleagues. Nothing admirable about this so-called heroine and I wish we’d seen the last of her. The fact Jack forgives her makes me admire him less. The train wreck continues.

August 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

See, I find that she forgave Jack to be a much bigger deal. Jack has done some shitty things over the years, but constantly comes off Scott-free.

Gwen’s admissions where much more self-reflective than we’ve EVER seen out of Jack.

August 22, 2011 at 2:20 AM

My boyfriend postulated that Angelo found a way (perhaps with the help of the Trickster’s Brigade) to use the blood the woman drew from Jack to become immortal himself so he could be together with Jack… and in doing so created the Miracle. I’m not saying it all fits together, but I’d guess the idea is pretty close.

August 22, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I personally love Gwen. I think anyone accusing her of being a hypocrite is missing the point of her character: she is flawed, because she is ultimately human. If we were ever placed in the many unfortunate positions that she has been in, we would probably act the same and turn on loved ones or friends (quite reminiscent of the Doctor Who episode ‘Midnight’) for the sake of ourselves or indeed, other loved ones. She’s honest, and I think she’s the most believable character in the series.

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