Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torchwood: A Day in the Death

The Singing Stone Horizon Guide to Touchwood
written without any permission (or consent) by anyone who would sue me
by Ewen Campion Clarke

DISCLAIMER: This is an unauthorized program guide to the stupendously awful Doctor Who cash-in Angel-rip-off. Neither the guide nor the series is to be taken seriously. Or orally. And if rash occurs – and it probably will – consult the Doctor immediately.

"TOUCHWOOD... never heard of it. Sounds rude to me. My name’s Lucie bleedin Miller and, while I’m probably for famous for shooting my husband, Prime Minister of Great Britain, live on National TV. But did you know that, in my naive youth I got knocked up by a zombie? The truth we be told on Trisha, probably."

Episode 8: The Cautionary Tale of Lucie Miller

Jack decides that everyone really hates Owen and he just needs the smallest excuse to fire his pale ass and replace him with Martha Jones. However, because they hate him SO much, they let him take over Ianto Jones’ vital tasks of making coffee and ordering pizzas. The team also take great delight in reminding him he has always been alone, while the team all have people in their lives. Deeply frustrated, Owen cuts his own hand off with a scalpel (since he’s a zombie who feels no pain whatsoever) and hides it in Martha’s lunch box with one finger extended in mocking salute.
Hurling abuse at everyone present, Martha quits in a fit of pique and tells Jack that she will be wearing a blonde wig and calling herself "Rosie" to draw the Doctor back to Earth rather than relying on Touchwood to save the world. Deeply satisfied, Owen zones out and doesn’t notice Martha tying lead weights to his body and dumping him in Mermaid Bay. Unfortunately, the zombie doesn’t drown since he doesn’t need air, and escapes. Jack uses this to his advantage by filming it and putting it up on youtube.
Owen points out that, during his drowning his entire life flashed before his eyes and he can remember the one woman he loved in his entire life and an LSD flashback to when, last New Year’s Eve, he spotted a blonde girl standing on the roof of a building and decided to see if she’d jump. The girl revealed she was called Lucie Miller, but she’d been in a horrendous car crash that wiped out her entire family and caused her permanent brain damage, forcing her to forever act like an aggressive, spoilt brat who talks like an anthropomorphic duck. Owen agreed that there seemed to be nothing left for her, so she should jump, but first they could get squelchy.
The Touchwood Team point out that Owen’s a zombie and medically unable to screw anything, but nevertheless he managed it. He didn’t bother with a condom but points out that it’s the woman’s responsibility to worry about birth control when having hardcore sex on a roof with a zombie. Just then, a strange hippie Time Lord arrived and whisked Lucie away to a police box outside the Millennium Centre, and the last Owen heard, she was the wife of Alan B’Stard, former British Prime Minister and then sent to jail for first degree homicide.
Owen admits that, looking back at things, he can’t actually remember if there was a point to his story, especially as he never actually loved Lucie and indeed date-raped her. Everyone agrees that the TRUE moral of the story is that Owen is total fuckwit.

Trivia Questions
1. Which adult sex shoppe does Owen visit in the very first scene?
2. What reference does Owen make to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to describe his current state?

Great Moments - Owen’s heartwarming display of fierce Zombie Pride: "We’re here! We’re dead! Get used to it!"

Fashion Crimes -
Lucie manages to change her outfit three times during her conversation/date-rape with Owen, from a smart-looking (albeit bloodstained) pinstripe business suit to a crushed velvet coat over a rainbow-patterned dress before ending up in the ugly denim chavfest she wore in Doctor Who. Yet her huge hoop earrings remain the same.

Missing Adventures -
The fate of Owen’s offspring is found in "Wirrn-Born", if that’s not too much of a giveaway...

Technobabble - The "auto-erectification factor" allows Zombie Owen to have sex despite not having any pulse.
I seriously did NOT need to know this.

Great Lines -
Lucie: Okay, you’re dead, and clearly that’s a bit shit, and I’m sorry and everything, but if…if you are dead, then why are you here? You can’t be wanting to jump…you can’t die twice!
Owen: Sorry, are you an expert?
Lucie: Sorry, are you an idiot?
Owen: Yeah, I’m a dead idiot. Want a fuck?
Lucie: Ah, what’s the worst that could happen?

Gwen: Jack! What are you doing here.
Jack: Thirty-six minutes to drown him… not bad.
Tosh: You were watching?
Jack: Hot Asian babes throwing skinny guy in tight jeans runs into water? Tosh, baby... I was taking pictures.

Owen: Ianto, even TOSH had more of a life than you used to, and now you’re always out on missions, you’re shagging Jack, and I’m stuck here making the coffee. Gwen’s getting married, Martha’s got her bloke, even Tosh had Tommy…this is really SHIT!
Ianto: Boo... fucking... hoo. Get me some fucking coffee, you walking dead emo cunt.

Jack: You can SO come back at any time.
Martha: Maybe I will…one day. When I’ve had my brains removed and you people have all been replaced by evil robots that are actually in any way reliable.

Crap Lines – Jack: Everybody lives! Just this once! Everybody lives!
Ianto: Except for Owen.
Jack: Oh, yeah, except for Owen.

Owen: What am I supposed to do?
Jack: Watch TV. Chill.
Owen: Jack, I’m dead. I’m permanently chilled. You know, you get to live forever. I’d like to die forever. It’s funny, innit?
Jack: Not really. Now get the fuck out of my office, you spiteful little tosspot.

Lucie: What do I do now?
Owen: You’ve got a choice. If you think that the darkness is too much, then go for it. But if there is a chance, just some hope…maybe having a cigarette, or that first sip of hot tea on a cold morning. Or it could be your mates. If there is even a tiny glimmer of light, then don’t you think it’s worth taking the chance?
Lucie: Well...
Owen: Fine! Enough of the seduction! Strip now or I’ll just have to drug you!

Plot Oversights
- What is the difference if Owen has a gun and badge, or is active/inactive on the roster? He’s still walking around the Hub, acting like he owns the place, and accusing anyone who enjoys Tintin to be indulging in bestiality! If you want to fire him, LITERALLY SET HIM ON FIRE!
- What convinces Tosh that Owen would be bound to use his long-dead sperm to impregnate Lucie? Did she just see that episode of Trisha and now realize that Owen is the 'undead tosser' Lucie mentioned?
- How come Lucie is covered in so much blood? Did that car crash sever limbs on her family? Or did she murder some people on the way up to the top of the building?
- Martha claims to be leaving Cardiff for London, but she heads in the wrong direction for the train station and it’s the middle of the night. Is she just desperate to get away from these losers, or has the knowledge that the Doctor has a thing for irritating blonde teenagers caused her even MORE despair?

Viewers’ Quotes

"Owen dies, thus allowing him to mope more. What baffles me is that anyone might consider forty-five minutes of a corpse complaining about being dead to be a workable basis for a drama programme."
- Mad Larry the Pirate King (2008)

"As a member of Friends of Zombies, I’m pleased to see that a television drama treats its subject seriously. Most sensationalist media portray zombies as trundling, thick flesheaters, or figures of fun. Finally, I can thank the Touchwood team for their sensitive treatment of a very emotive subject amongst the zombie community – although a help-line number at the end would have been perfect. I am typing this for my friend Trevor, who is himself a zombie and would have posted on his own, except all his fingers have fallen off. I am somewhat of a 'weekend zombie' – but please don't tell my wife, she is already suspicious as she looked in my wardrobe and found some toes in my shoes that had fallen off and I’d forgotten to hide. I guess I WANT to come out of the closet, but it’s so nice and dark in there – and the sunlight hurts my eyes! Way to heap blame and guilt onto my Zombie buddy Trevor; he’s so distraught he's just kicked the PC and his foot has come off at the heel! Casualty say that they won’t take him any more as he’s technically dead and so the Hippocratic oath doesn’t cover him. And don’t talk to him about going private – the costs! The spiraling costs! – no wonder zombies have a reputation for doing that low moan at the back of their throats – they’re all waist high in debt, or neck high if their legs have fallen off. Eating flesh is cheap, OK! That’s the ONLY reason they do it! Shambling slowly around ? It’s called DEPRESSION! I hope that the Touchwood series will begin to reflect all of this emotional and financial trauma in the coming weeks." - Rob Zombie (2008)

"Instead of the Z-word shouldn’t we be using a more politically-correct, more sensitive term like "vitally challenged" or "ambulatory deceased"? BULLSHIT! I object totally - I won’t have my screen filled with the undead. They come back from the grave, stealing our jobs, taking our houses and perverting our society - why only the other day I saw the Council erecting a bus stop near the cemetery, JUST so the undead could head on down to the Dead Centre and claim their incapacity benefits. That’s MY taxes that is! Ooh, it makes me so mad, they should all be sent back to where they came from!"
- Dr Synasta (2008)

"SERIOUSLY! Who thinks that Owen’s actually the Doctor in disguise? He keeps saying things like "I’m the Doctor", hanging around Jack in Cardiff, flirting with Martha... Clearly Owen is the Doctor on his last regeneration, hence his zombification! Please don’t destroy me."
- Stupid Fan Who Was Promptly Destroyed (2009)

"The one thing that I cannot forgive this episode for, however... is revealing that Owen talked Lucie Miller OUT of killing herself. Christ, Lister, I had enough reasons to hate the guy!"
- Jared "No Nickname" Hansen (2008)

The Author Speaks
"I don’t JUST do Emo stories, you know!"

Trivia Answers
1. Plastic Fantastic, where Rose Tyler used to work. 2. "Life? Don’t talk to ME about life..."
Rumors and Facts -
Dave Lister is one of Big Finish’s success stories, especially his fine work for the Eighth Doctor range, despite only writing one story. Hang on... yep, he only did one story. But it was a GOOD story, and would indeed be ripped off by Touchwood two episodes later. Lister had kept an eye on the spin-off audios of the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller as they fought a range of alternative comedians and Tom Baker era monsters, and concluded the only interesting idea in twenty stories was the idea that Lucie had a one-night stand with a zombie called Owen. And, you know, he’s probably right.

For his first Touchwood script, he wanted to tie Lucie’s trendy necrophilia in with the character of Owen, who was also a zombie, and thus make lots of nifty fanwank threads come together, as if it WASN’T enough Sheridan Smith had appeared in the TV series already as Lucie Miller, married to John Simms’ Bastard in the 2007 finale.

Originally RTD wanted this episode to feature Owen and Lucie meeting at a spooky 24-hour supermarket run by zombies, and then making out behind Slurpie machine, but when pressed RTD admitted he no longer gave a shit about Touchwood and frankly had much better things to do, like emailing his genius in detail to Ben Cook.

Ruminations -
For a first-time television writer, The Cautionary Tale of Lucie Miller is an amazingly tight script with some very powerful moments, from Ianto pouring boiling water down Owen’s throat to Tosh tying lead weights to Owen and throwing him into the bay, this episode was filled with MOMENTS and the plot itself is very much an unimportant one-liner, a gripping tale that, unbelievably, manages to take us into the sex lives of the undead. Simple. Elegant. Perfect. I think I need to pluck own eyes out after seeing Burn Gorman all grey, naked, with a sucking chest wound and a missing hand...

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