Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torchwood: Dead Man Walking

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... stahn kali bassion eztess! Tror ail propun dun proletariat ahzo! Kelar iyan jassic cyonet res! Daaaaay yoo! Daaaaay yoo! Daaaaaay liiiiiiight caaaaaaaaarmmmmes and we waaaaaaaaaanerrr go hooooooooooooooooooyummmmmm! HOP!"

Episode 6: Owen Harper, Zombie Jerk

The Touchwood team are in a state of shock – Owen Harper has finally been shot dead, but is somehow still walking and talking. Suspecting this is just mass hysteria, Martha Jones leads the others in a lynch mob to take Owen back to the Hub and dissect him. Owen explains he’s actually a zombie, and has been for years; he’s such an asshole, no one has ever gotten close enough to him on a personal level to realize this before. This explains why he never helps out with cooking or has sex with everyone, and his brilliant tactic of making every human being despise him utterly has kept this a secret for the best part of a decade, but now the cat is out of the bag.

When quizzed exactly how the hell he was able to hold back death itself, Owen admits he’s never been entirely sure but, if he had to, he’s say it probably began that night the Cardiff rift opened and a being composed of cigarette smoke fused with his body. Owen is completely confident however that him possessing some extra-dimensional parasite won’t have ANY long term consequences, before starts speaking in an unknown language, his pupils dilate and he heads to a bar and starts a fight, and ends up one of the few Welsh zombies with a criminal record.

The Touchwood Team decide to let him rot... perhaps literally... in jail when Owen is broken out by an army of pig-based Weevils, who worship Owen and speak to him in that unknown language. Googling this phenomenon, they discover that Owen is possessed by the spirit of Death Incarnate who intends to suck the life out of 13 victims and then destroy all life on Earth. Martha decides to stab Owen in the head with a syringe of embalming fluid, which seems to be a plan with no drawbacks.

Suddenly, angry tics fire out of Owen’s nipples and kill Jack. He wakes up to find lots of stuff has happened and they are now at Albion hospital, with Martha drained of life and aged to an old hag while Death Incarnate runs around picking off twelve souls, screaming "I will walk the earth forever, and my hunger shall know no bounds!"

Tosh points out that as Owen and Jack are immortal they just need to lock Death Incarnate with the pair of them in a lift. Jack announces that he’s finding it rather hot in a confined space and begins to disrobe and 3.31 million viewers are horrified as Jack makes the Grim Reaper squeal like a pig. Does this consume its energy and force it back into the darkness? Or is it just uncontrolled homophobia on the part of Death Incarnate? Either way, it buggers off and kindly restores Martha to her original age. For some reason.

Emerging from the lift, the deeply nauseated Owen says what he just saw has disgusted him so much he is not sure he can keep doing his job at Touchwood. Jack points out he was a feckless bum anyway and no one would notice whether or not he turned up for work.

Owen calls Jack a "necro-skeptic" and decides to sue the Touchwood Institute for compensation for prejudice and discrimination against a non-mortal member of society.

Trivia Questions
1. Which Doctor Who story is the prequel to this episode? 2. Which Doctor Who story does everyone always ASSUME to be the prequel to this episode?
Great Moments - Well, I don’t think any other cult TV show has Thantos the God of Death being anally raped in a lift while a zombie vomits in disgust. OK, maybe it could happen in "Drawn Together", but NOWHERE ELSE!

Fashion Crimes
Death Incarnate’s gold halo and Styrofoam angel wings.
Missing Adventures –
Owen learned to speak an ancient magical language using the Earthpower forces after he read "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" by Stephen R Donaldson, attempting to look intellectual and pull chicks. It never worked, or even came in useful until now.
Technobabble - "I was hurdling a hayley quadraphonic isopheric nullifier, you dick!"
Great Lines - Ianto: I have searched for the phrase "I will walk the earth and my hunger will know no bounds" on wikipedia, but I keep getting redirected to Weight Watchers. I’ve tried looking how to kill Death itself and according to Red Dwarf episode guide you should be able to just kick him in the bollocks.

Owen: What are you in here for?
James: Leukemia.
Owen: Oh, thank god for that! I thought you were a bald midget with terrible taste in headgear! They got you in for a round of chemo?
James: No. I just thought I’d shave my head because it’s the coolest look around. You big-mouthed defective.

Death Incarnate: Fuck. I knew learning to open doors would be useful somewhere along the line...

Owen: You’ve stopped flirting with me. I mean, it’s alright; I wouldn’t flirt with me in my condition either. Is it still necrophilia when I’m conscious?
Cop: Just breathe into the bag, sir.
Owen: I can’t. I don’t have any breath.
Cop: Right, jenkins, get the ASP. We’re gonna teach this wide-mouthed pervert a lesson he’ll never forget!

Tosh: Can you really beat death?
Jack: You can never REALLY beat death. Never escape it. It’s always in the shadows waiting.
Tosh: So what do we do now?
Jack: You can hold my trousers. Now avert your gaze, Toshiko, this is going to get messy. YEEE-HAAWW!

Martha: You have the power to bring people back to life, and you never told UNIT, why?
Jack: They would have wanted to use it.
Martha: Yeah! So?
Jack: What? You’re not going to trust THOSE amateurs over me, are you?
Martha: I would trust Osama Bin Laden over you.

Jack: "Only in suffering do we recognize beauty."
Owen: Yeah, who said that?
Jack: Proust. I’d chained him up and was dripping hot candle wax on his nether regions when he said that.
Crap Lines – Gwen: How did they stop it from getting to thirteen and where does 'faith' come into it?
Jack: Hey, *I* asked YOU that!
Gwen: You did?
Jack: Yeah, like twenty minutes ago.
Gwen: Oh? Wait did I say?
Jack: 'I don't know'
Gwen: Bollocks.

Jack to Martha –
"Don’t worry – we’ll find a way to reverse this... because you’ve got to be on Doctor Who in a couple of months! Dads won’t be watching if you’re looking like that. Well, not unless it’s a special leather furniture episode of The Antique’s Roadshow..."

Gwen: Hey, I just heard that twelve people have been killed.
Jack: Duh, so?
Gwen: So when Death kills thirteen people we’re screwed.
Jack: It’s twelve now! WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!!!
Gwen: ...I just told you that.
Jack: Oh, aren’t you special?

Owen: Yeah, so I’ve caused the deaths of a dozen people because of a decision on a whim about me being hot, which would easily be enough to have me dishonorably discharged if this organization ACTUALLY had any sort of code of conduct at all, and I nearly killed a visiting dignitary who happened to be visiting. I admit it. I’m a prick. Considering that, care to actually break the habit of a lifetime and give me my fucking job back?
Jack: Yeah, why not?

Plot Oversights
- Martha’s autopsy log begins with the time but not the date. What, are they trying to recreate the UNIT dating controversy or something? For the love of GOD! Ruse is 2005, Alias of London 2006, School’s Out 2007, Smith & Weston 2008, Bunglers in Crime 2009, and Escape to Danger on the Planet in Space Cutaway! is 2010! LET THAT BE AN END TO IT!!
- Why do the police put two brawling men in a cell together? Do they need to get more overtime?
- It's nice that Jack is evacuating everyone to the carpark. The carpark that is infested with Weevils. Yes, that’s right, Matt Jones, I watch for these details.
- How exactly do Touchwood get "reports" of 12 dead people when the nurse died alone under the bed?
- The club scene has no music but the patrons are dancing. Well, if you can CALL that spasmodic jerking and waving of karma signs to count as "dancing". Young people today, I ask you...
- When Owen notices the bullet hole in his chest, Jack is standing upside down in a bucket of Piranha fish - the angle then changes and Jack has a hand growing out of his back waving a sign saying, "HI, MUM!". Similarly there are a string of minor continuity errors with Owen’s hands during the scene where the team wonder about the origin of the energy as they randomly catch fire.
- Why is it that Martha was rejuvenated simply by the exit of Death Incarnate when no one else was?
- When Gwen calls Rhys, his phone makes the sound used to signify that Elvis has entered the building, not the ringtone.
- If Owen doesn’t have the blood for an erection, how has the colour returned to his cheeks? Is he a transvestite as well? If he has no gag reflex, how does he vomit at the sight of Jack and Death going it doggy style?
- The signs on the fire door in the hospital are nonsensical. One says "OBEY INSTRUCTIONS ON SIGN BELOW" and the other one says "IGNORE INSTRUCTIONS ON SIGN ABOVE". How the hell does that work?!

Viewers’ Quotes

"OK, clearly death has irreversibly changed Owen’s character. Gone is the confident, cynical, sexually successful Owen and in his place we have an impotent, more caring and vulnerable Owen with 'issues'. Which do you prefer? Should the scriptwriters have left him as he was or has 'death' made him more interesting? And surely he should be played by Adam Rickitt and covered in lots and lots and lots of honey?"
- Sparacus (2008)

"Kinkiest tango team I’ve ever seen."
- Torville and Dean (2009)

"GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! They could have just ripped off The Quatermass Xperiment, but no! NO! They had to rip ME off as well!"
- Nala Snevets (2008)

"Is it just me, or has anybody else been reminded of the tenth Doctor when watching Owen, especially in the past few episodes?"
- Same Guy Who Thought Spike Was Just Like The Doctor (2008)

"Death is cool. I'm sure it wasn't the intention, but I found the big black eyes/white skin to be incredibly HOT. Anyone else think this, or am I alone in my new fetish? The whole possessed-by-death-incarnate- come-to-eat-your-soul-and-destroy-your-life thing a major turn on."
- Emo Girl (2008)

"Why were the Weevils following Jack and Owen? Was it because of Death or because the episode needed padding with ooh yes, yet another pointless run about chase at night time – yawn?"
- A. Cynic (2008)

The Author Speaks
Trivia Answers
1. Nicotine, with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex. 2. Image of the Ken Doll, with the Fourth Doctor, Leela and K9. Rumors and Facts -
Matthew Jones previously penned Doctor Who: The Santa Tip, which featured Captain Jack and the Touchwood Team fighting the personification of Western Consumerism who took over the body of Ianto Jones and tries to destroy all life on Earth. This time he wrote Owen Harper, Zombie Jerk, which featured Captain Jack and the Touchwood Team fighting the personification of Death who took over the body of Owen Harper and tries to destroy all life on Earth.

What a range that man has.

Some people say that, due to the lack of any interviews, photos or concrete evidence he actually exists, that Jones is merely the penname for Russell T Davies. Of course Matthew Jones exists. He’s just really, REALLY embarrassed to have written for Touchwood.

And who can blame him?

Ruminations -
It’s a bit like They Keep Shagging Suzie, only with a less attractive zombie. I wonder if Tosh will fall in love with a lesbian alien next week?

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