Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torchwood: Exit Wounds

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... It seems today, that all you see, is aliens in Cardiff and Ood on TV but how can we do more sexy moments that make the parents cry? Lucky there’s a spin-off show! Lucky there’s a Hub where, anything can go where, aliens have sex or KILL US SLOW! Set in Wales you know!"

Episode 13: Exit Stage Freaking Left

Spike the Cool Person has returned to Cardiff to wage a war of terror on the Welsh capital, as bombs systematically blow up what bits of the town Touchwood haven’t already ruined in collateral damage. Captain Jack takes this calmly by abandoning his team mates and fleeing to the Hub and hoping to escape the oncoming holocaust. Unfortunately, knowing of Jack’s monumental cowardice, Spike has laid a deadly trap involving Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip’s "I Lost My **CENSORED** to a Starship Trooper" and several machine guns.
The rest of the team split up as Spike uses aforementioned Hot Gossip tune to drive the Weevils into a psychotic frenzy, and assassinates all the government and police fellows who might be of use in the current emergency. Thus, not only is Touchwood left in charge of Cardiff, Gwen is left in charge of Touchwood. Truly, the end is nigh.
After admiring the carnage from the top of the remains of Cardiff Castle, Spike uses his nifty Vortex Manipulator wrist gadget to travel 1982 years into the past, to 27 AD where Cardiff was just a rather boring meadow. Jack protests that, give or take the odd bit of underwear, he hasn’t been stalking Spike in any way at all – he doesn’t even have a Time Agent gizmo necessary to follow Spike through time and space! Spike concedes this is so, but decides to bury Jack alive just to be on the safe side, when the TRUE villain appears:
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS: Jack’s identical but so much more evil and homophobic twin brother who never had any love for Johnny Depp and kept his original surname. Why identical twin brothers were both named "Jack" isn’t clear, but they ARE all inbred rednecks in the 51st Century.
Captain Jack Harkness laughs evilly and buries his brother to spend the rest of eternity underneath the most boring place in the universe. Captain Jack Sparrow laughs, confident he just has to wait five billion years and then the sun will explode, destroying the Earth and finally freeing him – but, on reflection, admits this plan kinda sucks. Captain Jack Harkness finishes filling in the grave and then, after gloating that he has manipulated Spike as a cat’s paw, sends the blond once-was-vamp back to contemporary Cardiff out of sheer sadism.
Realizing that he’s been made to look like a complete tool, Spike vows revenge and teams up with Gwen, unaware how clinically insane she has become since they last met. Nevertheless, her idiocy means Spike simply claims that he has been being blackmailed by CJH and Gwen instantly believe it without any proof of any kind. The others aren’t so stupid however, and are more concerned that the Canine Nuclear Power Plant is about to go into meltdown and an army of Weevils have surrounded it. As no one likes him, Owen is sent to single-handedly defeat the Weevils and save Cardiff. Amazingly enough, he manages to do just that – unfortunately, he idiotically vents the system into the control room he happens to be standing in. Owen is consumed by the radioactive waste, half-hoping he might mutate into Godzilla, but instead simply dissolves into goo.
Taking about half a second to mourn Owen’s passing... again... Tosh is sent to try and locate where CJH has got to while Ianto, Gwen and Spike use a perpetually looped tape of "Are Friends Electric" to force the Weevils to retreat back into the sewers. But the evil CJH ambushes Tosh and shoots her through the head with a sawn-off shotgun, sending her brains everywhere.
CJH prepares to hunt down the remaining team members because... um... he’s evil or something, when a rhythmic wheezing, groaning noise is heard throughout the Hub. CJH investigates it and finds its source is the Hub’s morgue, when suddenly a battered blue police box materializes in mid air and falls right on CJH’s head, killing him and crushing him like the Wicked Witch of the East. Yes, the Last of the Time Lords was using pre-civilization Cardiff to play golf, and spotted Jack being buried alive. With the immediate situation resolved, the Doctor gets bored and heads off again, leaves again.
With Owen, Tosh and his own brother dead, Jack is convinced that this without doubt makes him the highest-ranking Touchwood member. Ianto and Gwen challenge him to sort out the ruined city, but Jack is only interested in nicking Spike’s Vortex Manipulation thingie, telling the others that this is only a beginning.
"Let’s go on vacation and forget all about those two losers!"

Trivia Questions
1. Which infamous Doctor Who monster makes its Touchwood debut?
2. What was Owen’s date of birth?

Great Moments - During the routing of Cardiff, we see Rose Tyler’s old workplace (Plastic Fantastic) be destroyed after it was so painstakingly rebuilt for the fourth time.
...what? It’s a brilliant running gag! Philistines.

Fashion Crimes -
The Doctor’s dynamic, full-length, zebra-marked, black and white coat, fearsome tanktop, multicoloured hipsters and startling white boots don’t QUITE draw attention away from his enormous afro haircut.

Missing Adventures -
The Doctor is between companions while trying to master the strange art of "golf". According to Lawrence Miles however, golf is the human description of a Kalekani terraformation viral warfare, which makes the hapless infected victims devastate their own world and turn the whole biosphere into slopes and flats of pure, unsullied green. Thanks so much for sharing, Lawrence, we really needed to know that.

Technobabble - "A localized rift has split the underflow continuum planar shift!"
"Which means?"
"Things get nasty."

Great Lines - Gwen: I’m going to need a really good reason not to shoot you within the next 20 seconds!
Spike: ...I’ll be your best friend.
Gwen: What? Really? Cool!

Tosh: Owen, just stay calm.
Owen: Why should I do that? Where's the fun in that? I'm gonna rage my way to oblivion! AAAARGH!
Tosh: Please. Don’t.
Owen: Why?! Give me one good bloody reason why I shouldn't! One good reason why I shouldn't keep screaming!
Tosh: Because you’re giving me a headache, you whining bitch.

Spike defends "I Lost My **CENSORED** to a Starship Trooper":

Rhys: Where’ve all those Weevils gone?
Spike: Who cares? They’re not here.
Andy: But they’ll slaughter every living thing they come across – it’ll be a massacre!
Gwen: They’re heading for Abergavenny.
Rhys: Oh well, could be worse.
Spike: Not for the poor Weevils.
Gwen: Owen’s dead. For real.
(A long pause.)
Ianto: There we are then.
Tosh: Sorted.

Jack: This is a little extreme, don't you think?
Spike: What? Suddenly you're anti-bondage?
Jack: Generally speaking, I just don’t respect people until they tie me up and tease me.
Spike: That explains why you’re so fundamentally annoying.

Crap Lines – Jack: I was the only one he ever fancied, that’s why the Time Agency partnered us.
Rhys: Did you just say TIME Agency? Don’t tell me that's based in Cardiff too.
Jack: Meh, it has branches everywhere.

Andy: This is top secret!
Rhys: I keep more secrets than you realize, mate.
Andy: Oh, like what?
Rhys: Touchwood is based under the Millennium Centre and run by an immortal Time Agent from the 51st Century named after a Johnny Depp character.
Andy: ...brilliant secret. I ask, you tell. Well done.
Rhys: Don’t patronize me, ya fascist pig.

Spike: Honestly, it’s just sex, sex, sex, with you Welsh...

Gwen: This is when we found out how good we really are!
Spike: She’s so masterful, so bossy... so basically powerless.
Rhys: I know. Bloody deranged.
Andy: She is that, yeah. Good thing you married her, not me.
Rhys: I know. Lucky sod.

Owen: It’s my fault. I tried and failed.
Tosh: And why did you fail?
Owen: If I’m honest? Total lack of willpower.

Captain Jack Harkness: I’ve heard people say that death is such a waste. I imagine it more as a relief. What’s it like? How does it feel? Are you afraid? Are you sad? You can’t tell me, though. Since I just blew your head off. Should have thought ahead there, really. Hah! Ahead? No? Suit yourself.

Plot Oversights
- So Spike managed to hide thermonuclear explodes around Cardiff post-9/11 and absolutely no one noticed? And said explosions would knock out all mobile and landline coverage but NOT damage any buildings or kill anyone?
- Apparently there are twelve explosions, but Spike says he planted fifteen bombs. Did two of them fail to go off or did he plant them on top of two others? Even THEN they’re crap!
- Why did CJH start stalking Spike in the first place? Surely annoying the Doctor would have been a smarter move – hasn’t the so-called evil genius SEEN Human Nature? That’s a lot cooler than Spike and an Uzi sub machine gun!
- Why don’t the Weevils kill Owen? He is no longer the embodiment of Death, so what’s the big deal?
- Why does Owen have all those pre-filled syringes of pain-killers knocking around? OK, maybe he IS addicted to morphine, but why be so careless with his supply? When did Gwen get emergency medical training? There could be ANYTHING in those hypos!
- Ianto can’t decide whether he’s closing Tosh and Owen’s Facebook accounts or just logging out. Is there are sequel in the works or is he just being incredibly stupid?

Viewers’ Quotes

"Are you kidding me? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! HOW CAN THEY KILL OFF TWO OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS?!! There’s only five people in the team to begin with!!! They’ve completely ruined the dynamic of the show! I loved Tosh and Owen! They were supposed to get together!! What are they going to do with only three fucking people left on the show? Who the hell does Russell T Davies think he is? Joss – fucking – Whedon?!"
- Adolf Hitler (1945)

"Of the many, many design flaws in Touchwood, the greatest is this: whereas it’s now de rigeuer for any modern SF series to be under the control of a single godlike chief-writer-cum-producer, whose own hand-written episodes are either measurably better than everyone else’s or at least define the direction of the programme, Touchwood has a chief-writer-cum-producer who has no clear vision of where the series is meant to be going; who has no ideas other than things he’s seen in other SF shows; and, worst of all, who has little or no understanding of how stories work. In itself, it’s telling that a Doctor Who spin-off should be under the creative influence of the man who wrote the least creative Doctor Who episode EVER broadcast! However much the recent work of Steven Moffat may have been overrated ("Blank"? I could piss that in my sleep!), surely a gadget-heavy sci-fi show about spunk-filled twentysomethings should rightfully be HIS gig?"
- Mad Larry the Pirate King (2008)

"Oh, he’s actually getting funny! Apparently he could write Blank, and all of Touchwood - but he can’t write a BLOG without the English language screaming in anguish. And I’m the guy who thinks that Alien Baddies is one of the best Dr Who stories ever written, love it to bits. There's no reconciling here - I barely know the man and I have no idea why I’ve become such a hate object for him. But you'll understand if I don’t wait for an answer. He really creeps me out."
- Steven "Grand Moff" Moffat (2008)

"Apparently they want to bring in Martha and Mickey for series three! That’s the stupidest idea ever! How can they replace Toshiko with ANYBODY?! Let alone MICKEY! Tosh was brilliant, Mickey is a LOSER! Martha’s OK, though. But the writers completely misused her this season! She barely did anything! They just put her in the background while they turned Owen into a zombie! A WHINEY ZOMBIE!!!"
- Adolf Hitler (1945)

"Why couldn’t they have killed Gwen, the crazy, crazy bitch? I wish Suzie had blown her brains out in the first episode. She’s the worst character in the entire show, and that’s impressive on its own!"
- Phil Ford (2009)

"The loss of Tosh and Owen ends this era of Touchwood, twenty-six episodes that will be seen FOREVER as the CLASSIC ERA of this long-running ALSO CLASSIC show! This is the Touchwood equivalent of The Tense Planet, and if it can survive this, it will survive everything! CANCEL DOCTOR WHO NOW! TOUCHWOOD IS THE ONLY CONSTANT!"
- Rabid Psycho TW Fan Quarterly (2008)

"And why the fuck would they kill off a character, bring him back to life, only to kill him off again in the season finale?! It’s a complete waste of character development! And it makes no sense! What’s the fucking POINT?!"
- Adolf Hitler (1945)

"Touchwood is the Blake’s 7 of the 21st Century – started off good, went into tailspin in series two with camp acting, shite SFX, an atmosphere of not being ready for primetime, short lived monthly magazine, Doctor Who connections, and anyone who remembers otherwise is severely delusional! IT’S ALL IN THE SUBTEXT!"
- Nala Snevets (2008)

"I had BBC America added to my cable package just so I could watch this stupid show. And this is how my devotion is repaid? Bastards. I don’t think I can watch the show again after this. Maybe if Jack and Ianto have lots of man-on-man action next season I might still watch it. At least I’ll have my 'Janto' fix..."
- Adolf Hitler (1945)

"I thought Owen was going to transform into the Face of Bond!"
- Same Guy who thought that Mickey was going to transform into the Face of Bond (2008)

- Adolf Hitler (1945)

The Author Speaks
"My last Touchwood story, this one. I’m better off out of it, really. So are Burn and Naoko, if I’m honest. The only reason they get out is they won the bet. Gareth is runner up, he’ll be gone next year too. And so will David Tennant for some reason. It WAS a really wild party when we were making cast changes..."

Trivia Answers
1. The Hustle team’s "Hoax" monster from Love & Pizzas. 2. Valentine’s Day, 1980. Oh, the irony. Rumors and Facts –
Before that nasty Chameleon-Arch incident that made the award winning writer out of his biomass, Chris Chin-Balls had already drafted his next season finale on some toilet paper while he sat off the after-effects of drinking a yard glass of mutton vindaloo sauce.
The basic premise was the same as the finished episode though the finale was very different – with Jack gone, the rest of the Touchwood team would be forced to use their never-before-mentioned ally codenamed "Sid" to help restore order via the medium of Digital Spy messaging. The finale would an epic montage sequence backed by Angie Hart’s "Blue" (cause it was in a Buffy episode or something).
This sequence would feature dialogue-free scenes of Tosh signing up for Sex-Loving Corpse-Shagging Sluts Anonymous; Ianto leaving Touchwood for a Los Vegas honeymoon with the bones of the Elephant Man; the disturbing sight of Owen discovering to his horror that his penis had dropped off from lack of use; even more disturbing sight of Gwen finding the discarded genitals and deciding to have them surgically attached to her groin; and the final shot being a tabloid shot of David Tennant naked with the caption "GET INS MY TARDIS, HUMN WIMMIN".
In the here and now, Chris Chibnall scrapped that ending and came up with something much better. The season finale was named "Exit Stage Freaking Left" in honor of the career move that he, Burn Gorman, Naoko Maori, producer Richard Stokes and numerous others were making in regards to Touchwood. The ratings were sufficient to garner a third series, but also sufficient for that to be declared the final ever, ever, ever. It was truly an end of an era.
Mind you, the cameo by the Tenth Doctor turned out looking rubbish, didn’t it? Still, what do you expect when you listen to creative advice by the Hidden Persuaders focus group...

Ruminations -
This is truly the hour of change! Well, 48 and a half minutes of change at any rate, as the two most successful characters in the Doctor Who universe snuff it! Adric had NOTHING on this!

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