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'Torchwood's Day Two - The Verdict

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'Torchwood's Day Two - The Verdict
The second instalment of Torchwood's week-long BBC One residency fails to capitalise on the heightened drama of the opening episode‘s epic cliffhanger. Yet while the slow-burning central plot involving aliens taking over children falls off the radar, there is plenty of humour, character development and intrigue to sustain the interest.

Splitting up the Torchwood trio in the aftermath of the Hub's destruction works well, allowing the warmth and humanity of Gwen and Ianto's loved ones to shine through. Moments like Rhys's desperation for grub during Gwen's meeting with Lois provide welcome light relief from the gravity of the 456 situation, while also contrasting with the sinister dealings of the suited figures at Downing Street. It's also a pleasant surprise to have the hapless Deputy Andy back in the mix.

As the ruthless assassin Johnson, Liz May Brice dominates the proceedings with her sour demeanour and unblinking determination to complete her mission. "If I can't kill you, I can contain you," she tells Captain Jack - and you believe her.

Fortunately, Ianto and his JCB have other ideas, leading to a brilliantly surreal pursuit sequence involving a vital block of concrete. Such imagery evokes iconic Doctor Who moments, like the Tardis towing the Earth in 'Journey's End', but the same cannot be said of Jack's Hellraiser-style resurrection. Excellent makeup work with the immortal being's bloody carcass ensures that there's a fitting dose of body horror to remind us we're in post-watershed territory.

Like Day One, this episode could easily be cut substantially down to stop the mind briefly wandering at times, while the subplot juggling means that the key child possession story strand - the main selling point - is frustratingly marginalised. Once again, everything rewardingly comes together in the Quatermass-inspired final minutes as we wonder what kind of creature is lurking in the government's gas chamber. On another note, what are the odds that Jack is the father of Gwen's baby? She's been a naughty girl before...

> What do you think of Day Two? Share your views

> Read our review of Day One

> Click here for our gallery preview of Day Three

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