LadyGhosts of TV Past

Retro Recap: Torchwood, Episode 2.01 “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”

If you have never watched an episode of Torchwood, this is the episode to start with. Or maybe it’s not, because frankly, in my opinion, it doesn’t get any damn better than this. Hold onto your hats kids, because this is the recap of the season two opener, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Are you excited? YOU ARE NOT EXCITED ENOUGH.

The blowfish-like face of an alien.

All right, so. We open on a seemingly-quiet street in Cardiff, and an elderly woman is about to cross the street. A flashy red sportscar pulls up to the intersection, AND IT IS BEING DRIVEN BY A BLOWFISH. The blowfish waits impatiently for the woman to cross the street, and speeds off. Seconds later, the Torchwood SUV pulls up, and Gwen leans out, asking “Have you seen a blowfish driving a sports car?” The woman silently points, and the gang drives away. “Bloody Torchwood” she mutters, and her time in this episode is done.

In the SUV, Tosh is reading aloud information about the blowfish, Owen’s driving too fast, and Gwen’s giggling about it all, even though there is indeed a big fish with a gun. Also, Jack’s disappeared. Silence, ’til Gwen spots their blowfish friend, who leads them on quite the chase, giving Owen a chance for some high-speed heroics (the fool boy hangs halfway out of the car to shoot out the fish’s tires while Gwen grabs the wheel).

Captain Jack Harkness, half-smiling.

The chase ends in a suburban home, where the blowfish has shot someone, is holding someone else hostage, and, oh, is on a coke high. “This fish is wired!” Tosh proclaims. The blowfish, with quite the posh accent, does a quick introduction of everyone, in case you’re tuning in for the first time. Gwen cares, Owen doctors, Tosh does technology stuff, and Ianto’s the office boy. And, oh, the boss is gone. Ianto is left to face the coked-out fish alien, who questions Ianto’s ability to kill him, and literally dares him to do so. The blowfish takes a bullet between the eyes, and there goes my favorite Torchwood alien. BECAUSE YOU WERE KILLED BY CAPTAIN JACK, BECAUSE HE IS BACK, KIDS!

(As a refresher, since we’ve last seen the good Captain, he just lived and died through the 3rd Season finale of rebooted Doctor Who, when he went with Ten and Martha to the end of time, was tortured to death all the damn time for over a year while Martha walked the Earth, saving our collective asses. Remember those Doctor Who episodes? Yeah, they just happened for Jack.)

Back at the hub, Jack watches as everyone rushes about, dealing with blowfish cleanup, when Gwen confronts Jack – he left them! What happened?! Jack says he found his doctor, and that he came back for all of them – but possibly Ianto in particular.

In my dead blowfish’s pocket, something flashes and beeps. Tosh announces rift activity.

James Marsden, wearing a red old-fashioned military jacket, with shiny lights behind him.

On the top floor of a car park, we get magical lights, and Mr. Cheekbones himself, James Marsters, appears to swelling music. I want his clothes. He immediately strolls into a mugging, and this man’s swagger is truly something to behold. When the mugger threatens to cut the neck of his victim if Marsters comes any closer, he replies by inquiring as to which artery the mugger is planning to cut. To weeping guitars, Marsters picks up the mugger, carries him over the edge of the car park, and drops him, replying to the mugger’s pleas for mercy with a simple “no.” The would-be victim promises to never tell anyone what he just saw, and is allowed to leave. Marsters is thirsty now.

He walks into a bar, disables the music WITH HIS WRIST CONTROL THINGY THAT LOOKS LIKE JACK’S and starts telling people to go. Some are told to stay, especially conventionally attractive blonde women. The bouncers show up, attempt to make him leave, and the man pulls out two serious-looking weapons. Everyone leaves (including those who were told to stay!). It’s campy and overblown and ridiculous and AWESOME.

Torchwood is called in to deal with the recently-dead mugger, and they see that there’s rift energy all over the place. We also see dear PC Andy again, and then suddenly, Jack’s wrist thing beeps! It’s a message from Marsters (can we get a character name, please?!) and this freaks everyone out, even though he fantastically ends with, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” He invites Jack for drinks.

Jack freaks out, hops in the SUV, and speeds away. The team is understandably upset about this, and as Tosh announces she can track the SUV, Ianto’s aready hollering for a taxi.

Jack shows up at “bar reunion” (how fitting! HOW CAMPY!) and I mentally prepare myself for quite possibly my three favorite minutes of all television ever.

Marsters is behind the bar, doing shots, as Jack enters, and there’s fantastic “Showdown at the OK Corral” type western music playing as the men unholster their guns and stalk towards each other. They stand face-to-face for a heartbeat, and then kiss violently and passionately. And then Marsters punches Jack in the face! And then there is beautiful fighting, perhaps even hotter than the kissing, made better by being set to Blur’s “Song 2” which in my head is the “woohoo” song. I have put a clip below, because I love you, dear readers. Essentially safe for work, unless your monitor EXPLODES FROM HOTNESS.

Somewhere less awesome, Tosh reports from the back of the commandeered cab that there’s reports of a bar disturbance right where the SUV is, and we get more griping about mysterious Jack, but they all agree it’s more fun when he’s around. Speaking of more fun, back to the fight! The boys pull their guns simultaneously, mock each other a bit, and we finally find out that Marsters is going by Captain John Hart. AWFULLY SIMILAR. The dialogue here is just beautiful, and they finally put the guns down and go have a drink.

Tosh's face, dimly lit.
Tosh, I love you, but stop interrupting the flirting!

JACK DOES NOT DRINK, EVER. SOMEONE CONFIRM THIS IS A THING. Hart informs Harkness that he’s been to rehab for drink, drugs, sex, and murder. MURDER REHAB. Jack asks how the Time Agency is doing, and Hart informs him that it’s disbanded. Jack gets serious, and tells Hart he wants him gone. Hart apparently realizes that Torchwood’s got the place surrounded, so he calls them out, and in they come. Hart announces that he and Jack were partners – in every way. They were either together for two weeks or five years. Hart, it seems was a good wife. Tosh butts in, which, WHY WOULD YOU INTERRUPT THIS REPARTEE?! Hart mentions the Time Agency, Owen asks what it is, we get no details.

We do, however, get the reason Hart is here. There are three radioactive canisters that have fallen through the rift and must be found before everyone gets sick and dies. Hart claims he’s looking for them to fulfill a dying woman’s wish. Jack agrees to help Hart find the canisters, provided he leaves as soon as they’re found.

Jack and Gwen face to face in the bar. He's holding her left hand up to look at her engagement ring.
That’s an engagement ring, that is. What, cause Jack was gonna propose? Please.

They all go back to the Hub, and Hart surrenders truly an impressive amount of weaponry. Jack and Gwen go down to the cells, and Gwen demands to know why they’ve invited a compulsive liar into their headquarters. Jack says there’s the tiniest chance he’s telling the truth. Gwen then gives Jack grief about both being secretive about his past, and deserting them. Jack tries to explain: he literally went through hell, but came back for her. (For them all?) And, oh, Gwen’s gotten engaged to Rhys, on the grounds that no one else will have her. (Which is selling Rhys REALLY SHORT in my opinion.) I never really bought the Jack/Gwen romance line, but apparently this was a big deal?

Back to this canister nonsense, they’re splitting up in three groups of two – Jack and Ianto, Tosh and Owen, and Gwen and Hart (who has suggested that Gwen call him Vera. “¦ Does Hart know Jayne Cobb?!) Jack gives Gwen some rules about dealing with Hart: don’t believe him, always keep him in front of you, and don’t let him kiss you.

Gwen and Hart go to a field full of shipping containers – the canister is in one of them, and they’ve got to check each one. Gwen tries to get information out of Hart, without success. Rhys calls her, they chat for a moment, and Hart disappears. He shows up again behind her, and Gwen draws his gun on him. Hart calls Jack a conman, and warns Gwen not to rely on him.

Gwen's wide-eyed face in the dark.

And we’ve found the canister! Gwen rushes into the shipping container to get it, and Hart throws Gwen against the side of the container and kisses her. He’s wearing paralyzing lip gloss, and Gwen’s dead in two hours if no one finds her and saves her. He throws her phone somewhere far away and stalks away.

And now, for Tosh and Owen! Searching through a warehouse, they have a super awkward conversation about their unsuccessful love lives, find the canister, and Hart shows up! He headbutts Tosh, we find that the comm system is down, Hart forces the two to surrender their phones, and shoots Owen.

Jack leaning around a column.
Jack offers to photocopy Ianto’s butt.

To Ianto and Jack! They’re searching through an office building, and it seems Jack has an office fetish. Jack asks Ianto out on a date, and Ianto sputters, but eventually accepts. YAY. Jack goes up to the roof to look for the canister up there, and Hart shows up, forces Ianto onto the lift, and tells him to go and try to save his friends. If he comes back up, he’ll kill him. Hart is revealed as a wealth-chasing cynic.

Hart and Harkness have another face-to-face. Hart wants Jack to join him so they can make mischief all over the galaxy. Jack doesn’t buy it and rejects him, so Hart pushes him over the edge of the building.

Meanwhile, Ianto is head of Team Rescue. He goes and gets Tosh and Owen (who was shot in the side) and we don’t know what’s happened to Gwen.

Jack's body draped over a motorcycle, with Hart kneeling next to his head.
Jack is flexible, on pretty much every possible level.

Hart goes to see Jack’s busted body and remarks that murder rehab didn’t really work. He also takes Jack’s wristband. Jack remains dead throughout this exchange.

Ianto, Owen, and Tosh are at the shipping container site, looking for Gwen. They find her phone, and then Gwen herself! Working together the three figure out that she’s been poisoned.

Back at the hub, Hart opens the canisters, which each contain pieces of some sort of triangular puzzle. The final piece, apparently, is in the dead blowfish’s pocket. Just as Hart’s about to assemble the gadget, four guns cock, and Ianto, Owen, Tosh, and Gwen are there, and so is Jack! Hart is really shaken, moreso as Jack explains that he can’t ever die. Jack says he comes back for these people and this planet. Hart comes clean about the canisters – they contain an Arcadian diamond, the rarest stone ever. And the dying woman? Yeah, Hart killed her. He offers to split the money from selling the stone – or they could have an orgy.

So the gadget gets assembled, and we get a hologram of the woman Hart killed – she says there’s no diamond, just an explosive device calibrated to latch on to the DNA of whoever killed her. It can’t be removed, and it’s suctioned to Hart’s chest. And, oh, they have ten minutes. Ianto, start your stopwatch! He does.

Gwen driving, looking straight ahead, with Hart in the passenger seat sneering at her.
“That’s a poodle.” “It’s nice.”

Hart moves quickly, and somehow handcuffs Gwen to himself, and swallows the key. If he dies, Gwen dies, so they have to save him now, right? The explosion’s going to be huge, and they have eight minutes. Gwen asks if there’s any rift activity nearby, so she and Hart can throw themselves into it and save Cardiff from the explosion. Tosh says yes, so she, Ianto, Gwen, and Hart hop in the car, while Jack and Owen stay behind and do something with centrifuges. As they’re driving through the city, Hart starts noticing all the attractive people, including, as Gwen points out, a poodle. “It’s nice,” Hart growls.

The Torchwood SUV arrives at the car park roof where Hart first arrived, and with less than a minute left, Gwen yanks Hart towards the rift activity.

Concerned Ianto with stopwatch
The man’s a dab hand with a stopwatch, I can tell you that.

Hart demands a last-minute rescue, and Jack and Owen pull up in the blowfish’s sports car! Jack throws Hart and Gwen to the ground, and stabs Hart with a syringe. As Ianto counts down the seconds, the explosive device retracts and comes off of Hart. Jack hurls it into the Rift, there’s a bit of an explosion, and all goes dark. It seems they’ve traveled back in time to the beginning of the night, when Hart first arrived. And, oh, Hart was injected with blood from all the Torchwood members, which confused the explosive. Hart produces the handcuff key, freeing Gwen, Gwen socks him hard in the face, Hart returns Jack’s wristband, and Hart wants to join Torchwood. Jack says no, repeatedly. Hart kisses Jack goodbye, programs his wristband, and as he fades away, tells Jack that he found Gray. Now Jack’s the one who looks shaken. Time to get back to work!

Enjoy the second season, everyone! I’ll be recapping if Stephens needs a break, but I wanted to do this episode, because I love it oh so very much. What did you think of it?

By CherriSpryte

CherriSpryte wants you to know that The Great Pumpkin loves you.

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