Countrycide: First Glance

Damn that lead writer, Chris Chibnall… We’ve suffered his sex-crazed alien and his deranged Cyberwoman… do we really need to go through anymore? Maybe I’m tarring Chris for something the director insist on doing wrong. Maybe Chris weaves delicate and exciting stories of extra terrestrials, cyber-violation and the supernatural – and then the directors make an unqualified pigs arse out of shooting ’em. On the other hand, perhaps Russell T has far too much faith in this man and Chris, as a result, is driving Torchwood into an early grave, utterly unsupervised.

Countrycide starts off on solid ground, building tension and a sense of the creepy unknown in all the right sorts of ways. It has all the tension that the trying-too-hard-to-be-Alien sequences from Cyberwoman never had. However, the episode rapidly slides into an odd combination of Bones and The Hills Have Eyes – set in south Wales. Oh… with a splash of The League of Gentlemen for good measure (who, after all, can resist a small portion of the Special Stuff). The team find bodies stripped to the bone in the woods, lose their cars, find an abandoned village… then Tosh and Ianto get ambushed and captured by the weirdo locals. That’s where it just loses it…

The episode provides a plotline that shifts away from the extraterrestrial and the supernatural into something downright unsavoury… and serves up not only the other kind of meat, but also a supremely unsatisfying ending. I don’t care what kind of action hero Jack might be… you’re not telling me he can wade into a room and single-handedly take everyone down without so much as a scratch.

After the exhilerating high of Small Worlds, this provided a dollop of mixed feelings, but mainly disappointment…

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