By DJ Forrest
Dead Man Walking is probably one of my favourite episodes in the second season of Torchwood. There is some really creepy, stomach flipping moments, including several discussions about Death. Death in itself is a taboo subject for most, we’d rather not entertain it in any way, rather not know while we’re settled in front of the TV screen, lest we’ll be awake all night contemplating how much time we have left on the planet. But before we get ahead of ourselves and expect this to be a low and depressing episode, it’s far from that. Yes, there are some moments when you want them to quickly change the subject, and talk about something else, but this is a different kind of Death. This is Owen Harper, shot dead in the last episode ‘Reset’ and brought back to life by Captain Jack Harkness, and in all true Torchwood fashion, brought back with a hitchhiker – Duroc!
What makes me laugh about that is that when I Googled Duroc, I was staring at pigs!
But it’s how Jack brought Owen back that’s the most interesting point. In Series 1, ‘They Keep Killing Suzie’, Torchwood Officer Costello was brought back into life by the Life Knife and the Resurrection Gauntlet, that according to Ianto, Torchwood’s answer to Google, the glove was dredged up from Cardiff Bay 40 years ago, but who it had belonged to, well there’s still a fair bit of speculation there but we’ll come back to that.
Now in all good fashion, when all is put right and Suzie returns to the cold store in Torchwood Hub, Ianto points out that gloves tend to come in pairs, and sure enough, Jack locates the second glove, and we do have to assume it is the other glove, in the church of St. Mary’s, the place according to Legend as being the location where Death sought out 13 souls but stopped at 12, when faith intervened.
We later discover that Faith is a little girl who had been brought back from the dead. She defeated death, in much the same way as Owen defeated it in the reception area of St Helen’s hospital,
, over 250 years
But now we come back to the gauntlet. Where did it come from? Why was it possessed by Duroc?
The confusion of the glove comes from Ianto’s details. In the first series, the glove had been dredged from Cardiff Bay 40 years ago, but when later in Series 2, Dead Man Walking, Ianto told Martha that the previous glove had been dredged up a year ago, was he saying this to divert suspicion, in case Martha were to report back to UNIT?
Or are we looking at a bit of continuity error here? Personally I’d like to go along with the fact that, as far as Ianto is concerned, UNIT were the enemy and anyone outside of Torchwood weren’t to be trusted with information as to what Torchwood got up to.
So, the next question that has bothered me for some time is who once owned the gauntlets? Assuming as we always do, that they were a part of the flotsam and jetsam that wash through the Rift, could they have come from a battle, were they from another alien race, and if so, had they once belonged to the corrupt Time Lord known as Rassilon? Or were they just a nice little ‘red herring’ of assumptions to which we may never, ever know?
Stepping aside from the glove for a moment, who noticed the boy from The Golden Compass?
There were humorous moments in the episode which the expressions on the faces of Ianto, Jack and Owen cracked me up a lot. When Owen was arrested and bundled into a police car and both he and Jack shared a cell, the farting and spewing, no matter how ‘ew’ the moment might have looked, the expressions on the men’s faces were brilliant. And yet in amongst all of the humour, were the most powerful, emotional scenes that with a shove from Jack broke the tears and the laments perfectly.
Ianto of course appearing at the top of the stairs brandishing a hockey stick, did raise mirth and one has to ask, why did he own one and what in Gallifrey would he use one for, although judging by his and Jack’s facial expressions, I think I have an idea.
So there you have it. It was as always an excellent episode, riding on a rollercoaster of deep meaningful thoughts, lamenting on what life has to offer the living dead, and all the trials and tribulations of a Torchwood team staring Death in the face.