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Published on February 27th, 2008 | by Christian Cawley

Reset Reviewed

Oh Martha, Martha, where have you been?

Evidently back to university to finish her degree. She’s a qualified medic now, and has been seconded to UNIT upon a recommendation from a very high authority…

As such, erstwhile companion Captain Jack Harkness has called on her to take advantage of her expertise with a string of murders across the UK wherein otherwise healthy people have suddenly died, with the only link a small puncture beneath the pupil – and it doesn’t take long to discover that they have all been cured from life threatening, incurable diseases thanks to the work of one Professor Aaron Copley (Alan Dale from Neighbours or Ugly Betty, depending on your memory). It’s also worth noting at this point that Owen Harper – newly restored to his obnoxious best – has studied the work of Copley.

Quite a tasty set up, and following the step up to the mark that we saw in Adam, things look like they are finally moving for Torchwood.

The expected shoehorning of Martha into the Torchwood setup was to all intents and purposes painless, with her winning smile and good nature adding to the rest of the team rather than jarring; thankfully, Owen behaves himself, although the prospect of his date with Tosh (yes, really!) has perhaps tempered him slightly.

So a little bit of vague Doctor-talk later and Martha finds herself undercover for Torchwood, volunteering for “medical trials” at Copley’s privately guarded facility that has links high up; I wonder if we’ll see any more from these links later in the series?

It’s a dangerous situation, and despite the high tech surveillance employed by Torchwood, Copley soon finds out who Martha is, who she works for, that she’s travelled through time.

The ensuing rush to get her out lands our regular heroes in a difficult situation, and the attempt is met with resistance; not least from the creature behind “Reset”.

It seems that Copley has been using alien lifeforms – as his organisation is a private enterprise he deems himself outside of Torchwood and UNIT’s jurisdiction – and one in particular has been the “drug” used in the clinical trials. The drug is of course the alien in larvae form, running around the body and cleaning up anything that might cause the host to die.

The maturing larva then breaks out of the body, killing the host. It’s a fascinating concept and possibly the best use of a science fiction concept since Torchwood began. Throw in a hardnut assassin running around murdering the volunteers and Reset brings Torchwood exactly to the place it should be in – mature, fast-paced and pushing boundaries.

Guest performances are often weak in Torchwood, but top to bottom in Reset, the performances are adept, from the cured trialist who explodes in a shower of miniature airborne insects to the man himself – Alan Dale is a bit of a legend in British television for his portrayal of “Jim Robinson” in Neighbours in the 1980s and early 1990s. Ever since he’s proved his adaptability if not his versatility, and brings a veneer of quality to Reset that we haven’t seen in Torchwood since Series 1.

Freema is of course wonderful as Martha, a different Martha to the one we’re familiar with through Doctor Who – but still recognisably Martha; we’ll see more of her over the next couple of weeks.

Last Man Standing looks an interesting follow on if the trailer is anything to go by – the stunning ending to Reset looking set to have immense repercussions to the Torchwood team.

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.



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