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Published on March 5th, 2008 | by Christian Cawley

Dead Man Walking Reviewed

The insane conclusion to Reset saw something terrible happen; Owen was shot dead, by Jim Robinson from Neighbours.

Cue lots of black humour and interesting references to the past in yet another Torchwood hit that depends on events from the past affecting our heroes in the present.

In fact only one decent episode of Torchwood – Reset – has existed firmly in the modern day and at the same time been good, and even that example isn’t entirely perfect as it requires some back story knowledge for either Jack or Martha (I don’t care what the writers say).

Owen’s death has hit the team hard, and in a desperate attempt to revive him for a few moments – apparently to get some access code (since when did Jack require such lame excuse?) – Jack visits a Tarot card reader who sends him on to an old abandoned church in order to retrieve The Other Glove.

That’s right: another resurrection glove.

At first, it appears that its use has caused Owen to be reanimated thanks to Jack’s immortality; however it soon becomes apparent that another power is at work, a power from beyond the grave…

Once the first 10 minutes are out of the way, Dead Man Walking gets into first gear, with a challenge from Death himself, Owen being able to command the Weevils and the team generally swinging from grief to joy quite easily. But then they’ve seen a lot, haven’t they?

Long term readers of Kasterborous will know that I avoid worn out clichéd phrases like “emotional journey”, “angst ridden” and the like; however they perfectly describe the key instances of Dead Man Walking, which feature a superbly executed chase scene starring Jack, Owen and a whole army of Weevils and some wonderful soul searching and deep moments from the star of this and in fact Series 2 as a whole, Burn Gorman.

While hi talent has never been in doubt, there’s been a bit of a wait to see him spring into action, with only a couple of instances in Series 1 giving him the chance he deserves. Give this guy a good script and an energetic director however, and he seems capable of carrying the how on his own…

Battling and defeating a being that seems to be Death himself is one of those things that people in hip, sci fi action adventure series seem to do as part of their job. Well-realised as a black cloud (could have done with some nasty insect like creatures or some other rotting matter, though), the being from beyond the grave – who enters our realm via the resurrected Owen – can only be defeated by the same man.

With Owen dead but walking, there’s obviously some consternation as to whether the former Doctor is up to the task.

No need to worry about medical matters of course – not when Martha’s around! Freema does what she does best in Dead Man Walking – she looks lovely and smiles a lot, and while she isn’t going to win any Oscars for many years, she’s certainly bright and popular enough for people to care about Martha.

There is one last point to make beyond Owen’s Jack Harkness-esque act of self-sacrifice in the concluding scenes in the hospital; that the series has made a brave step in maintaining Owen’s new status as the walking dead, and interesting parody of Captain Jack’s immortal hero.

Again, congratulations and credit go to the show runners, Russell T Davies and hands on man Chris Chibnall; early episodes of Series 2 were very disappointing, and I made my feelings about what I felt to be a missed opportunity very vocal. While I stand by my reviews of those episodes, it’s good to see the series finally getting into its stride, so well done to everyone concerned.

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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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