After the shock and angst of the last few episodes, Torchwood returns to camp melodrama in Something Borrowed, as Gwen finds herself heavily pregnant on her wedding day.
Explaining this away will take a bit of time, but suffice to say that there was an alien intervention, and Gwen’s very attractive bump was caused not by a miracle, but an alien baby waiting to hatch and be reclaimed by its mother (a rather foxy Colette Brown).
Eve Myles and Kai Owen get a lot of the danger to themselves again in Something Borrowed, as their wedding his completely overrun by Torchwood and the alien mother (for some reason calling itself Carrie, I never got to the bottom of that one. Wouldn’t aliens be far simpler if they had English names? ET could have been called Brian, for example…)
So with the threat of an alien about to rip its way out of Gwen in grotesque manner, Jack, Ianto and Owen gatecrash the wedding, with Toshiko already there.
Enter a bunch of oddball characters, from jealous and possessive future mother in laws to a Best Man named "Banana Boat".
Again, Torchwood hits a comedy highnote with the following exchange, as Tosh arrives at the wedding venue (a nice big house in the countryside):
Banana: All right, luv? You got a big box. Do you want a hand with that?
Tosh: No, thank you. I’m fine.
Banana: Are you goin’ to the wedding?
Tosh: I’m a friend of Gwen’s
Banana: I’m Banana.
(points to yellow cravat)
Banana: Suppose you can tell why.
Tosh: You come up in spots and go soft quickly?
But, of course, Torchwood isn’t a comedy, and I think that’s where things go a little wrong with this episode. As tense as things get, the comic relief seems a bit overplayed.
Partly, the makeup of the alien in her true guise is to blame. Carrie is a shapeshifter, incidentally, which allows Nerys Hughes (best known to Doctor Who fans from Kinda) who appears as Rhys’ mother to act as monster. John Barrowman too is turned into a ghoulish alien for a moment as Carrie disguises herself as the leader of Torchwood to get close to Gwen.
Other than the fact that Barrowman looks like Freddie Mercury while in heavy monster makeup, this scene is notable for Gwen confessing her desire to be marrying Jack.
The Gwen-Jack theme has been getting heavier and heavier since the very first Torchwood; it isn’t too prevalent, and thankfully doesn’t get in the way of things in the way that the Jack-Ianto relationship does. But with just 3 episodes left, where can they take it before Series 3?
Something Borrowed doesn’t quite cut the mustard following the standards set in the previous three or four episodes. It’s perfectly watchable, but would be more at home in Series 1 – but of course all that statement does is underline my oft-repeated theory that Torchwood works best when the plot relies on elements from the past.