Review of Torchwood ‘Rendition’
After an explosive first episode, the pulse-racing pace does not let up as the Torchwood team is forcibly taken to America on the orders of CIA agent Rex Matheson. During the flight Captain Jack gets poisoned by CIA agent Lyn (Dichen Lachman) who has been instructed by higher powers to terminate Torchwood. In what is possibly a ‘Torchwood’ first, it is a race against time to save Jack’s life using only things found on a plane. Meanwhile convicted paedophile and murderer Oswald Danes is swaying public opinion after a television appearance.
This is the second part of the big story and although less happens in this episode compared to ‘A New World’, ‘Torchwood’ is now about epic story-telling and character development.
Bill Pullman gives a sterling performance as Danes in ‘Rendition’ which shows that he does have acting range. Having played the archetypal nice guy throughout his career, from the love interest in ‘While You Were Sleeping’ opposite Sandra Bullock to the president in ‘Independence Day’, and even a role in ‘Scary Movie 4’, Pullman’s turn as Danes would seem odd however he pulls off it off.
Pullman is outstanding in the scene where Danes is interrogated by a journalist, his face crumbles and the remorse pours out. He is the man who has descended into hell itself. Danes is as far removed from Pullman’s American sweetheart image as is possible, yet he still somehow manages to elicit sympathy from the audience. More is to follow from Danes given that he is at the heart of the miracle day.
‘Rendition’ gives more clues as to why people are not dying through the mention of morphic fields, the science theory that this story seems to be based on. But viewers are only going to be drip-fed details.
It is fair to say that ‘Torchwood’ has become an American show given the transportation of the setting, the physical fights and the fact that everyone now seems to be more attractive than before. Saying this, there is still a certain nationalistic pride woven into the show with Gwen defiantly stating she is Welsh when agent Lyn sarcastically asks Gwen if she is the best that England has to offer. Rex bemoaning the toll for the Severn Bridge last week also served as a reminder of the show’s Welsh roots. With a large fan base, a new setting and a Hollywood makeover, the challenge for ‘Torchwood’ is now to compete with its American rivals in the ratings game.
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