Something Borrowed

Posted in Episode by - July 16, 2018
Something Borrowed

Aired 05 March 2008

A wedding should be a celebration of the very best of two characters- and of those around them- as they prepare to devote the rest of the lives to each other with shared experiences and honesty forming the solid and relatable foundation. Unfortunately, ‘Something Borrowed’ fails to live up to that premise, in part because of the fact that Rhys had been kept in the dark about Torchwood for so long and because Gwen has been secretly but demonstrably less than faithful to Rhys in the past, but primarily because of plot holes and questionable characterisation that undo any of the goodwill of the setting.

The premise is actually quite sound, and a creature biting Gwen the night before her wedding and Gwen waking up the next day heavily pregnant make for a great visual sequence that Eve Myles plays perfectly. With the alien a shapeshifter who will retrieve her young by physically ripping Gwen apart, there’s a palpable sense of tension and danger created that sets the scene quite well. However, while having this occur on the day of the wedding allows for maximum interpersonal drama as family and friends enter the picture, the narrative logic quickly falls apart and only further heightens just how disconnected Gwen and Rhys are from these close people since the sudden pregnancy is accepted with little more than questioning glances. Rhys, as always, proves what a wonderful man he is when he looks past the amount of money spent on the wedding and is willing to postpone to ensure Gwen’s safety, but Gwen rather preposterously insists that today must be the day they get married before later proclaiming that they haven’t thought this through when she realises what the inevitable fallout of her lies will be. For all of her flaws, Gwen is an incredibly smart woman, but this series of events treats her as nothing more than a cliché to advance a plot.

Sadly, Gwen’s character is called even more into question after she seemingly proclaims her love for Rhys because she sees him as the only one who will have her when ordeals like the one she is currently facing are very real possibilities. When Jack stereotypically storms into the wedding to halt proceedings, Gwen has an almost gleeful look on her face, and her later words to Jack in front of the mirror on her own wedding day prove that she is not wholly committed to Rhys at this time. The show seems to want to suggest that these two are somehow destined for each other even as their personal circumstances pull each other in different directions, but having this all come out into the open on Gwen’s wedding day is another cliché that in this case only makes Rhys seems more like a tragic figure without enhancing anyone’s else’s characterisation. Having Owen at the wedding as well only further serves to underscore Gwen’s rather noncommittal position all the more.

While some will debate if playing up this wedding as more of a comedy was the best choice, there is no denying that the brutal attacks and zombie-like manifestations of familiar faces effectively come to life with immense style. With a simmering rivalry between the parents of Gwen and Rhys and those characters being so normal compared to everything and everyone around them, ‘Something Borrowed’ does manage to imbue at least a semblance of grounded realism into its bizarre events, but Gwen confiding in her father that the baby is not Rhys’s and all about Torchwood at this time of all times is yet another questionable move that serves no real intellectual purpose regardless of her emotions and need for help. In a story filled with narrative leaps, the shapeshifter also seems to call undue attention to itself while waiting to reclaim its child, and its assuming of Jack’s role around Gwen weakens both. With the resolution relying on Rhys using the singularity scalpel that even Owen has had so much difficulty mastering, the tension built is undermined by the rather incredible suspension of disbelief needed, and the use of Retcon to ensure nobody remembers anything about this day creates an all-too-convenient ending that doesn’t address the dead bodies or how the missing memories will be explained to this group of close friends and family. ‘Something Borrowed’ is narratively sloppy for the vast majority of its run despite strong performances and direction, introducing strong ideas but faltering in presenting Gwen is any sort of favourable light and requiring too many leaps in logic to reach its tenuous conclusion.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.