They Keep Killing Suzie

Posted in Episode by - June 08, 2018
They Keep Killing Suzie

Aired 03 December 2006

The ultimate fate of Suzie Costello in Torchwood’s premiere has easily been one of the most shocking moments of the series so far, proving that nobody is safe or immune to the infnluence of emotions and temptations in the dangerous world in which the organisation that proclaims itself to be outside the government and beyond the police treads. Surprisingly or not given her affinity for the resurrection glove that first drew Gwen’s attention to the truth behind Torchwood, Suzie’s death is all but final, and Indira Varma returns to further flesh out the story of her lost character in ‘They Keep Killing Suzie’ by Paul Tomalin and Dan McCulloch.

Unfortunately, despite some clever ideas the heart of the episode, the actual realisation of Suzie’s plan comes off as rather preposterous. The fact that she has been able to put in place a plan that will ensure her resurrection following her demise exemplifies how determined Suzie truly is, and using a form of hypnosis on the unwitting Max to send him on a murderous spree that explicitly calls out to Torchwood after he doesn’t hear from her for a set period of time is an inspired piece of thinking. However, given that she was only one of the Torchwood team able to use the glove with success, her plan hinged on an incredible amount of luck by assuming that someone new who also had an affinity for that alien piece of technology would join in short order. Furthermore, while her entrapping of her old teammates within the Hub proves how ruthless and conniving she can be and allows the local police force a good laugh at the almighty Torchwood’s expense, there is no way she could assume that someone would willingly sneak her out into the world at large and accompany her on her requested journey, and Tosh’s random suggestion to apply numbers instead of words to solve Suzie’s puzzle is a poor narrative shortcut to progress the plot no matter the need.

While it’s hard to know exactly where Gwen’s moral compass points at this time given her furtive relations with Owen even as she attempts to remind her teammates of the humanity in those around them, it’s still a bit difficult to accept that Gwen would so willingly go along with Suzie and break protocol given their past history. There is a moment where Jack harshly states to Gwen what the fate of any fallen Torchwood member is without any real explanation, and the two get into a rather heated conversation in which each blames the other for this situation because Jack did not care to ever find about Suzie’s cancer-stricken father and before giving her access to the glove that could save him and because Gwen wanted so desperately to bring her back, but neither of these fully explain Gwen’s choice of actions here. Still, the end result is the fitting scene in which Suzie claims that she wants to be a good person or at least better than she was, and her decision to murder her father gives an incredible amount of information in a short period of time about just why and how this version of Suzie came to be. As Suzie knowingly continues to drain the life out of Gwen to become stronger with the glove as the link, the character of Suzie within this story is a relatively nuanced and dark success, but the actions and decisions of her and others that get her to this point are more than suspect to say the least.

Given the many plot holes and leaps in logic needed to make this story work, perhaps the most unexpected moment comes at the end when Jack and Ianto are revealed to be in some degree of a relationship as well. At no point has either character expressed any interest in the other, Ianto is still overtly grieving about the loss of Lisa, and Ianto just recently called Jack the biggest monster of them all. There is certainly time for future stories to develop this, but as presented it comes completely out of nowhere and has no justification given what has so far been shown on screen. Torchwood is a show with an incredible premise and the ability to deliver truly mesmerising drama when it fully commits, but ‘They Keep Killing Suzie’ is a story that relies on far too much circumstance, luck, and unknown events to progress its narrative, and even convincing performances from all involved cannot make up for what is ultimately a squandered opportunity.

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