Day Three

Posted in Episode by - February 21, 2023
Day Three

Aired 08 July 2009


The eyes of the world have turned to Britain as the 456 arrive with children across the globe proclaiming, ‘We are here.’ This is not the first time the 456 have visited, however, and their demands and the ensuing fight become very personal as Children of Earth reaches ‘Day Three’ by Russell T Davies and James Moran.

Naturally, with the team back together and the unknown alien threat continuing to intensify, ‘Day Three’ incorporates a fair bit of scene setting before delving back into the plot proper. While the use of newscasters delivering crucial information may be a bit of a narrative shorthand devoid of potential drama, it nonetheless serves as an effective means of conveying the current state of affairs replete with curfews and measures implemented to safeguard the public. This candid frankness is in relatively stark contrast to the jovial happenings at the new makeshift Torchwood hub that sees Rhys decorating, Gwen helping to acquire necessities via her police training, and even Jack and Ianto rekindling their relationship after the recent harrowing circumstances, but once the new dynamic is established, the severity and underlying sense of paranoia and fear the 456 have caused is palpable for the remainder of affairs.

With Jack’s daughter being targeted to eventually bring in Jack himself, it’s clear that Torchwood is not yet safe from its pursuers, but Torchwood is quite adeptly able to prove its own ingenuity by convincing Lois to- in a nice bit of continuity- use contact lenses that can create text from lip reading and allow for remote communication to the wearer. Quite a few shortcuts have been taken to bring Lois into the fold from the government’s side given rather lax regulations and password protection, but Cush Jumbo is brilliant here as she casually asserts herself and make certain insinuations to attach herself to Frobisher’s retinue. Amidst the backdrop of Ianto realizing that Jack will one day seem him die as he questions whether Jack felt his own death as well as a fireball descending onto Thames House as the frozen children across the globe point in its direction, these many plot points dovetail quite nicely and give way to another truly stirring performance from Peter Capaldi as Frobisher. The diplomatic angle naming Froisher as a hapless middleman is somewhat redundant and flat given the rather stereotypical American and UNIT’s Colonel Oduya who together seem to be speaking for the world as a whole even in these wholly uncharted waters that would demand global communication and cooperation, but Capaldi perfectly sells the tension, fear, and uncertainty that anyone in his character’s position would feel, especially given the events of the past that he knows of and wants so desperately to remain secret.

The decision to keep the 456 shrouded in smoke within the large container proves to be an incalculably wise one, the sudden movements and large shrieks complemented with a viscous liquid being smeared across the surfaces making for an engrossing image that leaves just enough to the imagination to make these aliens truly fearsome. The chosen voice doesn’t quite match the visual spectacle, but the power behind it is undeniable, and that power becomes all the more palpable when the demand comes down for Earth to give them ten percent of its children. Ianto gleans from what he can see through Lois’s lenses that Frobisher seems to be at least somewhat on the side of the 456, but any further investigation is waylaid as Clem becomes increasingly agitated and Jack must bluntly state that he is the man Clem is afraid of, the man who previously gave children to the 456 back in 1965. This is a truly brilliant and impactful ending to a very strong episode that is both visually and narratively fulfilling as the momentum and tension ratchet back up to maximum following the detour of ‘Day Two.’

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