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YMMV / Torchwood

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For Children of Earth YMMVs, see here.
For Miracle Day YMMVs, see here.
For The Lost Files YMMVs, see here.

  • Adorkable: Ianto may look good in a suit, but he also looks adorable and initially very out of his depth striding around the countryside in a raincoat and jeans. If Cyberwoman established that Ianto was actually a character of some weight in the show, "Countrycide" establishes him as a character we actually like.
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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Owen, twice. His first death got him Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • It has Ianto Jones. Meek tea-boy, or a secretive Badass Normal who conned the con man? Ianto was originally intended as a much darker character, how much of this lingers on?
    • Captain Jack can also be seen from an Anti-Hero to a borderline monster.
    • The entire team. A group of highly skilled specialists defending the Earth from aliens or a bunch of selfish twits who are the very cause of the dangers they're supposed to be protecting humanity from.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Abaddon goes down pretty easy, considering that he's supposed to be a Physical God.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Fans are divided on whether Gwen is The Scrappy or a decent, well-liked character:
    • The usual motive is for Die for Our Ship reasons, due to her mutual UST with Jack interfering with the beloved Jack/Ianto relationship.
    • She is also Easily Forgiven for her misgivings. While some can't stand it, some others argue that pretty much the whole team is Easily Forgiven: Tosh brought an evil alien into the Hub itself, Owen killed Jack before knowing he couldn't die, Ianto had his killer cyberwoman girlfriend in the basement, and Gwen set loose a killer alien on her first day by trying to show off.
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    • The whole thing with Rhys at the end of Series 1, when she selfishly drugs her boyfriend to erase his memory of her cheating on him for the sake of her own catharsis while attempting to dodge any real consequences for it, is a sticking point to those who dislike Gwen, while there are some that see it as an understandable mistake.
  • Broken Base: As seen in the above trope, some fans ran into a few problems with this over Gwen in the first two seasons. What really dug a divide between previously calm fans, however, were the events of Children of Earth's Day Four and Day Five. Be careful about any criticisms OR compliments you have about Ianto's death or how it was handled. And what Jack did on Day Five to Steven is a huge hot button issue.
  • Complete Monster: Now has its own page.
  • Contested Sequel: Miracle Day has split the audience right down the middle. Complaints include it feels detached from the DW universe, it is an American-British production versus purely British and has a lot of guest star plugging as a result, and it just wasn't up to par with the rest of Torchwood. Praises include the premise of the series (i.e. how the world reacts to the removal of death), good character development, and an interesting Sequel Hook being set into place... although it is still Left Hanging for the time being.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Gwen is perceived as getting in the way of Jack/Ianto, despite the fact that she married someone else.
    • Others view Ianto and, to a lesser extent, Rhys as getting in the way of Gwen/Jack.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • John Hart who manipulates everyone for his own gain, brings Jack's brother Gray to have his revenge, and sets off a chain of events that kills Owen and Tosh. Yet the fandom adores him and often claims his arguable love for Jack as a redeeming quality. Possibly a case of Evil Is Sexy as well.
    • Torchwood collectively. Practically every TV episode or Doctor Who Expanded Universe work that discusses pre-"Army of Ghosts" / "Doomsday" Torchwood makes it clear that they were outright evil, being dedicated to robbing and murdering innocent aliens in order to get weapons to kill non-British people in the service of extreme imperialistic and racist British nationalism. By contrast, fanfic and commentary treats them like, at worst, ruthless people doing what they had to do to save humanity, and more often just a fun-loving hero team. Just because it's implied that some of them might have been LGBT at a time when British society as a whole was violently homophobic.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Faux Symbolism: "End of Days" has this in spades. Abaddonnote  is unleashed by Owen, Gwen, Ianto and Tosh opening the rift, going against Jack’s explicit orders not to. Jack ends up performing a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Abaddon, even dying in a Crucified Hero Shot. He remains dead for several days, then rises and immediately forgives those who betrayed him.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Ianto's offhand comment that his dad was a master tailor in "Something Borrowed" leaves a different taste in your mouth after Children of Earth.
  • Genius Bonus: In "Small Worlds", the faeries quote W.B. Yeats' poem The Stolen Child in their entreaties to get Jasmine to go with them, as well as at the end of the episode.
    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
  • Growing the Beard: Many people say this of the second season, compared to the first. Whether or not this made it great, good, or simply less painful to watch depends on who you ask. The tone certainly became much more consistent and less Wangsty, and the main characters more competent...and then half the cast was killed off one by one.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The BBC wouldn't allow the Doctor to appear in the series because it was geared towards adults. Flashforward a decade and the Doctor appears in the first episode of Class (2016), which had just as much, if not more, adult content.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Ianto Jones, who's been through just about everything. One of only 27 employees of Torchwood One to survive Canary Wharf, he saw his girlfriend turned into a killer cyborg that eventually had to be shot in front of him, he was half beaten to death by cannibals, and mind raped by an alien into thinking he's a murderer. And he does most of it with the wry efficiency of someone who was effectively hired to clean up after the team.
    • Jack is probably the biggest Iron Woobie of the series. Dear god, he's been buried alive, had all the life sucked out of him, was buried in concrete, and in Torchwood: Miracle Day was murdered over and over again in a butcher shop. He's also died over two thousand times and spent a year being tortured to death over and over. Oh, and he was also forced to kill his own grandson in order to save the rest of Earth's children the day after his boyfriend died. How Jack isn't a babbling mess by now is kind of a mystery.
    • Then there's Tosh. She was forced to commit treason because her mother was being held hostage. Then, instead of getting rescued, UNIT sentences her to isolation until Jack shows up and recruits her for Torchwood. The man she has a crush on is a jerk who won't give her the time of day, but at least she has regular contact with him. Another interest was a soldier suffering from PSTD who had to go back to a time that didn't understand the disorder. Then there was her other love interest Mary who was revealed to have been using her the entire time. When Tosh finally does tell Owen she loves him, she's dying from a gunshot wound and it turns out he didn't even hear it. That poor woman never got a break.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Owen spends the first half of season one being pure Jerkass, with the woobie elements coming in later.
      • Though the Woobie elements have been hinted at since "Ghost Machine", where Owen is deeply affected by witnessing a young woman's brutal rape and murder from years ago. The machine did cause him to feel her emotions, but that doesn't change that Owen was deeply affected to the point of nearly killing her (now old and mentally unsound) murderer - yet when the old man was dying, Owen's instincts as a doctor kick in and he tries to unsuccessfully save his life.
    • Gray is either this or a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, given that the reason he's criminally insane and psychotic is because he was kidnapped and tortured as a child after his beloved older brother let go of his hand. This doesn't stop him from crossing the Moral Event Horizon later though, and even John Hart tells Jack that the chances of redeeming him after what he's seen and done are slim to none.
  • Moe: Tosh is a cute and shy dork who has unrequited love for her coworker Owen, who is unfortunately both a Jerkass toward her and also oblivious to her feelings while having interest in nearly everyone else. Between that, dealing with Intelligence Equals Isolation, and her tragic death in Season 2, she is widely considered one of the show’s biggest Woobies and a character that most fans like to shower with love and sympathy. The Hot Librarian Meganekko look that she sports helps a lot too.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Gray burying Jack alive for almost 2000 years. He was planning on eternity. Even John protests when he finds out.
  • Narm: "Cyberwoman". You would expect the producers would use their newfound ability to show gore to really play up the Body Horror of the Cybermen, and show what it's like to have a lover's body be stripped of its organic material and violently replaced with machinery. Instead, we got an actress in a cyber-thong and bendy plastic top that doesn't even slightly look like it's part of her skin.
  • Never Live It Down: Owen using alien drugs to make a couple have sex with him, essentially raping them.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The Night Travellers could be hidden inside film canisters in anyone's basement.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The more we learned about Owen, the more likeable he became, especially after his death - not only did this mean he couldn't be a Loveable Sex Maniac/Really Gets Around sort anymore (though he'd grown out of it by now), it also enabled him to have more depth as a person in his following episodes, and when he's Killed Off for Real later it's utterly heartwrenching, even if part of this is because Toshiko went at the same time.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Many fans viewed the extremely negative depiction of UNIT in "Fragments" as an example of this trope.
    • Gwen has a tendency to get this treatment in fan works, to the point you could make a drink game out of taking a shot every time a fic's description says "Gwen bashing. Not for Gwen fans".
  • The Scrappy: Owen, an apparent attempt to create a Jack-the-Lad type character that failed dismally. In the story world he's supposed to be some kind of love god, but Burn Gorman is strangely froglike and charm-free. It doesn't help that when we first see him he's getting women to sleep with him by using a special spray he nicked from Torchwood supplies that made him irresistible (which more than a few fans saw as essentially Owen raping unwilling sexual partners). However, in the second series, the writers acknowledged all of this and early on took constant digs at him. His popularity increased with his character arc through the second season, only for him to be killed off in a heartbreaking final episode.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Owen going bananas over Diane after knowing her for all of a week.
    • The overly romantic light that Jack and his relationship with the real Jack Harkness was painted in might count too, as they only know each other for a couple of hours.
    • Ianto accused Captain Jack of being a monster after the Captain killed Ianto's Cyberman-girlfriend in defense (long story). However, Ianto goes back to shagging Jack by a few episodes with no significant on-screen development. Mellows somewhat in Season 3 when the two actually have more frequent conversations and develop a more emotional relationship.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Gray hated his brother Jack and went through a hellish life as a slave for savage aliens who abducted him because Jack failed to protect Gray when they were children and said aliens invaded their home, killing their father. They frequently killed and abused humans. Jack has to chloroform and cryofreeze Gray after he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, killing Owen and Tosh in the process. This makes him a serious villain in the series, and Jack intends to unfreeze him one day and deal with him. Except that the Hub and its cryofrozen patients get blown to kingdom come in "Children of Earth: Day One". That would include Gray. But... we never saw where Gray's cryofreeze capsule was sent after Jack checked it into the morgue, so it's unclear if Gray is dead or alive now.
    • John Barrowman feels that Jack's story of how he lost three years of his memory in the Time Agency needs to be told after being brought up but never explored in narratives.
    • Cryptic plot points such as Torchwood 4 being "lost, but we'll find it one day", Jack's missing years and Time Agent past (mentioned above), the mystery of the Weevils and where they come from, and the creepy little girl with the Tarot cards, coupled with the presence of the Time Rift hanging over the city spitting out ancient alien artefacts and Davies's ham-handed attempts to give the Torchwood Institute a rich and interesting history, make Torchwood seem like it's going to play the long game, setting up interesting long-form plotlines about fighting aliens in Card— Oh, no, wait, Davies got bored. Let's blow up the Hub and move to America instead!
    • Suzie's second death ends on an ominous note with Ianto reminding Jack that gloves usually come in pairs. This was most likely meant to imply that Suzie could eventually come back if another character out there stole the glove and planned to use it to revive her. Considering her second appearance depended entirely on a My Death Is Just the Beginning plan, it was reasonable to think she could pull it off again. However, she never came back and then the lab got destroyed with her frozen body still inside of it. Big Finish seems in the process of explaining these in their Torchwood ranges and The Lives of Captain Jack.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: Whereas Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures had hopeful and optimistic outlooks on life and the universe, this show offers a darker and more cynical worldview with copious amounts of sleaze, violence, gore and existential angst, populated by deeply flawed and borderline unlikable characters (the main character formerly a campy and fun hero).
  • Uncertain Audience: One of the problems about the first season seems to have been that the writers and directors were all over the shop about whether they were doing a Denser and Wackier Hotter and Sexier show full of fanboy Rule of Cool moments and fangirl feels, or a grey rain-soaked ultra-depressing cop show with barely-relevant SF MacGuffins. This led to some weird juxtapositions between episodes and even more disturbing results when the two seemed to overlap.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Gwen has a bad case of this trope in Series 1, when she decides that the only way to cope with all the new and frightening things she's discovering about the universe is to cheat on her boyfriend with the office Jerkass, confessing to said boyfriend to assuage her guilt, and drug said boyfriend so he'd have no memory of the event and she could feel better without facing the consequences. Her boyfriend even calls her a "selfish bitch" to her face for the sheer cruelty and selfishness she exhibits while drugging him. Despite this, she's shown as The Woobie in the scenes after Rhys' reaction.
  • The Woobie:


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