Faeries, flashbacks, and Torchwood character development goodness. “Small Worlds” is the first Torchwood episode that begins to explore Captain Jack’s past in any detail. I’m fascinated by the many lives and intricate personalities that make up Jack so this episode was right in my wheelhouse. I love the idea of memory being something that rear’s its ugly head and that the longer you live the more memories there are to be triggered by both positive and negative events. Memories of love, horror, and relationships permeate through this episode and play into overall character development and the storytelling of the episode.
This episode also had a completely different feel to it than it’s predecessors. Season One of Torchwood is still testing the waters and at times there are drastic changes in style and feel between episodes. “Small Worlds” revolves around the existence of faeries, an ancient supernatural force that have bled into reality repeatedly over Jack’s timeline. It’s a far cry from “Cyberwoman”.
The faeries in this episode are definitely dark – they masquerade as cute mythical creatures and trap ‘chosen’ children for eternity in their world. I loved the bending of traditional folk stories and myth with darker edges that happens in this episode. The theme of youth and the temporary nature of human existence is also heavily played with on in relation to Jasmine (the chosen child) and in the discussion of Jack’s past.
Barrowman is also excellent in this episode. His portrayal of Jack’s interaction with Estelle is spot on and we begin to see more depth to Jack’s character. He can love. And he can experience anguish and loss. Jack is viscerally impacted by the choice to let Jasmine be taken and it shows.