Day 16A lot of people have turned into Torchwood fans over the summer with its terrific “Children of Earth” 5-parter. But those who just jumped on the bandwagon and decide to check out the previous seasons are going to be in for a little shock. The dark secret of Torchwood is that the first two seasons are incredibly rocky, going back and forth from being exceptional to downright awful. Throw in the fact that most of the characters on the show, especially in that first season, are extremely unlikeable…well, you’ll come to realize that the show didn’t really come into its own until “Children of Earth”.

However, this isn’t to say there’s nothing good. The fifth episode of its first season, “Countrycide”, is the one that redeemed the rocky first year. I’d argue that “Countrycide” is one of the finest horror episodes to ever air on television. It was the kind of episode the show needed on a lot of levels. It established the character dynamics that would carry over for the rest of the season, showed off the potential of the show, and most importantly, it created a real world conflict for the group to deal with.

And that’s the secret of “Countrycide”. After dealing with aliens and monsters, Torchwood had to be reminded that the real horror is us. You won’t find a more frightening monster than man, and this episode illustrates the point beautifully, especially in the final confession scene where Gwen confronts the man responsible for 10 years of butchering travelers:

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