All in all, I enjoyed this season more, and was annoyed by it less, than what fandom reactions had led me to expect. Not that all of the criticism wasn’t justified, because yes, characterizations jumped all over the place, some stories were either unoriginal or cheesy or plain bad, plus there were instances of Very Bad Acting (yes, Gareth David-Lloyd in Cyberwoman, I’m looking at you) – but, apart from a few real clunkers that managed to suffering from all those flaws at once, I actually didn’t mind so much. And there are some minor annoyances throughout – like, why does the SUV have Torchwood printed on it in big letters if they’re supposed to be a secret organization? Are they a secret organization? – but those aren’t really a turnoff, more a source of amusement.
It makes a huge difference, I’m sure, that I saw Children of Earth before the rest of the series, hence being aware of the characters’ potential and the kind of persons they eventually become. I have an image in my head of what makes them tick, and whenever the writers fail to portray any of them consistently, I find myself trying to fill in the blanks on my own, and moving on from there. Without COE, I might not have been half as touched by Gwen and Rhys, or found it in my heart to sympathize with Ianto, or have seen Jack as more than a bitter, brooding shadow of his old self. Still, it would have been nice to have gotten a deeper glimpse of, say, what exactly made Ianto decide to stick around after all; or if the writers had shown Gwen, who was a policewoman after all, acting a little less like a flailing, frightened teenager. But as it is, enough of the seeds of character development were there for my perception of the characters to remain intact.
( More (spoilery) thinky thoughts under the cut... )