Now let me start by saying that in many ways Torchwood is a super progressive television show. If you want to check out my post on the feminist character Gwen Cooper please go to this link:https://maewpower.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/10-reasons-why-gwen-cooper-is-a-feminist-character/. I don’t really talk about male characters very much, but Captain Jack Harkness is beyond pansexual. He will sleep with anybody with a pulse no matter the gender or species. Fellow Torchwood agent, Ianto Jones is proven to be bisexual or at least bicurious when he has a relationship with Captain Jack a year or two after losing long time girlfriend Lisa. But Toshiko Sato falling in love with another women is shown to be dangerous in the episode “Greeks Bearing Gifts”, which is the opposite of progressive.
Major spoiler alert for anybody who has not seen this episode of Torchwood. In “Greeks Bearing Gifts”, Tosh falls in love with Mary a woman who turns out be an alien who escaped from prison. Mary seduces Toshiko in bar by giving her a pendant that can read people’s thoughts. They are shown to have an actual physical and loving attraction to one another in their numerous scenes including one after they have sex. When Toshiko wears the necklace around Mary all she can see is her sexual fantasies and general attraction. Tosh around Mary is shown be happy, affectionate and free. Instead of spending all her time figuring out alien technology or languages within the Torchwood liar, she is shown to have a social life. Torchwood shows this side of Toshiko to be dangerous in several ways through the episode.
First, Tosh figures out that Owen and Gwen are having a secret affair through the pendant, which makes her act weird. Her demeanor also changes because her love of Mary. At the end of the episode, Jack points out that the fact that he knew Tosh was acting strange therefore something bad was happening. This problematizes the feelings Tosh is having toward Mary since part of her change in personality was because she was in love with somebody of the same gender who who loved her back. Gwen and Owen continue to have a sexual affair even after their secret is out. The heterosexual couple that has been acting strange at work are not labeled as bad.
Secondly, Mary turns out to be an evil alien who she is only using Tosh to get a device to take her back to her home planet. The pendant turns out to be the way her species communicate (through feelings and thoughts). “Mary” has been killing people for their hearts since she first arrived some time during the Medieval Period because it makes her feel good. Which started when she first killed a knight who was going to try to kill the young woman she inhabited. Mary killing the Misogynist made him the victim instead of showing a empowered woman against a masculine bully. Mary and Toshiko’s potential same-sex relationship became dangerous because the writers of Torchwood made the alien evil as well as un-loving. Why are the male characters allowed to have at least as season of same-sex happiness, but not the women?
I know that some people may argue that Torchwood is a extremely dark show where only two of the main characters in the agency Torchwood survive, so how does Mary and Toshiko not having a happy ending make the show phobic against same-sex female characters . Also, Rhys and Gwen are the only couple to have a happy ending with a baby daughter and everything. But Captain Jack jokes all the time about his multiple pansexual conquests without judgment. Plus Captain Jack and Ianto are shown to have a loving while secretive relationship for a long time. So why couldn’t Tosh have a loving relationship with Mary even for a couple of episodes? The world of Doctor Who allows for aliens to be good so Mary being from another planet is not the reason.