Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 8 – End of the Road

Created by: Russell T. Davies

Cast: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins, Kai Owen, Wayne Knight, John de Lancie, Nana Visitor

Synopsis: Jack meets again with Angelo, now a very old man who succeeded in prolonging his life, though failed to obtain eternal youth.   He has been observing Jack all the years since they last met.   Rex proves his innocence to the director of the CIA, Shapiro (de Lancie).   Back in the CIA fold, they are present when Angelo is the first person to die since miracle day, the cause being a null-field which interferes with the morphic field causing the phenomenon.

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Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 3 – Dead of Night

Created by: Russell T. Davies

Cast: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins, Kai Owen, Arlene Tur, Bill Pullman, Lauren Ambrose, Wayne Knight

Synopsis: Rex determines the cause of his current outsider status from the CIA is his boss Friedkin, from whom he learns that the latter has been in contact with someone involved with Miracle Day.   Esther and Rex are now somewhat enrolled in Torchwood, and the team has set up base to work the problem out.   They identify a warehouse that Friedkin had been protecting, and going there discover a stockpile of Phicorp painkillers, the same company that employs Jilly Kitzinger.

This may seem out of character for me since I have started doing television episode reviews.   I have been a consistent broken record, talking about great drama, building episodes to what promises to be a brilliant finish, and how each episode of the shows I have been watching has been equal or superior to what had gone before.   I regret to say though that with this episode of Miracle Day, the ball was dropped somewhat.

This is not to say that the episode was bad.   There were many entertaining moments, as well as enticing revelations concerning what we can expect later on in the show.   The Phicorp storyline starts to bring the separate threads of the story together finally, with them not only employing Kitzinger, who in turn has been soliciting the support of both Oswald Danes and Dr. Juarez, but also having knowledge of Miracle Day a year in advance and seeking to profit.   So as far as story is concerned, the progress is fine and at a good point at this still early point.

However, the episode still does not feel quite brilliant to me.   I feel a part of that is a question of tone, this episode perhaps leaning too far into the comic arena.   Some humour in a dark concept show like this is needed to introduce levity and prevent a very depressed audience, but there was perhaps a little too much in this episode, in particular Jilly Kitzinger, whom at this point is about as deep as a puddle after a sun shower.   Her character is not the only one to suffer, however.   Jack himself does not fare well in the character development stakes.   Her leaves for a moment of levity, leading to a sex scene interspersed with a Rex/Vera Juarez sex scene.   The fact that Jack’s  scene is with a man garnered some controversy, but for me the homosexuality is beyond the point.   The simple fact is the scenes did little to serve the plot.   Jack does experience some self realisation afterwards, concerning his relationship with Gwen, but even this feels unwarranted given that Gwen has clearly moved on.   Even if it was necessary for the plot to include this element, I feel there were other ways to achieve this.   Add that to Rex and Juarez, where the lead up to the sex is so rushed it stretches beyond the point of credibility, overall including sex at all in the episode was a poor choice.

So yes, I am a bit disappointed.   There were the seeds of another episode worthy of not only the opening of Miracle Day, but perhaps even equal to some of the best of Torchwood as a whole.   Some poor choices in characterisation and tone undid that potential however, leaving the episode at just being slightly better than average.

3 stars out of 5

 

Torchwood Miracle Day – Dead of Night on IMDB

Torchwood Miracle Day – Dead of Night trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtNyJzgAMqI]

Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 2 – Rendition

Created by: Russell T. Davies

Cast: John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins, Kai Owen, Arlene Tur, Bill Pullman, Lauren Ambrose, Wayne Knight, Dichen Lachman

Synopsis: Rex has Jack and Gwen in custody on a plane on the way back to the US.   He is unaware that Esther has been framed by the CIA, and it apparently has something to do with her investigations into Torchwood.   Dr. Juarez finds out more information on what is happening to the world, with evidence that despite the lack of death, humanity is still aging.

This episode is more thrilling and more gripping than the last.   I found myself absolutely enthralled from beginning to end.   Whist some new information clarifies factors of what is happening, only more questions are raised as a result.   Given that there are still eight episodes to go and as such the end of this episode takes us to the one-fifth mark, this is a perfect dramatic point to be at these early stages.

Rex starts the episode as a true hard-arse company man whom as an audience, as for Jack and Gwen, it is difficult to determine whether he is worthy of trust.   It quickly becomes apparent however that he is on the outside of the CIA, with Esther seeing men turn over his office, and with Esther herself having received a mystery investment of $50 000 into her account courtesy of an anonymous account in China.   Clearly they are being set up, and their director Friedkin (played as brilliantly sleazy as only Wayne Knight knows how to do) seems to be behind it all.

Friedkin also has his own agent on the plane with Rex and his prisoners, Lyn (Australian actress Lachman, an alumna of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse).   She overhears Jack comment on morphic fields, and their possible connection to Miracle Day.   Given that whereas everyone else being immortal has led to his own mortality, she arranges to poison him… it seems he may indeed be close to a truth that Friedkin, or at least the mystery superior he has contacted, wants hidden.   Rex manages to arrest Lyn, but it leads to an exciting mad dash to assemble a cure with only items available on a plane.    Having a doctor on speed dial can be handy sometimes, as Dr. Juarez proves in this section of the episode.

The parallel storyline of Oswald Danes does not yet intersect with other events in the series, but being penned by Russell T. Davies, we can anticipate this happening soon.   Pullman puts in an amazing performance however, breaking down in apology for his crimes in national television.   This introduces a moral ambiguity into the plot… it is difficult seeing a man in so much anguish and not feel sorry for him, however when one reflects on the crimes he committed, is such sympathy warranted or justified?   The Danes thread also serves to introduce PR agent Jilly Kitzinger (Ambrose), whom is all big teeth and big sell.   We first see her trying to sign up Danes after his on-air “performance”, and later offers assistance to Dr. Juarez, as it seems she also works for a drug company and can supply pain killers.   Given everyone is getting injured and aging, they shall be a valuable commodity.

A lot clearly happened in the episode, and everything I have revealed still leaves elements at the end of the episode yet to be discussed, but as that would be in great big spoiler potential, I will refrain from doing so.   I loved this episode, and can’t wait to hit play on my recording of episode 3…

4 stars out of 5

 

Torchwood Miracle Day – Rendition on IMDB

Torchwood Miracle Day – Rendition trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tU6RvnomNU]