Torchwood 4: Miracle Day – Rendition – Episode review

Okaaay. Where do we begin discussing this second episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day? Jack and Gwen get flown to America, and Jack manages to get poisoned, though Gwen obviously isn’t important enough to kill. Equally unimportant is Rhys, who gets left behind in Wales with the baby. Rex Matheson continues to look and sound like the CIA equivalent of Tracy Morgan. And evil killer/paedophile Oswald Danes apologises to a national audience…

The dominant part of this storyline was Jack and Gwen being taken to America and the “poisoner on a plane” plot. This was a bit of a snoozer in reality, because we’ve seen all the ingredients for this type of storyline before:

  1. Double agents
  2. Poison in drink
  3. Hackneyed attempt to create an antidote out of “things commonly found on a plane”. That successfully saves Jack’s life.

Yes, it’s a nice twist that Jack has become vulnerable while the rest of the world is essentially bullet-proof. But was anyone else wondering if Gwen had left the de-greaser cable leaking and if that would have any impact on the plane’s landing gear? And Gwen herself is bouncing erratically between being a whiny, gardening-fanatic mummy-type and a trigger-happy Welsh badass. Cap’n Jack is still lacking his usual big omnisexual joie de vivre too. Although sucking down Arsenic Cola probably didn’t help there.

Dirty Old Oswald says sorry

More promising was the Oswald Danes television interview. Danes – for reasons known only to himself – agrees to go on television, only to be confronted by a hostile interviewer and a photo of the girl he murdered. If you watched his creepy performance last week, it’ll have come as a surprise when Danes broke down in tears and repeatedly apologised for the murder.

This seemed like a radical u-turn for such a loathesome character – could it be possible that the whole story behind Oswald’s crimes hasn’t been told yet? And throwing in this mysterious PR lady emphasised that Danes wasn’t playing the sympathy card: his apology was genuine. The only thing that’s got me baffled right now is how Danes’ story links to the overall arc for Miracle Day.

Spooks spooked

Elsewhere, the anti-Torchwood task force operating within the CIA has targetted Esther and Rex. Both have been ousted from the organisation and find themselves fugitives by the end of the episode. Rex in particular finds himself double-crossed (again) by Dichen Lachman’s character, but gets his revenge by wrenching her head 180 degrees.

The more interesting question now is: who are these people and why do they want Torchwood dead? Okay, that’s two questions. But we have to hypothesise about Jack’s immortality being reversed – is it possible that someone has taken away his power and somehow broadcast it to the entire human race? Or do you think that Jack’s pseudo-theory about morphic fields might be the key to the global immortality crisis?

Elsewhere:

Elsewhere we discover that people are totally alive. Like, even severed arms are still twitching. They don’t need to be connected to the host body to survive.

But on the downside, people are still ageing. This is quiet the curiosity though, because Jack has so far retained his youthful good looks. If this really is a miracle based on Jack’s unique gift, wouldn’t people continue to look the way they did when the “miracle” took place? The other piece of new information here is that humans are becoming germ incubators – that they may become hosts to a brand new type of super-virus because diseases don’t die. Again, this isn’t something that has happened to Jack in the past.

We’ll have to continue to speculate on what event brought about “Miracle Day” and what exactly the link is to Torchwood. I found it a little sucpicious that Lachman’s character only poisoned Jack on the plane. After all, her orders were vague and she had enough poison to kill all the Torchwood captives. So why single out Jack?

In summary, the poisoning plot felt like filler, and we haven’t yet seen Gwen or Jack do anything wonderfully useful. I think that’s a massive oversight – the fans are tuning in for Torchwood, but they’re getting 24. With immortality. Thankfully, there isn’t much to challenge Torchwood in the TV listings right now, so it remains worth watching, but overall I think the series has lost some of its spark.

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4 Comments

  1. Polyester

    She probably poisoned Jack, but not Gwen, because, Gwen would not be affected by the arsenic, being the whole of humanity being immortal and all. Evil Sierra did overhear him them talking about him being mortal again, and only then did she spring into action. 

    Overall, I quite liked the episode, very enjoyable for a filler. What surprised me was the need for fillers. 

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Oh you genius – I’m glad I raised the question, because I genuinely didn’t understand that bit! Good point!

      And yeah, it was total filler – most of the plot progression could have been handled in five minutes of another episode.

  2. FirstOfTenth

    … and a bit like 24, true. And after we’d already lost half the rest of the team and familiar faces now even Rhys was left behind. Let’s hope Gwen won’t forget him and the baby over all the excitement of being together with Jack again.

    And to be a bit nasty: When Jack got poisened and went all pale I caught myself thinking: They didn’t have to put on make-up – this is just how he looks all unmade-up. I guess, John Barrowman can’t play the forever unaging card that much longer…

    It was clear from the beginning (or the end of season 3) that we wouldn’t get to see the hub but gosh! I’m missing Cardiff.

    At least the plot has potential. Is all mankind in fact being used as a germ factory?

    Let’s just wait and see what tonite’s episode Dead of Night has in store for us – I’ll be watching all episodes anyway.

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