“End of the Road” is quite an apt title for the eight episode in the fourth season of Torchwood. We see the end of a couple characters during the episode and at the same time we finally get the final pieces to the question of who or what caused “Miracle Day”.
The episode begins with the Torchwood team arriving at the Colasanto estate and led by Olivia Colasanto to her grandfather and Jack’s former companion and lover from the late 1920′s. We find out that Angelo Colasanto has kept himself alive through natural means, but is now in a coma as Jack looks on. Angelo’s condition when revealed almost felt like a cop out, but in a major exposition info dump done by his granddaughter we find out who is behind “Miracle Day”. They’re called The Families and are made up of the descendants of the three men last seen in the previous episode forming an alliance to study Jack’s seeming immortality.
Angelo himself has been kept out of the alliance due to the three men’s discomfort over his homosexuality. Angelo has been observing not just the three families through the years, but Jack as well in an attempt to either stave off whatever plans The Families have in regards to the “Miracle” or, at the very least, give Jack the clues needed to fix the problem. But before Jack, Gwen, Esther and Rex can do their thing to save the day there’s the little obstacle of Rex’s old boss in the form of Wayne Knight interrupting the Jack/Colasanto reunion. The rest of the episode never lets go of the throttle once John De Lancie’s CIA head honcho Shapiro show’s up and we get closer to this season’s endgame.
The episode was well-written even with the major expositional scene involving Nana Visitor’s character. Each character in the Torchwood team got a chance to shine in their roles with Barrowman making Jack’s bittersweet reunion with Angelo a mixture of happiness and regret. If there was a weak point in the cast’s performance it would continue to be some of the side characters like Wayne Knight’s deputy director Friedkin and Bill Pullman’s Oswald Danes. While I can understand the role of Knight’s character in the overall scheme of things this season I still can’t quite grasp just exactly what Pullman’s Danes character is suppose to do other than be over-the-top creepy. Even Ambrose’s Kitzinger got a chance to own her scene as she finally unleashes what she truly feels about Oswald Danes despite having to be his publicist.
“End of the Road” ends on a major cliffhanger with one of the Torchwood team members shot and the team split apart as the CIA, The Families and everyone else seem to be pulling at them from all directions making their task about solving “Miracle Day” that much more difficult. With only two more episodes remaining this season what looked to be a show that seemed stuck on idle for most of the middle episodes has suddenly begun to speed ahead towards what could be an epic conclusion.
I didn’t think Russell T. Davies and his writers could pull off moving the story of Torchwood: Miracle Day towards a resolution that would be interesting, but it looks like they might just do it. The series is now on it’s final stretch run and fears that the show was spinning its wheels about not having any idea what the cause of “Miracle Day” was and what was the endgame looks to be easing somewhat with this 7th episode titled “Immortal Sins”.
The episode was mainly told through a flashback to the early 1920′s where we see Jack entering the U.S. through Ellis Island and befriending an Italian immigrant who also happened to have tried to steal his visa papers. We learn that this man is one Angelo Colasanto and his bright-eyed outlook on being in a new land has made quite an impact on the well-traveled Captain. Soon enough Jack and Angelo become companions and romantically involved, but as with everything involving Jack such happiness never last for long as we find out why Jack was entering the U.S. in the first place. It’s a consequence of Jack and Angelo’s attempted escape following Jack’s mission that his companion later learns of his inability to die.
In one of the more disturbing sequences throughout this series, so far, Jack’s immortality was tested time and time again. Angelo’s misguided betrayal of his lover leads to Jack being killed over and over only for him to return. It’s from this sequence we see what could be the birth of the shadowbrokers pulling the strings behind PhiCorp and the many others complicit in moving “Miracle Day” along.
While the bulk of the episode was taken up mostly by Jack’s flashback to his meeting with Angelo we still got enough time given over to Gwen as she attempted to save her family from the very people who also want Jack. Even with her loyalty to Jack we see that Gwen will be willing to turn him over to the very people holding her family hostage if it meant saving them. It’s only through a timely intervention by Esther and Rex that Gwen and Jack get out of another crisis. It’s the final moments of this sequence that we finally learn the name of the person who has the key to learning the true nature of “Miracle Day”. Sins of the past looks to have caught up to Jack this time around and it’ll be interesting to see if “Miracle Day” becomes the elaborate plan of a spurned lover and companion and whether Jack will be the key to unraveling the effect of the world’s current bout of “immortality”.
Overall, “Immortal Sins” was a good episode that gave us a nice look into a part of Jack’s past that has only been shown briefly in the past. The episode was actually stronger when it focused on Jack’s past with Angelo and the discoveries made by both men about each other that looks to color the current situation occurring on the planet right now. While the other half with Gwen had it’s exciting moments (mainly once Esther and Rex get involved) this section of the episode looked to be more of an expositional trigger to get Jack to recount his past. I did like how Jack and Gwen seemed to make-up and get back on track as partners once again when the danger had passed. The chest bump between the two was quite amusing. Only time will tell if Gwen’s attempt to save her family’s life by trying to turn Jack over to the very people opposing them would have any lingering effects as the season comes to a close and towards any potential future seasons.
The final three episodes of this season should make for some interesting tv watching.
Torchwood: Miracle Day is now into the second-half of it’s 10-episode latest season and something just occurred to me even while I was enjoying this 6th and latest episode. For a new season that’s just 10-episode the writers seem to be doing things as if there’s more than just the 10 episodes. For some people this slow pace has become an annoyance as the mystery of what is “Miracle Day” seem to be doing the glacial unveiling. I’m beginning to lean towards these individuals who thinks this season, as entertaining as it has been, looks to be wasting too much of of the season’s remaining episodes introducing new characters left and right to be nothing more than exposition mouthpieces to help add another clue to the mystery of the season.
While episode 6, perfectly titled as “The Middle Men”, was entertaining as we see Rex, Esther and Gwen deal with their part in exposing the government “Outflow Camps” (aka extermination camps for those deemed braindead but still alive), the episode seemed to spin it’s wheels in place once Jack met with one of PhiCorp’s executive who may or may not know the company’s role in “Miracle Day”. Ernie Hudson plays PhiCorp’s COO, Stuart Owens, who also has begun to investigate on the true nature of the Outflow Camps. One of Owens’ operatives in Shanghai tasked with investigating that country’s Outflow Camps relays an ominous and cryptic message to Owens in the form of jumping off of the roof of the tallest building in the city after what he had uncovered. It looks like the burn units in the Outflow Camps’ module might not be the only way to get around the forced upon “immortality” everyone now has.
The episode actually takes place pretty much where the last one ended and it spends most of it’s time with Rex and Esther finding out who was responsible for Vera Juarez’s “death”. This part of the episode was actually quite frustrating to watch. Some of it was very difficult to watch in a good way as Rex goes through a form of torture that had even me averting my eyes. But it was also a part of the episode where both Rex and Esther make one stupid mistake after the other. Esther I can understand as she’s become almost useless as a Torchwood member outside of her hacking skills. Rex on the other hand I thought would’ve been more wary of his surroundings and those in the Camp he interacted with. The fact that it took a bumbling idiot to save the two put this whole part of the episode into the realm of the absurd.
Gwen’s time in the Cardiff Outflow Camp was a bit more successful though this leads to consequences which puts her in a no-win situation as the episode draws to a cliffhanger close. We did get to see her get into badass mode as she figures out in her own way to put a temporary stop to the burn modules. She does this all the while playfully bantering back and forth with Jack back in LA. This past of the episode was actually the best of the three concurrent story plot threads which has been running for the past couple episodes.
The third part of the episode is more of an exposition dump than anything else. For some reason this season has seen Jack in less of badass role while at the same time the one member of the team who seems to run across people who do nothing but act as exposition dump devices. While Ernie Hudson’s character unloading information on Jack was good and all most of it was something that audiences probably have figured out by now and that PhiCorp is just a link to the those in the shadows pulling the strings on “Miracle Day”. He did give a little tidbit about what might be the endgame for those behind-the-scenes of this worldwide event: The Blessing.
All in all, episode 6 (“The Middle Men”) was a good episode but definitely a step back from some strong ones previous to this one. With only four more episodes remaining in the season I’d be really interested in how Davies and his writers will be able to wrap things up without rushing things. Part of me thinks they may not be able to pull it off and another part of me suspect that there won’t be a true resolution and that a follow-up season may be what’s in store.
Torchwood: Miracle Day has now reached it’s third episode and we’re beginning to see a few more clues as to the truth about the so-called “Miracle Day” event which automatically made everyone on the planet Earth immortal (with the exception of the planet’s previous lone immortal Capt. Jack Harkness who became mortal instead). The series has been a bit slow about the reveals and dropping of clues and with only 10-episodes to this season it’s going to be interesting to see how Davies and his writers will tie things up when the tenth episode rolls around.
“Dead of Night” is the name of this latest episode and it’s actually quite an apropo title. The episode happens mostly at night and it’s during the darkness of night that we get a glimpse at some of the darker sides of some of the characters on the show. First, we see the team on the run after the bungled attempt by CIA deputy director Friedkin (Wayne Knight) to apprehend Matheson and the remaining Torchwood team at Dulles International. It’s interesting to notice how Rex and his fellow agent in Esther Drummond seemed out of sorts realizing that they’ve been betrayed by the very agency they work for (and maybe the very country they serve loyally) while both Jack and Gwen seem to take it all in stride as if they’ve been there and done that. Some have mentioned that the show doesn’t seem to be classic Torchwood and I can see where they’re coming from. The additions of the American characters to the team and the transplanting to US soil has created a different tone to the show which seem to be harder for the veteran fans to accept at the moment.
It’s definitely not the writing or the acting which has given this show an almost dual nature and feel. Tonight’s episode was written by Jane Espenson (who helped write the excellent sixth episode of Game of Thrones, “A Golden Crown”) and the flow of the show seemed to have improved for the previous one. Most of the set-up’s been completed and now the team is up and running once again with a new problem to solve. It’s that very problem which drives this episode as Jack and his new team begin to uncover one of the major clues that goes a long way into explaining the true nature of “Miracle Day”. I do think that finding out a major pharmaceutical conglomerate might have had a hand or knew in advance about “Miracle Day” wasn’t too much of a surprise. The way the episode paints PhiCorp and their plans for their wonder drug seems like the bad dream for everyone trying to overhaul the nation’s health care system for the better.
The show further explores Capt. Jack Harkness’ current situation as he begins to accept the fact that he’s finally dying (aging being the correct term people would use, but not for one so used to being immortal) and he doesn’t do as well as some would want him to. His emotional and drunken late-night call to Gwen after a one-night’s dalliance with a stranger picked up at a club brings back some emotional baggage and the sexual tension between the two. There’s an almost air of desperation in John Barrowman’s performance in this scene which should show new fans to the show that the series won’t be all about action and intrigue. There’s a reason the series has cultivated such a rabid fanbase and it’s been the performance by the actors, first and foremost. Eve Myles performance as Gwen on the receiving end of Harkness’ call were at times empathic, sad and frustrated as if she thought this was something the two were past but now have been brought back to the surface.
The other major performance of the night belongs to Bill Pullman’s pedophile murderer, Oswald Danes. His character still continues to be the show’s cipher. We’re still not sure what to think of Danes. He’s being made out to be a sympathetic character in one moment then a devious manipulator trying to find whatever advantage he could get his hands on to keep himself safe. We finally do get an idea who Danes is during a confrontation between him and Harkness and it spoke volumes at just how banal evil really is and it’s current face happens to be Bill Pullman’s. It’s going to be interesting to see how Danes, PhiCorp and “Miracle Day” will tie together once this season gets deeper into it’s main story.
“Dead of Night” was better than the last episode but still shows some growing pains as the writers are still coping with some of the major changes to the show’s usual tone. While some long-time fans of the show seem to not be as accepting of these changes I think it’s these changes that show’s growth in the series and such things do take time to find their footing. I expect more growing pains in the coming episodes, but I do think that this episode goes a long way into establishing the melding of old Torchwood with the new Torchwood.