Our latest review from Torchwood: Miracle Day concerns the third episode, Dead of Night. Reviewed by our American Associate Editor Brian A. Terranova, this review contains spoilers that might upset your viewing if read before watching.
Three episodes into Torchwood: Miracle Day and you would expect that things would be moving on in a forward direction to get to the meat of the overall story and to be fair they do seem to be, very slowly and with detours.
Episode one had me interested for more. Episode two made me feel pretty much the same, but needed to go a bit faster into the story. Episode three has so far made me feel, inattentive. I watched the whole of the episode looking past it trying to figure out other things to do and places to be. Was I in the wrong frame of mind to be watching this story or was this episode a bit of a nonevent?
As the story moves on it becomes apparent that the drug companies, or more so one specifically known as Phicorp, has known about Miracle Day for at least a year and are also contenders for being the people behind it. Ok, we’re getting somewhere, now we’re moving forward, but wait, Jack? Rex? Where are you guys going? What the heck?
The new Torchwood team – who can’t agree if they are the new Torchwood team and in all fairness I can understand that – start out with the best of intentions trying to figure out the mystery behind Miracle Day but then quickly take one of those detours I mentioned while Jack goes and explores, well, what Jack explores best, sex. And to be fair his own mortality. But really? The whole world is plagued by lack of death and the population is growing every second so every second counts, but Jack has time for a pit stop for some ‘personal attention’? (And as a side note, did Jack really need to find someone who looked like him? I mean this guy it totally in love with himself) Rex the same? At least Rex had an excuse, find a doctor he could trust to treat his wounds and then stay for something extra. Even still, it just feels out of place given the grand scale of the situation the Earth is in.
At least Gwen and Esther had their hearts in the right place though by wanting to check in on their families, something you would expect in a time of crisis. And while I will conceit that in times of major disaster some people think to live life as if today is the last day of their lives, which Jack and Rex seem to have done, Torchwood is the only team in the world who can stop this threat and there are only four of them, you’d think they would be a bit more concentrated on their tasks.
I don’t want to sound like it’s all bad though, the cinematography is top notch and the basic story is very interesting. The characters are on the whole more than just basic need characters, they all have realistic sides to them. But if the pace of this episode is anything to go by I can’t help wondering if 10 episodes was a bit too much for one story.
The production team didn’t forget it’s roots either, as there is a nice Doctor Who reference with a medicine warehouse being “bigger on the inside than the outside”. A nice little touch that means something to the fans but still doesn’t exclude new viewers.
The show stealer does seem to be Bill Pullman as Oswald Danes, which in many ways disturbs me. The character is a convicted pedophile and murderer and yet he somehow has become the savior of the planet and the spokes person of the new world and Phicorp? What the hell is that about? I know that the word is in a messed up place right now, but how could anyone worship a pedophile and murderer? Oh but Bill Pullman plays this very well and very fleshed out, but it feels very wrong. Perhaps it should, maybe that’s the point, but to what end? I expect this is where part of the real interest lies as we move forward to the rest of the series.
So far the only character who feels like she stepped out of a Russell T. Davis Doctor Who series opener is Lauren Ambrose as Jilly Kitzinger. Everything about her , writing and acting, says she knows more than she is saying and while the people around her don’t seem to notice it’s clear that we the viewer aren’t meant to miss it. There is no depth of character there. Hopefully that will come.
Things do pick up with the team when they go in to action again towards the end on a recon mission, but as I pointed out, this would have been better places earlier on in the story and removing the padding to make this Miracle Day a 10 episode story. I hate to be a nay sayer but I had doubts about a 10 part story from day one but even I didn’t expect such an early lull. Episodes one and two had me interested to see more, hopefully episode four will continue that trend.