We were all taught at some point in school that every story needs a beginning, middle and an end, and that this structure was crucial to any story. Torchwood: Miracle Day does indeed seemed to have a beginning and a middle, but it appears that the quality of the actual story improves as we near the final acts.
Since episode one the series seemed to be in a sort of quagmire of stretched out scenes that did not work or even at times scenes that did not move the plot along at all, making for an inferior product to the last full series of Torchwood, Children of Earth. It seemed that the series had regressed rather than progressed from the goal it had finally achieved with Children of Earth, a deep and moving adult sci-fi drama that was breaking the barriers a bit and of the highest quality in terms of plotting and dramatic effect.
However, despite the slow simmer we seemed to be cooking in since we started this journey, the series is improving over the last couple of outings, providing a bit of the spark that made last series so special while also feeling more like the show we have been watching since 2006.
Improvements are made by us really being able to take a big bite out the story line during this one and getting a scope of what may connect Jack to the Miracle and the mysterious PhiCorp. It is about time that the story has moved past the shock and awe of the Miracle and the world’s governments’ helping with the cover up along with a malevolent corporation. There is even a reference to the Doctor and Torchwood’s parent show Doctor Who as well as a lot of emotion centering around Jack and Gwen’s relationship. So it is happy days all around for those us who have delved a bit deeper into the entire universe.
It is also stronger because it is playing to it’s greateststrengths, using what has always worked for it’s muses and using those muses in situations that seem natural and that don’t seem forced. Even the weakest of the newest members of the Torchwood team Rex and Esther seem to shine when presented with a scene that is built to allow them to really establish themselves as part of the team by acting independently from the rest yet doing the classic rescue of their teammates when they are in dire straits.
While some plot elements were completely missing from this episode, such as Oswald Danes and the manipulation of the entire planet by PhiCorp, these elements weren’t actually missed as we delved into Jack’s past in roaring twenties New York. You just get the feeling that maybe the entire Miracle Day concept is just as much of a winner as Children of Earth if only one day they could do a re-mix the way they do with musical works. Perhaps if we shook up all the loose scenes that seemed so pointless to the main idea and trimmed a lot of fat, we might be left with a whole that is much more then it’s individual parts. I can’t help but wonder what this one would look like if we did not have all that padding cluttering up the script.
Four or five brilliant episodes of Torchwood would have been better then eight drawn out mediocre ones, but at least the entertainment has finally arrived.
But most importantly this installment captures the magic of Jack’s condition and also the spirit of the whole series. This is actually Torchwood not the show that was trying to be something that it wasn’t. But it seems as time goes on that Miracle Day might pull off a comeback after flatlining just two weeks ago. Hopefully it makes a complete and successful recovery.