Torchwood: Miracle Day (1&2/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (3/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (4/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (5/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (6/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (7/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (8/10)
Torchwood: Miracle Day (10/10)
BBC Torchwood website
Once upon a time there were 3 wise Families. One Family took politics, one Family took finance, and one Family took media.
– Nerdy Families Guy in Shanghai
What better way to control people, even outside of a science fiction show? I love the way Torchwood pays attention to realpolitik and works it into the plot. A mea culpa before we start. I was under the impression that the Families did not have any of Jack’s blood, but another viewing of last week’s episode showed me the bit I’d missed. They did have what was collected in the butcher’s cellar, so some of my assumptions were skewed.
Smashing start to this week’s episode, with Gwen driving a car into the front window of a chemist’s shop to steal drugs. I get the impression she quite enjoys that sort of thing. We’re back in Cardiff and Gwen’s living with Rhys, Annwen, Mary, and her dad. They’re hiding her dad in the cellar because, in the 2 months since last week’s cliffhanger, the British government has re-opened the Overflow Camps and they’re once more burning people in Category 1. Probably a measured response to the Great Depression. The authorities suspect Gwen’s harbouring him, and a Jobsworth with police backup has already been round to check the place, but they miss him this time.
Jack is in a cottage in Scotland, almost completely recovered from his gunshot wound, after being nursed back to health by Esther, who has turned into a really efficient field operative. Rex would be proud. She’s been drawing Jack’s blood in the hope that it will have some part to play in reversing the Miracle.
They all come together again at Gwen’s house, when Oswald Danes appears disguised as a bread delivery man, apparently invited by Jack. He and Esther follow. Not a happy atmosphere with Danes there. Gwen whacks him upside the head with a saucepan when he picks up Annwen, and Rhys hates his guts so much that Danes isn’t safe alone with him. As for Gwen: “For the first time in my life I’ve met a monster. Is that clear?”
Danes bargaining chip is Jilly Kitzinger’s stolen laptop, by which means he has shadowed her movements and found frequent references to working for Harry Bosco, a generic name for someone who falsifies media information. Danes doesn’t know this, and assumes Bosco is the man behind the Miracle. And he knows Jilly’s online presence has just disappeared, as if it had never existed.
The information is enough for Esther to discover that the Blessing is probably in Shanghai, but it could also be in Buenos Aires, based on Jilly’s mistranslations for the media. They can’t see what possible connection there could be although Rhys, looking at a globe, has already worked it out.
Before Rhys can say anything, Jobsworth is knocking their door down in search of her dad, who he finds using a thermal imaging app on his cell phone. Gwen begs for his life. “He’s warm, feel him.” To which the bastard replies, “Not as warm as he’s going to be.” Mind you, it’s all according to the law of the land. Mary even has to sign for her husband’s removal to the Overflow Camps.
Now there’s nothing to do but go in search of the Blessing. Rhys has worked out that Shanghai and Buenos Aires are antipodes, “two massive population centres balanced on either side of the planet,” as Jack puts it. Which ties in with what the assassin said in the 4th episode: “They’ve been waiting for a long time, searching the world for a specific geography.” And explains the Phicorp logo – a circle with a line through the middle. Jack, Gwen, and Danes go to Shanghai, smuggled in because China has closed its borders. Esther to Buenos Aires, where she will meet up with Rex.
Rex is still at Langley, trusted by Shapiro, and heading the investigation into the Blessing. He doesn’t know that Charlotte, Esther’s friend, is working for the Families, although he suspects there’s a mole. Charlotte has already thwarted one promising line of enquiry by using DNA specialists in the pay of the Families. But Esther’s call for help with translating the news broadcasts that Jilly worked on prompt him to go off the grid, with Shapiro’s permission. “This could be it, sir, this could be the Blessing.” Charlotte, however, finds out from the Embassy notifications that Rex is in Buenos Aires and alerts the Families.
The lovely and amoral Jilly, meanwhile, is offered the chance to see the Blessing. Her creepy Families Guy contact hands her a one-way ticket to Shanghai and a new name. Her official identity as Jilly Kitzinger is wiped from the records.
Jilly’s met at the site of the Blessing – a warehouse – by a creepy Families Woman with a crazy cult-like smile and a line in conversation that would have most people running a mile in the opposite direction. “It’s exhilarating, the damage it does.” I’m not sure what I was expecting the Blessing to be. It looks like a cross between the inside of an artery, with nameless particles flowing into it, and a bloody rock fissure. And it goes right through the planet, ending up in Buenos Aires. Definitely dangerous.
But Jilly Kitzinger isn’t most people. Despite “feeling terrible” – one of the side-effects of exposure to the Blessing, another one being the occasional impulse to kill yourself – she wants in. Families Woman says it’s because “the Blessing shows you to yourself.” Jilly actually hurries, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, towards it. Families Woman asks her, “What can you see? What does the Blessing tell you about yourself? Jilly’s reply: “That I’m right.” And she smiles the crazy smile.
Esther meets up with Rex in Buenos Aires. She has brought Jack’s blood with her, just in case. I will be be very disappointed if it isn’t used in the final episode. Disturbingly, Rex’s wound begins to trouble him, as Esther talks to Gwen in Shanghai.
In Shanghai, Jack’s gunshot wound is also beginning to bleed again, after appearing to heal. “I’m tired, Gwen. This mortal life, it hurts so much.” A drop of blood falls onto the floorboards and runs off in a straight line, as if it were drawn to something. What else could that be but the Blessing? Gwen has the last word, as usual.
It’s your blood. No wonder it’s killing you. I think it’s showing us the way. (Going to window). It’s the Blessing, it’s somewhere over there. And I think, whatever it is, it’s calling you, Jack.
No doubt, Jack will follow it in the final episode.
I’m delighted to see Jilly Kitzinger getting more screen time. Her character is fascinating, and she’s one of the reasons I look forward to Thursday nights. I did think she would put up at least a token resistance to the Blessing, given her moral revulsion against Danes. Never mind, Jilly is interesting whatever she does.
Danes packed much less of a punch in this week’s episode. He was more interesting as an evangelist for the Miracle. I don’t quite understand the rationale for the Families wanting to get rid of him, when he is such a cynical and charismatic figure. I still think Danes is Jack’s mirror image, and that’s why their stories are converging – he will play an important part in the reversal of the Miracle.
Until next week.