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Torchwood Miracle Day: Dead of Night

"It's the perfect drug for the new world order."

We know more now. There's a vast conspiracy by PhiCorp to corner the painkiller drug market, suggesting that PhiCorp caused Miracle Day. But what humans could possibly have the technology to do something like that? It still feels like something alien is behind it. This is Torchwood, after all.

The Americanization of Torchwood continued, with Esther correcting a large number of Gwen's colloquialisms. Crisps are now chips, got it. At least I'm warming a bit to Esther. I enjoyed her bantering with Gwen while Jack and Rex squabbled for leadership of Torchwood and then went out and got laid at the same time. Although unfortunately, not with each other, which might have defused the tension between them. That double sex scene was probably intended to illustrate that Jack and Rex are a lot alike. Certainly more than Rex is ready to acknowledge.

(The guys are out getting laid while the women go back to the office and work. Typical.)

I had to think about the whole Rex/Jack thing for awhile before I realized what was bothering me. Rex treats Jack with disdain. To Rex, Jack is an immature gay man in his forties with an affected wardrobe and nothing important to contribute. But to us, the Torchwood fans, that's not Jack at all. He's a time agent from the 51st century, one of the Doctor's companions, an immortal who lived through World War II and deserves to wear that coat because he was there. Jack as a character has always been larger than life, and taking his immortality away has removed his supernatural gravitas. Yes, Jack experiencing mortality is an interesting way to go, and depending on how it's handled, it might work. But right now, I'm wondering if it was a mistake on the part of the writers. We shall see.

Jack is not only mortal now, he's melancholy and missing Ianto. I think Gwen's focus on her family is giving him pangs. Maybe that's why he went out and picked up that cute bartender. Jack enjoyed his hangover. It will get old, Jack. Trust me on this one.

Food shortages, drug shortages, changes in the laws on murder. Even the poets are going to be changed by Miracle Day, since they can't wax poetic about death. (I liked that one.) And now there's a new cult of the soulless. I'm sorry, but those masks don't strike fear or awe in me; it just makes it look like they worship the guy in the Jack in the Box commercials.



I've never been on board with the idea of Danes as a sympathetic character, so I'm glad it's now clear how utterly despicable he is. I have to admit that it's rather interesting that this unkillable monster is becoming the voice of the people, though. It works better for me that he's really the mouthpiece of PhiCorp.

Bits and pieces:

-- Sergeant Andy has "custody" of Rhys and Anwen. At least Gwen can relax a little about that situation.

-- Dr. Vera Juarez went under cover for Torchwood, in more ways than one. At least Rex has taste in his lady friends. And that dress she was wearing? Oooh la la.

-- There was an article in the horrible Blastr (I don't know why I'm still reading it; force of habit, I guess) that the BBC was planning to cut the Jack/Brad sex scene. It was intercut with Rex and Vera having sex, too, though. Could someone in the UK let me know if they kept Rex/Vera but cut Jack/Brad, or if all of it was cut? I didn't think there was much of a difference in the explicitness of the scenes. If the BBC cuts the gay scenes and not the straight scenes, I'll be really disappointed in them.

-- Jack insisted on using protection with Brad. At least Jack is taking his new mortality seriously. Imagine eternal AIDS, eternal syphilis. Eternal herpes. No, wait, herpes is eternal.

-- Is Rex's wound getting better? It sure doesn't seem to be. The warehouse of painkillers that Rex found must be important. It feels like their most important characteristic is that they don't make you sleepy.

-- The alien contact lenses were back. Definitely the most popular alien artifacts in the series. And rightfully so, since they're cool.

-- So the CIA itself isn't behind Friedkin. It's PhiCorp, right? Did they actually say so? I'm blanking it out.

-- Is Jilly evil? We still don't know. I'm deeply fond of Lauren Ambrose after her outstanding work in Six Feet Under, so I'm hoping she'll end up as another undercover agent for Torchwood.

-- The scenes in the abandoned house reminded me of the abandoned warehouse in Children of Earth, only smaller.

-- The scenes with American news are a bit more realistic now than the ones on Doctor Who and Children of Earth. It always looked so fake to me before.

Quotes:

Gwen: "This lemonade is flat."
Esther: "It's lemonade. It's supposed to be flat."
Gwen: "What, fizzy fizzy lemonade?"
Esther: "It's fizzy in the UK and flat in the US."
Gwen: "Just about sums it up."
And as she said this, I thought, did they really want to give us a line about why Torchwood is exciting in the UK but not in the US? Really?

Jack: (about the warehouse) "Bigger on the inside than the outside." A nice reference to you know what.

Doctor: "No baby is a mistake."
Dr. Juarez: "Yeah, I was a Catholic too, once. I got better."

Jilly: "Like it wasn't end of the worldy enough."

Rex: "You weren't impaled."
Jack: "You should have seen the other guy. Oooh, that face. Rex doesn't like his jokes too gay."

I'm not sure that new Torchwood is bad. I looked forward to this episode and enjoyed it, and it went by quickly. But I'm worried that it still isn't feeling quite right to me. Is it the American setting? The lack of Ianto? The focus on the dislikable Rex?

Two out of four masks with squiggly lines on them,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

12 comments:

  1. I never watched the original Torchwood so I have nothing else to go off of, but I'm really enjoying it so far. I love Gwen and Jack and I'm getting more accustomed to Esther but I don't like Rex either and I wish that something would happen to make him more likable if they insist on making him so important.

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  2. Interesting comment, Chelsea. I may be such a big fan of original Torchwood that I really can't see it from the perspective of someone who has never seen it before, but I'm glad you're enjoying it. I am also waiting to like Rex. I liked Mekhi Phifer on ER; he's a strong, talented actor and I know he can be likable. Fortunately, we have several episodes to go.

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  4. I agree, Billie. Torchwood just doesn't feel like Torchwood any more. (You didn't quite say that... I'm taking your "isn't feeling quite right" quote and running with it.) I was really looking forward to this episode. Jane Espenson is one of my favourite writers. But, I'm sad to say, the show is slowly losing me. It feels as much like Torchwood as Eureka's "Crossing Over" felt like Warehouse 13. (In other words, not very.) Jack and Gwen feel like they've been transplanted into another show.

    Rex is annoying, Bill Pullman's acting is terrible. I could go on for hours but don't want to annoy the people who are enjoying it. I'll keep watching for the sake of completion, (and because I quite like Esther and Jilly) but I struggled to sit through tonight's episode.

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  5. "I'm not sure that new Torchwood is bad."

    I agree. I think...no, I want to think that it will pick up a bit. I also (want to) think that if we were watching it all at once, we'd have a different reaction. Right now, not much is really happening. And by that, I mean "Where are the aliens?"

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  6. "Miles to go before we sleep" reminded me of Buffy. :)

    Apart from that i think it was the best of the 3 eps aired so far on Starz but still not up to season 3 standards.

    I wonder why Jack went to see Danes sa fast. Why try to expose him so fast?

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  7. My reaction to the current season is lukewarm so far as well. I think the plot is actually quite interesting, but they are dragging it out too much. There's too much talking and too little things actually happening.

    The previous seasons were better at this. The first two were a bit of a mess, some episodes excellent, some pretty bad, but it was always interesting. And the stories were always done in one, two episodes tops.

    Then there is of course the third (mini)season, but I think we shouldn't use that as a basis for comparison - it raised the bar of quality impossibly high and I don't think it will happen again any time soon.

    Now they have ten episodes and two of them have basically been just exposition. What a waste. Fortunately, with this last one I had the feeling that things were finally starting to move a little. Not as much as I'd wish, but enough to give me hope. Also the Torchwood (as in Jack and Gwen) was finally more involved - they were hardly there the previous two episodes.

    All in all, this was the best episode of the new season so far, but that's not saying much. I hope the future ones will be better still.

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  8. I think I am in the same space as most of the other Torchwood fans - I don't hate it - yet. There were some good things about this episode and I particularly liked the Catholic line since I am an ex-Catholic but I like my Torchwood more super heroey, especially Jack. They are trying to explore his vulnerability and I appreciate that. I was particularly moved that he went to expose Danes maybe to do some penance for his own atrocities against children. He could tell Danes was not actually sorry because he is so deeply. But all that vulnerability without immortality is making me antsy. I am glad that Gwen is kicking ass but I want the old Jack back.

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  9. I’m still in the “OMG Torchwood’s finally back!!” stage so my opinion may be clouded. I think the girls are bonding so that’s nice. I liked the poem Esther quoted it’s one of my favorites. Jack and Rex are still figuring out who’s vortex manipulator is bigger (and Rex doesn’t have one, so there) which is annoying. I can’t stand him looking down at Jack, he’s a hero. I thought Jack knew something more when he confronted Danes though it could just be the child killing issue. I still think that Jack’s mortality is important to the plot.
    These are not spoilers but if you don’t want to know what happened before season four don’t read.



    Was the warehouse actually bigger on the inside or was that just an inside joke? Cause I was thinking the time lords were behind it all for a moment, which could make sense since the TARDIS originally make Jack immortal. But, if they wanted to introduce a new audience that would make no sense. Am I just crazy?

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  10. I'm not sure if ten episodes was the right amount needed for this plot. I feel like they are dragging out the story. Maybe five episodes, or they could have spent five episodes on one story and five on another if they really wanted ten.

    Also, given the sexy gay scenes in Christopher and His Kind, it would be silly to think the BBC would cut Jack's sex scene, since they recently showed a somewhat more graphic scene (involving Matt Smith!).

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  11. Surely Phicorp's painkillers aren't just painkillers -- there must be something else in them. Highly addictive at least, so they conquer the market not just now but forever, and have control over people taking them... or do something else nasty/controlling to people or turn them into something else. If not, they suck at conspiracy.

    I also wonder if the Phicorp/Psicorps (from Babylon 5) similarity is just a coincidence.

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  12. The Cult of the Soulless looks like Anonymous.

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