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Torchwood Miracle Day: Escape to LA

Gwen: "He was just about to tell us!"
Rex: "Thanks? Anybody? Thanks?"

I wasn't emotionally engaged before, but I am now. This was a much stronger episode than the first three. It feels like we finally arrived.

And what's our next destination? That conversation with the assassin sent to kill Jack was tantalizing. He said Jack was special to "them," and talked about rumors of miracles yet to come, a new society being forged on Earth. (That can't be good.) He said to Jack, and I quote, "What did you give them so long ago? ... They are everywhere, they are always, they are no one. They have been waiting for such a long time, searching the world for specific geography. They once had names long ago." As Gwen said, great, he's cryptic. Are these aliens we've heard of before in Doctor Who or Torchwood? If they are, post a comment. Post a guess! Jack doesn't have a clue, and neither do I.

The fallout from Miracle Day is finally getting really creepy. "Overflow camps" as metaphorical plague ships for the permanently sick, the walking dead, the elderly and the abandoned babies, and of course, that means concentration camps. This appears to be the ultimate goal of the Revolving Triangle Bad Guys. They must need unwanted people... for what? I certainly don't have a good feeling about it.

Oswald Danes was nearly supplanted by Ellis Hartley Monroe (Mare Winningham), "darling of the Tea Party," who started a "Dead is Dead" campaign intended to strip the walking dead of their rights as human beings. She was even more revolting than Danes, if that's possible. Danes defeated her by choosing populism, which was smart. And he took off his mask in the hospital to show that he was on the side of the people. Good. Maybe he'll get permanent cholera.

(Ellis Hartley Monroe's "final destination" was particularly horrible. Ick. And also ack. Even worse than what the assassin did to poor Nicholas Frumkin. Ack again.)

Jilly has worked for PhiCorp for only six months, and she can't stand Oswald Danes. My double agent scenario feels possible, although she certainly seemed thrilled when Danes eliminated Monroe as a rival. That shot of Danes holding that abandoned baby girl up to the camera made me shudder. I'm waiting for Danes to start demanding victims to play with. What's appalling is that I'm certain he'll get them.

I haven't even talked about Torchwood yet. And this was a strong episode for Torchwood, too.

Gwen feels like she's on the other side of the world from her family, probably because she is. (Rescuing her father from the concentration camp will have to be up to Rhys and Sergeant Andy; Gwen is needed in the U.S. to save the world.) I really enjoyed Jack and Gwen as a couple tricking poor Frumkin out of his biometrics. And the mission to steal the server was also fun.

We finally got to know Rex and Esther better, too. I should have been infuriated with Esther for not realizing that she was leading the bad guys right to Torchwood, but instead, I felt for her distress over her sister. And I actually started to feel for Rex, too. The homophobia is getting old, but you gotta love a guy who will valiantly dash to the rescue up thirty-three flights of stairs with a hole in his chest. Rex doesn't want to die, but he's starting to realize that if he solves this case, he will. I think that's why he went to see his father. That worked out well, didn't it?

Rex and Esther don't know that Jack used to be immortal. They think he's kidding. I think it's information they need, because Jack is indeed the key to what's happening. Although I think we all knew that already.

Bits and pieces:

-- We're all sci-fi fans, so we know where the title of this episode came from.

-- Torchwood is now in a shack near Venice Beach, not far from where I live.

-- Gwen did a really bad American accent. I don't think we've ever seen her do one before. Also fun.

-- We got a new and fun use for the contact lenses: retinal scan. Man, they can do anything.

-- Gold acting stars for Alexa Havins (Esther). If she hadn't been really good, this episode wouldn't have worked as well as it did.

Quotes:

Jack: "We're traveling circus folk."
Rex: "And he's the clown."
Gwen: "I'm the bearded woman, but I've shaved."

Bald tough looking guy: "By the way, if you get hungry, there's a cafe on the corner, does a guava jalapeno cheese tart that's just fabulous. Laters!"
Rex: "'Fabulous'? What is it with you? You make everybody around you gay."
Jack: "That's the plan."

Rex's father: "I don't want to live forever. Especially like this."

Danes: "I have risen with unending life. And I can promise all of you that same rapture."

Vera: "This is disgusting."
Jilly: (gleefully) "I know!"

Gwen: "Whoever wears heels to work is heroic."
Indeed. Heels should be worn while seated with your legs artfully crossed, in my opinion. Heels are meant to be looked at, not walked in. Can you tell I hate wearing heels?

Gwen: "Who the hell are you?"
Assassin: "Name's not important right now."
Gwen: "Oh, great. He's cryptic."

I'll let you guys rate this one. How many smooshed Tea Party evangelists out of four?

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

20 comments:

The Dark Shape said...

Seeing Gwen and Jack at Venice Beach was weeeeeiiirrrrdddd, considering I was standing in that exact spot a couple weeks ago.

This was certainly a major step-up from before. Was I the only one who thought Gwen might take a bullet? After all, we all know what happened in the last Torchwood episode four...

Chelsea Hensley said...

I'm liking Jilly a bit more, especially since she obviously hates Oswald and is just doing what she's ordered to do. And I thought all the scenes with Gwen and Rhys were really cute. I think I just like all the Gwen scenes in general.

Josie Kafka said...

Ditto on the weirdness of seeing Jack and Gwen at Venice Beach. I really liked Gwen's version of a typical LA outfit, too.

It was nice to see our characters have a specific goal (getting the thingamabob).

I wonder if the first few episodes felt so...weird because there really was no bad guy, and no goal. Just our heroes grappling with a diffuse event, like trying to have a ping-pong competition with smog. Hopefully the thingamabob will give them something to come into actual conflict with.

The joke about the heels, though--didn't Gwen wear heeled boots tucked into jeans throughout Children of Earth? I remember thinking how annoy it was they would put in her that get-up, after she thinks the look is dated in the episode where Tosh can read minds.

Josie Kafka said...

*annoying.

zob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L. said...

I just wonder - if Jack really doesn't have a clue, and it certainly seems so, what about these two missing years of his memory? They put it in his very first episode of DW and haven't since addressed them, but... Who knows?
Also, I'd be very disappointed if the bad aliens will turn out to be something new. That's cheating.

Paul Kelly said...

Finally, an episode I liked. Loved Gwen, Jack and Esther. Rex is still pissing me off (but virtually every character Mekhi plays does that.) And I still can't believe anyone would fall for Danes' bullshit just because of a single moment of faked human empathy. Still don't like Pullman's portrayal of Danes. Too pantomime villain. But the story has momentum, Jack and Gwen are firing on all four, and I'm happier than I was last week. Great review, Billie.

Yong Yong said...

I actually loved all the episodes so far. Guess I just really missed Torchwood.

Like Billie, I loved Gwen's comment on the heels. I was bothered by the impossibly high heels Ester and Vera have been wearing. Really I don't know any doctor wearing heels like that.

Fantastic review as alawys Billie!

Ceridwyn2 said...

Just finished watching it. Loved Jack, Gwen & Esther. Rex, while occasionally heroic, needs to can the BS attitude or tone it down a notch or three. The actor played a homophobic ass on ER, too.

I respect Esther wanting her sister's kids looked after and I felt sorry for her when she realized what she had hoped had gone terribly off-kilter. I was familiar with Alexa Havens from her soap background on All My Children and glad that she seems to be doing well on Torchwood. I wish they'd do some more scenes with Esther and Gwen.

Looking forward to next week.

Victor said...

Unlike everyone one else, i've been enjoying these from the beginning. But i'm finding the Danes story particularly hard to buy and it's starting to get a little irritating.

Valerie said...

I was also remembering Jack's lost memory from Doctor Who during the cryptic bad guy exchange. why are they always cryptic?

Mark Greig said...

The Oswald storyline is the only thing I'm not liking about Miracle Day. Were it not for Lauren Ambrose I'd be skipping those scenes.

shawnlunn2002 said...

I think Oswald isn't as interesting as the show is trying to make him to be. Jilly, on the other, love her, despite myself.

Wasn't the best episode we had but it seemed to progress stuff, so points there.

Patryk said...

The ones behind the conspiracy sounded a bit like The Silence, but the part about families doesn't add up.

drnanamom said...

Great review as usual Billie. I actually like the Oswald Danes bit especially with this week's Tea Party reference. I am continually amazed at people's capacity to believe and follow people that are horrible - even though it makes no sense and the people are shown to be amoral and acting in their own interests. This seems to be especially true when people feel uncertain and threatened. They seem to believe the most ludicrous and unsupported lies if it is what they want to hear. Even a convicted child killer can become a saint if he knows how to spin the story and has the right backers.

I was also worried that Gwen was going to get shot and am very glad she didn't. I am still miffed at losing past Torchwood members. Esther is in a terrible place with her sister, as is Gwen with her dad. Why are the women the ones who have to have family worries? It's almost as annoying most of the clothes they have to wear although I loved the heels comment too.

This season is a bit gruesome for me but I am getting interested.

Harry Earle said...

drnanamom, doesn't Rex have fairly large family worries too? In that he has a father who doesn't care about a hole in his son's chest?

I have been enjoying the episodes from the start though certainly this one more so than the others. Even though I had a strong feeling that Hartley Monroe and the Assassin were both going to be one episode characters, their scenes were sufficiently entertaining/chilling that I didn't mind. What a terrifying end for Hartley Monroe. Any children watching will have nightmares about that for sure.

Speaking of - I couldn't believe that Danes holding up a baby would be taken remotely well by the populace. If everyone knows he is a convicted paedo-murderer how are they supposed to feel anything for him but disgust/anger/pity etc. The Danes scenes really aren't working for me at all.

zob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drnanamom said...

In response to Harry - yes, Rex has a crappy family but he doesn't have family worries ie. people he is going to have to worry about and care for/feel responsible for. It seemed pretty obvious that he was just going to walk away from his father. I was just annoyed by the portrayal of Gwen as the somewhat tortured working mom. Although this is a reality for moms, it is a reality for dads too and we don't get to see much of that on TV. I'm sure if Rex had neices and nephews in a dangerous situation he would feel compelled to act as well and it would bother him but the writers didn't choose to give him that problem. They gave it to Esther. Instead, Rex has a father who has rejected him -also pretty stereotypical. I just would have liked them to shake things up a bit.

CatherineJ said...

Newbie here, and Torchwood virgin (haven't been able to say THAT about myself for a loooong time, but I digress) and I'm LOVING Miracle Day! Sort of a sci fi fan - I loved BSG (but then who didn't?)but have never been a DW fan or watched any Torchwood before- as a Brit I tend to think of Brit-produced sci-fi as wobbly sets and bad animatronic aliens. So maybe it's the fact that a US company has been brought in to raise the bar a bit, but I think this is truly compelling watching, and I'm officially hooked! I've got to try and get up to speed with the backstory of the major characters as I think this may give me some more points of reference, but on the whole I think Gwen, Jack and Esther are sympathetic and realistic - well as realistic as a pansexual centuries old space man can be (if that'w what he is). And it is SO refreshing hearing a Welsh accent on something other than Pobol Y Cwm. So based purely on 'Miracle Day' I can safely say I'm a TW convert!! Now all I need ot do is wait for the next episode to come out on iPlayer, times liek this I wish I had a tv..... And sorry for the rambling post, brevity has never been my strong point.....

Billie Doux said...

CatherineJ, it's wonderful hearing from a new Torchwood fan!