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Torchwood Miracle Day: The New World

Rex: "You mean Wales is separate? It's like the British equivalent of New Jersey."

New cast, new setting, new story -- I expected the first installment of a ten-episode story to consist of set-up, and it was. Very good set-up.

The idea behind Miracle Day is super creepy. The writers took what happened to Jack in the second episode of Children of Earth and applied it to the entire world. But it's not the same. Jack suffered horribly, but he got better. Rex's doctor said she'd had time to operate and repair the damage, but there's still the wide open question of whether or not Rex is going to recover when this is over. Will all these people die at the end of Miracle Day? I gotta give them credit for that icky morgue scene with the burned, severed head. Way to make a point. At least the guy wasn't screaming. Maybe because he didn't have vocal chords.

It seems obvious to me that Miracle Day relates directly to Jack. Something alien is making all of humanity like Jack... sort of. What alien has that kind of power? The 456 were mentioned several times, and as we all know, they kept their stash kids alive and young. It's not them, is it? Will this go on long enough for us to know whether or not people are getting older?

Apparently, Jack might be getting older now. He hurt his arm. Did the alien whatever manage to suck Jack's immortality fixed point thing out of him? When they did, did it get distributed accidentally to the rest of the world? I really don't like the idea of Jack mortal and vulnerable; like Miracle Day, it's unsettling and uncomfortable. Just the idea of the world hip-deep in people, overpopulation, starvation, awful.

Moving right along. All of the changes in cast and setting and focus felt a bit odd and un-Torchwood-like, but there were lots of familiar touches. The jokes about Wales, and the final scene at the monument. (It needed to start and end in Wales.) Jack protecting Gwen and Rhys and adorable baby Anwen from a distance. We got a bit of Andy (but with brown hair), a reference to Owen Harper (Jack's FBI alias), the return of Gwen's parents from "Something Borrowed."

Mekhi Phifer got a lot of screen time, and he's a strong actor with a lot of presence, so I might end up liking him. Rex's tenacity, even with a hole in his chest, is commendable, and several of his lines made me laugh out loud. Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) was a rubber-stamp character; we'll see. I liked Dr. Juarez (Arlene Tur). Bill Pullman as Oswald Danes? I'll reserve judgment. The way his confession was described ("She should have run faster") made Danes sound inhuman. His execution in the opening scene was cool, though. Actually, it looked incredibly painful.

So what next? Jack and Gwen in Washington D.C.? Rhys and adorable baby Anwen safely out of the way? To be honest, I don't care. I'm just so glad Torchwood is back. Bring it on.

Bits and icky pieces:

-- It's not happening to animals and insects. I'm glad they addressed that because if they hadn't, the fans would be going nuts wondering. Couldn't make the world involuntarily vegetarian, I guess. Although that would have been an interesting twist.

-- The helicopter Jeep gun battle was big and exciting, but I kept thinking, why are they trying to kill them when no one can die?

-- Jack masquerading as an FBI agent made me think of Supernatural. Everything makes me think of Supernatural. Or Buffy.

-- Everyone kept saying that all of the info on Torchwood went to Friedkin. Who is Friedkin?

-- I'll be shallow for a minute. Does John Barrowman look great, or what? He's a little thinner than he was in Children of Earth, and it works for him. Eve Myles is looking just a tad matronly. Maybe because she's a matron now.

I probably can't be objective about the return of a show I've been waiting for for two years, so how about if you guys rate it? How many severed heads out of four? Comments? Opinions?

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


  1. I'd say this episode was worth at least three severed heads out of four.

    It didn't instantly grab me like Children of Earth did but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It did a good job of reintroducing all the old characters, introducing all the news ones and setting up this season's intriguing new mystery without ever becoming a massive info dump.

    And little baby Anwen is just the cutest. Awwwww.

  2. I'd say 3.3 severed heads, because I'm just so happy that we get more Torchwood.

    "The helicopter Jeep gun battle was big and exciting, but I kept thinking, why are they trying to kill them when no one can die?"

    I wonder if RTD thought this idea up as a cheeky nod to fans who think he might sometimes be a bit too kill-happy. "You want everyone to live? Here you go! How do you like that, huh?"

  3. Hum, Blogger lost my original comment.

    Anyway, good episode, but not as good as Children of Earth's first in my opinion. On the other hand, they have more time this season, there's tons of new stuff and the old stuff is being presented in a new-user friendly way, so no wonder is was mostly set-up.

    I'd say 3 severed heads out of 4, but as with most set-up episodes, my opinion will probably change either way after seeing the rest.

    Hope Jack recovers by the end of the season (but there's some fun stories possibilies). They still haven't explained when/how he returned to Earth or what he's been doing since S03. Anyone remembered the Face of Boe in the "What if you cut off his head" scene?

    Has anyone heard of Death with Interruptions (IntermitĂȘncias da Morte) from portuguese writer JosĂ© Saramago? It has a similar plot (well, except no aliens or helicopter explosions) and it's relatively well known here in Brazil. It's a good book, by the way.

    Waiting for Dichen Lachman and Lauren Ambrose to show up :)

  4. Mark summed up my thoughts. It didn't grab me like Children of Earth did, but it's still a great little setup. They did a nice job of establishing the newbies without neglecting Jack and Gwen; I did an awful embarrassing fist pump thing when they were reunited.

    I was particularly impressed with the references. A ton of nods to the first three seasons, but done in a way that new audiences would never notice and be distracted by.

  5. I just loved it! I have been waiting for Torchwood for so long. I love Jack, I love Gwen. It's rare that you find characters in a show, that you care about so dearly so they almost seem real. Jack and Gwen are definitely among those. Torchwood has a very special place in my heart, and I don't think I felt that since the Buffy/Angel days.

    I have been reading a lot of reviews and thoughts about this new season of Torchwood, and apparently a lot of people are a bit worried/disappointed that the show has been Americanized.
    No worries here though, as long as Jack and Gwen are at the centre of the plot, I don't mind at all.

    It was not as good as the last season opener, but hey, this is going to be a 10 eps story, so maybe they are taking it a bit slow. There are still a lot of things we don't know how they will turn out to be.

    And as someone else said, can't wait for Dichen Lachman and Lauren Ambrose to jump in. And according to IMDB, mr hotness himself, Teddy Sears, will be in a few eps. Yay!

    Speaking of Buffy/Angel - Kelly A Manners is one of the producers, Skip Schoolnik was credited at the end as associate producer. The wonderful writer Jane Espenson is also there. And, was it just me, but I could have sworn I saw the Buffy-character Ethan Rayne as one of the news anchors??

  6. Do the baddies know that Jack can die?

    "-- The helicopter Jeep gun battle was big and exciting, but I kept thinking, why are they trying to kill them when no one can die?"

    Well, they could end up like the suicide bomber, or sealed up in concrete.

    Oh and what happened to the people in the helicopter?
    Can you still get into shock?

    @TJ: I did not recognize Ethan Rayne's face, but I saw Robin Sachs' name in the credits

  7. The episode seemed a bit off to me - disjointed maybe? But I assume the story lines will converge soon enough - if they have ten episodes for a single story arc, they can afford to take it a bit slow. I also didn't enjoy all the introductory bits, basically most of the scenes taking place in America, but I understand they were there for the new viewers.

    All that aside, though, it looks like a promising start. The setup looks intriguing. Plus it was so great to see Jack and Gwen again! For that alone I have to rate this at least three Gwens holding a rocket launcher out of four.

    On an unrelated note - wow, Bill Pullman has really aged! Granted, it might have something to do with the fact that the last thing I saw him in was The Lost Highway. But that can't have been all that long ago, can it? Can it?! Damn, now I feel old...

  8. I enjoyed the episode. And like everyone else, I'm happy to see Torchwood return. But I laughed out loud when Rex left the hospital AMA. When he grabbed a crutch, took a bunch of pills, without even knowing what they were, and then snatched a bunch of what I presume were pain killers, I had to roll my eyes. Then, he gets into a wheel chair and got wheeled about what seemed like 50 feet, and then he's off, grunting in pain and making demands of his associate.

    Another eye rolling scene for me was watching Gwen wield a gun, all the while holding her baby in her arms. Yes, I'd say this show was a bit over the top, but I am so looking forward to more! Watching the execution scene, Rex's pole impaling scene and the severing of the head scene, were all gruesome. I won't be watching those again or I will likely have nightmares! LOL

    I agree with everyone else, I'd rate the ep. 3 severed heads out of 4.

  9. I read that the UK and Us version will be a bit different even after you account for the censorship needs...


  10. I'm a US viewer and a huge fan of the show. Strangely, as excited as I was to see more Torchwood, it made me miss the low-budget, campy sci-fi, fun of the BBC 3 series. I was happy to see them pay proper homage to the original with an Owen Harper reference, hope they'll do justice to the others, especially lanto. I did wonder how this rebooted series played to new viewers. In any case I'll continue to be a loyal fan, and hope this makes others look back at the old episodes.

  11. I liked that, it showed the same level of ambition that Children of Earth did but with an even bigger scope. It's a great idea and they seem to be exploring it to its fullest.

    I was impressed by all the references (though the I-word wasn't mentioned - a touch disappointing) which made it clear this was the Torchwood we've spent 3 series getting to know. The mention of how everyone dies young got to me. Gwen looked stunning when we first saw her and I'm glad Rhys was back, I was worried he'd be lost in the trans-Atlantic switch.

    The only thing I felt was missing was Jack's guilt/grief over the events of Children of Earth: he was devastated when we last saw him (the cameo at the End of Time, where he hooked up with Russell Tovey doesn't count) and we should have seen more of that. I'm also concerned he doesn't seem to have learned from CoE when he suggested cutting off the wannabe suicide bombers head.


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