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Torchwood Miracle Day: Immortal Sins

Jack: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. So many times, and that's just today."

I had a mixed reaction to this one. Glad that we finally got an episode about our immortal Jack, and what happened in his past that related to Miracle Day. Impatient because I had absolutely no interest whatever in Angelo. Miserable because it felt that even though Jack fully understood why Gwen was giving him up, it felt like their relationship might be irretrievably smashed. Worried that something horrible was about to happen to Jack... actually much like what happened to him in that basement in 1928.

This episode felt like Torchwood of old, more than any so far. Valiant Jack on a mission to save the human race from brainworm aliens about to cause an alternate World War II, and having lots of sex along the way. (Some of which was explicit. That first time in bed with Angelo – was that the scene the BBC decided to cut?) What Jack said to Angelo in the end was fascinating, that Jack's lovers always end up killing him. I doubt that Jack meant it literally. Ianto certainly didn't. Ianto died because he believed in Jack.

But I saw, as we were meant to see, the similarities between Gwen and Angelo. The scene in the car where Gwen went into meltdown was the strongest in the episode. Gwen admitted that she loved the danger and excitement of Torchwood, and that even the deaths of her workmates hadn't ruined it for her. And this episode confirmed what I've always guessed – that even now, Jack loves life too much to outright sacrifice himself for Gwen's family. Gwen and Jack have always had something of an unconsummated love affair, and she was about to kill him, too.

Jack strides through life with such joie de vivre, enjoying its beauties, like the wedding he and Angelo saw, and accepting the worst, like what happened in the basement at the butcher's. The Christ symbolism was all over the place. Jack being beaten and killed repeatedly in the basement and resurrecting, the reference to the blood of Christ, Angelo washing Jack's feet. Jack is now the only mortal man, and he's about to die for... well, maybe his own sins. Will Jack actually go with Nana Visitor, anyway?

From the beginning when he was caught stealing Jack's forged visa, Angelo felt like a plant, although Angelo himself might not have known it. That mark in his eye had to mean something, especially since the camera angles kept making sure we saw it. I can't even guess what happened to Angelo after Jack left, but it has to involve the Revolving Triangle, the three men who referred to Jack as "it" and wanted to buy him from the butcher. They looked human. (Well, except for that ascot.) I bet they're not. They were probably behind the brainworm in the box. Did the Triangle keep Angelo for the last ninety years because of Jack?

And now these three "men" have caused Miracle Day? Why, why, why? The constant tease about what's really happening is starting to get obnoxious. But with three episodes to go, we'll know soon.

Bits and pieces:

-- The dual rescues were great. Rex and Esther saved Jack and Gwen, and Andy led the rescue of Gwen's family.

-- Sergeant Andy had to kill a bad guy (or, correction, create a category one) during the rescue. He'd never done it before. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I'm so glad that Andy has been part of both Children of Earth and Miracle Day. Always liked him.

-- No Danes again. Didn't miss him. No Jilly. Big casting woo hoo for Nana Visitor, though, who always makes everything better.

-- Angelo said he was from a tiny town on the Amalfi coast that was practically teetering over a cliff.

-- The most wonderful thing Jack ever saw was a tiny firebird that only lived for a minute but died in spectacular beauty. Considering what Jack is, very interesting that that is what he chose to tell Gwen in their last moments.

-- I always kept track of Jack's deaths in the previous seasons of Torchwood. So... Jack died numerous times during this episode, in flashback.


Angelo: "You like that, don't you?"
Jack: "I like a lot of things."

Jack: "... It's been about seven hundred years since my last confession. Where do I start? How about the triplets? Or the naked circus? Or that Sapphic leapfrog jamboree?"

Angelo: "It's not very good."
Jack: "It's the blood of Christ, Angelo. I'm sure it's good enough."

Jack: "You're Welsh. You wouldn't notice if the vowels were missing."

Gwen: "I feel like I know you better than I ever have."
Jack: "Right at the end."
Gwen: "Right at the end."

Jack: "Here's one of the secrets. Run!"
Jack mentioned the Doctor by name. He doesn't do that often in Torchwood.

Angelo: "I saw the blood. I saw your body!"
Jack: "Wanna see it again?"

Jack: "It always ends the same way. You kill me."

Three out of four firebirds,

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


  1. I an Italian, so I could follow all dialogue - and apart from the very bad accents of all actors except Angelo (the landlady's English was actually much more fluent than her Italian), one sentence stroke me:
    The old lady that collected Jack's blood said "Il sangue dei risorgenti farà un miracolo" - "risorgenti" in fact is not proper Italian, but the sentence would means "the blood of the resurrecting one(s) will make a miracle"... Miracle Day?

    (now if Jack cannot die because he's a fixed point in time it's not clear to me how his blood can have any special properties, but still...)


  2. I liked this one because it made me laugh. "It's the blood of Christ, Angelo. I'm sure it's good enough," still has me laughing a few days later.

    It was very good of you, Billie, to go for the important thing and rate this out of firebirds. I wouldn't have been able to avoid the temptation of three out of four naked circuses.

  3. Easily the best episode of the season and the first to live up to Children of Earth.

  4. A tiny detail is that at one point Angelo referred to Jack's immortality as a blessing. The Blessing, perhaps?

  5. I actually quite liked this one and its the first episode I can say that about during this new version of Torchwood. Despite the fact there are still inconsistencies and things that dont make sense to me (read: possibly plot holes), I thought it was nicely scripted and finally felt like Torchwood. I also enjoyed how it gave characters and story time to breathe, considering its presumable importance for the story.

    Gwens fury towards Jack came a bit out of nowhere though. Of course she will save her baby at any cost but why that rage, especially considering she knew she was driving him to his possible death. Because she thinks its all his fault? Because shes actually furious at herself?

    Anyway, liked it.

  6. I realised after watching this is that all this Season is lacking is an immortal Jack. We all wish for the old Jack don't we?

    And Jack is not very omnisexual anymore. How come is it that out of all the people and aliens that he has shagged, it is always the men that turn out to be important later?

    Still, it felt like the Torchwood of old. And the moments between Jack and Angelo were beautiful. First time a gay comedy has me moved. (Nothing against homosexuals, nut I can't empathize can I?)

  7. Ellen, I think Gwen was angry at herself as well as Jack. Her love for Torchwood was the reason her baby was in danger.

  8. I guess that does make sense. They have been more distant anyway this season which is probably an outcome of what happened in CoE and Jack leaving afterwards, plus the fact Gwens priorities have shifted after having a baby. Still, I was surprised at the intensity of that anger. The way they vividly told each other how they would rather have the other one killed than giving up what each is trying to save... (and I hope I just said what I meant to say - if not though, I have the wonderful excuse of not being a native English speaker). I didnt expect that. And while I am glad it was made clear where everyones loyalties are (I feared they would start that whole Jack/Gwen thing all over again), this did surprise me. I just wonder how the writers will deal with that from now - or rather hope they will deal with it at all in some way and not just let them go back to normal. With what has been said, there must be an outcome to their relationship and the way they are with each other.

  9. Sorry I meant Romance there instead of comedy.

  10. My likes: 1. Feel like Torchwood again 2. Finally getting to the answers 3. Love the conversation between Jack and Gwen in the car, raw and honest 4. Rex and Esther being helpful and effective 5. An episode focus on Jack!!!

    My dislikes: 1. Do not care much for Angelo 2. Do not feel the romance between Jack and Angelo. Lust yes, love not so much.

  11. Loved the '...all teeth, and... wet.

    Couldn't fall for Angelo, though - still mourning Ianto. Besides Ianto would NEVER have stood there and let them kill Jack again and again (that scene was great, though.)I do love the opportunities Jack gets to rail against the attitudes towards gay love.

    BUT this episode was an epic FAIL because.... the wrist strap shouldn't have worked!!! By the time Jack started working for Torchwood, the wrist strap was FUBAR. That REALLY bugged me.

  12. @Grace Alexander

    Thing is, this wasnt Jack in his linear timeline, the one that started with him going back to the 19th century after Rose made him immortal. I had already guessed that it was Jack from a future time while watching the episode because he told Angelo he was a fixed point (which he didnt know yet in 1928) and also (!!) the clothes - he was wearing the exact same outfit he used to wear in his present Torchwood days.

    Jane Espenson confirmed on Twitter that the 1927/1928 events happened in a new timeline when Jack travelled back in time at some point after Season 1 and before Children of Earth (and through something else than his VM). Thats what she thinks at least, she doesnt really seem to know for sure. I want to add 'even though she wrote it' but I wont... oops, looks like I just did. Also, she doesnt know what Russells position on this is, apparently they didnt talk about it.

    Basically, that means the Jack/Angelo thing happened when Jack was with Ianto already.

    I must admit that upsets me quite a bit. They not only mess with Jacks story with our beloved Ianto, it also looks like they did it without even really thinking about if and how that new storyline fits in with what happened before. I did like the episode but that leaves a quite unpleasant aftertaste.

    (Sorry for the long post, I guess Im not over it yet.)

  13. If your premise is true, that means I am even MORE pissed off.....

  14. I guess we might never know for sure (since not even the writers do, apparently) but what Ive read on Twitter sounds very VERY much like it. And yes, I know how you feel.

    Now all of a sudden the possibility of an epic plot hole with Jacks working wrist strap, knowing hes a fixed point and all sounds pretty good, doesnt it?

  15. "lots of sex along the way. (Some of which was explicit. That first time in bed with Angelo -- was that the scene the BBC decided to cut?) "

    I've just watched it in the UK, and if anything was cut it must have been DAMN steamy in the US, I wonder why they left explicit sex in this episode but not the episode a few weeks ago, maybe because of the homophobia accusations aimed at the BBC.

    Quite enjoyed this episode, it seemed to fly by and had a great cliffhanger, one of the best this season, not missing Oswald Danes at all!

  16. @ Stephen,

    That's hysterically funny to me that the BBC would be considered more homophobic than a US production studio. The UK and Europe is usually much more relaxed about this stuff than America is.

    @ Ellen,

    I know I've read a lot of statements from Barrowman and others that they were surprised when the world fell in love with Ianto and wanted him and Jack together - they expected Gwen to be the crowd favorite to end up with Jack. I hated Gwen from day one, but adored Rhys, poor bloke.

    I'm still pissed we never got to see any of this steam between Jack and Ianto.

    Bloody beans.

  17. @Grace

    I agree! And Ive heard that too. And now here we are, still having to put up with Gwen and no Ianto. Although to be fair, I never had a problem with Gwen before - I just really, really dont like her in Miracle Day.

    Oh dear, talking about Ianto makes me realize just how much I miss that character.

  18. Ellen and Grace, interesting exchange. I hadn't thought about the *when* of Jack.

    You know, I really love Jack. And I think he truly loved Ianto. But I honestly can't see Jack being faithful to anyone. Jack is Jack.

    I've always wanted to see Gwen and Jack together, but after everything that's happened and marrying Rhys and having the baby, I don't think we're ever gonna get it.

  19. Oh Billie, please dont say that! I already feel in serious need of a serious lot of icecream after that Ianto-talk, even without the thought of Jack playing elsewhere...

    I guess you are right though. Its just, they are trying to sell this thing with Angelo as a love story, not just casual sex. And while I agree that Jack might go play somewhere else when he is with someone (although I still prefer to think he didnt when he was with Ianto), I dont think he falls in love easily. So the thought of him falling in love twice within such a short time just doesnt feel right to me at all. And it would in fact devalue his relationship with Ianto. Therefore I have decided to ignore what happened that last episode or put it in an alternate dimension or something.

    My God, Im such a fangirl. Must be that very late time of night!

  20. @Ellen-

    Exactly. I always felt that Jack came from a time and place that was decidedly Heinleinesque when it came to sex, but that the thing with Ianto was different for him, he really fell in love with Ianto. Of course, didn't stop him from snogging the 'real' Captain Jack, but that was half remorse, I think, and it's been posited in more than one palce that perhaps the real Jack Harkenss' men bailed on their leader and left him unprotected becasue of what they saw on the dance floor.

    Such a fangirl - oh dear. Shoe fits over here. I'm a total fanfic addict; shame there is so little really good stuff mixed in with the dreck. I did find oneutter gem the other day that convinced a hithertoo completely unconvincable me that Ianto and Jack were doing quite a bit more than snogging even before Lisa was dead - it was admirably done.

  21. Gwen and Jack in the car - superb acting from Eve Myles. And I don't consider myself to be a prude, but that was one steamy sex scene with Jack and Angelo.

    It's funny to me that in all previous seasons Jack has been bi-sexual or at least equal opportunity. In Miracle Day, it seems that he is being written (and portrayed, heavy flirting with Gwen aside) as solely gay. I wonder if that is going to be explained before the end of the series.

  22. Mmmm. Definitely Jack was involved with women in the past, you catch glimpses of it, but he seems to be drawn to men more even in the previous seasons. Did we ever actually see him being romantic with a woman other than his elderly flame? And his daughter's mother was barely touched on. He was obviously falling in love with Ianto, and had had something serious with Hart (although Hart was definitely the lovestruck one in that pair up), and then there was the flirtation with the real Harkness. Jack may be omni, but he definitely has a preference for men, IMHO.


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