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Torchwood Miracle Day: The Middle Men

Owens: "You think I'm the epitome of evil. The devil in a three piece suit."
Jack: "In my experience, that's how it works."

Some fans have been saying that ten episodes may be too long for a story like this. But if Miracle Day were shorter, we might not have gotten this one. And I liked what they were saying here about the complexity of life and death issues, and the mediocrity of evil.

It's the middle men that enable evil and allow it to exist. They're not often evil themselves. Without Miracle Day, Maloney and Owens would most likely have never done anything worse than cheating on their wives, or maybe at badminton. Maloney was shocked and upset by the video of Vera's death, even though he himself had killed her, and I thought for a moment that Rex had actually reached him. Stewart Owens knew that something awful was going on and he was curious, but after all, it was making his company a ton of money.

Owens (played by Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson) was so smooth, calm and remarkably composed that it was hard to believe him, although his opening scenes suggested he was being truthful with Jack. Owens didn't know what PhiCorp was doing in Shanghai, and sent his associate Zheng there to see. And Zheng jumped to his "death." The only thing I can think of that's worse than ovens is human vivisection on victims that can't die. Please tell me I'm wrong. Is that "The Blessing"?

We would all hope that everyone in the world would be shocked and appalled by the death of Vera Juarez and the category ones, and that action would immediately be taken to stop it. But no. The world governments weren't even apologizing or denying when Rex's video hit the internet. People take orders and do what they're told, and pretend that horrible things aren't happening. Always have a fresh shirt, Ralph.

One thing about a miniseries is that we know the cast is expendable. I've been constantly worried that Gwen might be killed. Since Rex is stuck between categories and Vera repaired the damage to his heart, we haven't known whether or not Rex will survive when Miracle Day ends. But Maloney stuck a pen right into Rex's heart, not once but twice, and that got to me. I like Rex now, and I don't want him to die. Ditto Esther. Alexa Havins impressed me again during Esther's courageous Rex rescue, that visceral fight scene with Maloney, and her emotional meltdown afterward.

The contact lenses have been Torchwood's coolest alien artifact for awhile, introduced back in season two and an integral part of the plot of Children of Earth. And now, the alien evil whatever have hacked into the lenses. They have Gwen's family, and they want Jack. I guess they've given up on sending assassins.

Bits and pieces:

-- No Oswald Danes, no Jilly. Didn't miss Danes at all. Not so sure about Jilly.

-- The "45 Club" has reinvented suicide. Apparently, if you jump from the 45th floor, like Zheng, you never regain consciousness.

-- Rex is now identifying himself as part of Torchwood instead of the CIA.

-- Esther may have been just an analyst, but she handled herself undercover quite well.

-- I liked the shot of Rex staring at Vera's name on that bottle of pills. He's carrying her with him. Probably this episode's second Most Obvious Symbolism. (The first would be Maloney's clean shirt.)

-- I knew Maloney's grunt Ralph was being set up to turn against him, and sure enough. Pretty obvious storytelling.

-- The doctor that Gwen confronted knew what was going on and refused to do anything about it, but a janitor helped Gwen rescue her father. A little jab there about class. Again, somewhat obvious storytelling.

-- Why didn't the aliens mention Gwen's father? They said they had her mother, her husband and her child, but not her father.

-- The host at the restaurant hit on Jack by mentioning the coat, just like the bartender did a few episodes ago. Why didn't Jack hit on, or even flirt with, the utterly gorgeous Janet Rae? Jack is supposed to be omnisexual, not gay; he used to flirt with women, too. Could we have a little omnisexual again, please?

-- Gwen: "We let our governments build concentration camps. They built ovens for people in our names. Now I don't care if the whole of society bends over and takes this like a dog. I'm saying no." Jack: "That's my girl."

There was some disagreement on my rating of the last episode, so I'll let you guys rate it. How many clean shirts out of four?

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


  1. Why didn't Jack hit on, or even flirt with, the utterly gorgeous Janet Rae?

    I think a much more vexing question is: Why didn't Janet Rae flirt with the utterly gorgeous Captain Jack?

    And for one more question: what, exactly, did Gwen blow up? The modules? Were they full of people? Surely that can't be right.

  2. Janet Rae may have been so upset about Owens that it affected her eyesight. :)

    In the Wales scenes, there was a lot of discussion about getting the category ones to the modules at six, which is why they needed to get Dad Cooper out at five. I thought Gwen blew up the modules before they would be used again at six. But I only watched the episode once. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  3. I loved Gwen in this episode. When she is in action mode, she always means business.
    I still don't have a clue why all this not-dying is happening. If you burn people who can't die into ashes, what do you get? Some kind of weird "eternal" life powder??
    Or are all the dying people just a big giant food-supply of some kind? (Ewh!)
    And what is Jack's role in all this? Perhaps there is another "Jack" (James Marsters comes to mind) behind it all? It's time we get at least some answers IMO.
    Perhaps "the blue eyed man" (Teddy Sears) who were in the last episode, might turn out to be an important character. It was a bit strange how he gave compliments to Jilly about her excellent work.

    Solid episode, but I want answers...

  4. I've also been disappointed with the lack of diversity when it comes to Jack's flirting this season. One of the best things about his character has been his eagerness to flirt with anyone and anything, be it men and women, humans and aliens or cats and dogs (or was that just John Hart?).

  5. I watched the ep. Oh My Gods. So much going on.

    But Gwen...DAaaahhhaaammmmnnn. Love me a hot girl on a motorcycle with an affinity for explosives.  Also, loved Jack's expression when she did.

    Interesting to know who else knows about the lenses and why they want Jack. And they're holding her husband, her mother and her daughter...but they didn't say if they were holding her father...so where is he?

    Really liked Alexa Havens in this one. A bit of badassness showing through in Esther now.

    Rex is starting to annoy me less.

    Creepy director guy was creepy. Loved that Ralph (Frederick Koehler) stepped up and put a stop to the madness and shooting the director. And it finally hit me where I remember him from - Chip on "Kate & Allie".

    Still waiting to see if Stewart Owens is actually trying to help Jack/Torchwood or just getting what information he can out of Jack and report back to Phi-Corp.

  6. I honestly didn't notice the Danes storyline was gone this episode. I like Jilly and I hope she ends up on the right side of this thing, but that is about all I want to see come out of that storyline. I enjoyed this episode but it wasn't fantastic. 3 shirts.

  7. My only explanation for their not mentioning her father is that they're bluffing and therefore don't know that Rhys rescued her father from the overflow camp. After all, she's just taking their word - they didn't show her pictures, or even make her hear their voices. But it might just be sloppy writing, or maybe whoever has the rest of the Coopers put Gwen's dad back into the camp.

  8. I just want to make this prediction in unfailable HTML before the finale episodes are shown - I suspect this series will end with the miracle ending and all those who are in a condition where they should be dead, will die. A really action packed finale followed by the bittersweet realization that Gwen's Father, Rex etc will now pass on. I can't see it ending any other way.

  9. " But Maloney stuck a knife right into Rex's heart, not once but twice, and that got to me."

    I just watched this ep, wasn't it actually a pen? It was something he had in his pocket, and since most (corporate) men carry a pen there I assumed it was that.

  10. Aly, you're right, it was a pen. I meant to correct that and I forgot. I'll fix it.

  11. Yay me ;)

    I was thoroughly cringing through that scene btw :P

    Oh, and I didn't miss Danes either, until you brought him up.


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