Well, I didn’t think they could do it, but they did… It the last moments of Miracle Day, the series brought all the strands together in a glorious whole, revealing that there was a plan all along. From Oswald Danes, to Dr. Juarez, to even the frequent jaunts back and forth from Wales to the US, every single plot thread made sense, and proved that there was a reason for this series to exist.
At least, I wish I could say that. No, in fact Torchwood: Miracle Day – which started so intriguingly in its first three episodes – ended with a fizzle, not with a bang, in one of the more amateurish episodes of television I’ve watched on a major network in a long time.
The show starts off with a monologue from Gwen Cooper, essentially telling us that if Torchwood manages to shut down The Great Vagina In The Center Of The Earth (aka, The Blessing), she’ll return the world to normal, and also, kill her own father. It certainly sets up the stakes for the show, and presents an unenviable choice: by killing death, the Torchwood gang will also sign the death warrant of millions of people kept alive by The Miracle… And in fact, eventually be responsible for the deaths of the entire human race.
If only the rest of the show had paid off those kind of stakes, we would have been okay, but for the most part, this episode functions like every other one: Torchwood stumbles into something, someone tells them every piece of info they would want to know, and then stands idly by while they wreck their evil plans. In this case, that means two teams:
In Brazil, Esther and Rex team up with the military to invade big bad guys The Three Families’ facility. However, the transport truck full of soldiers, presumably Rex and Esther, and a suitcase of Captain Jack’s blood gets blown up. And then the evil lady working for the Families at the CIA blows the CIA up. So Esther and Rex head to the facility themselves, and get promptly captured.
In Shanghai, Gwen, Jack, and Oswald head to their side of The Blessing, and also get captured… Except they’ve rigged Oswald up as a human bomb! Oh no, that means he could explode, and molest them all with his gristle! Gross on many levels!
What follows is quite possibly the stupidest sequence in the history of the show. As the bad guys stand by doing literally nothing, Jack bleeds himself to death into The Blessing*, while Rex reveals that he filled himself up with Jack’s blood (the blood blown up in the truck was his own blood or something), and he also bleeds into the hole. Then everything starts to collapse, as around the world, dead people start dying.
Oh, also, Esther got shot.
Captain Jack comes back to life, Rex is rescued by the Last Second Soldiers of Brazil, and Gwen Cooper and Lauren Ambrose (who was also there for some reason) proceed to have the most terribly staged fight involving an elevator ever.
And that’s pretty much it! Esther dies, so they have a big old funeral for her… Her sister is out of the mental hospital, and back in possession of her two kids, which sounds great. Rex realizes that the evil lady from the CIA is evil and shoots her, but not before he gets shot… And turns out to be immortal, too! Also, Lauren Ambrose finds out that turning everyone on Earth into immortals wasn’t The Three Families only plan… They also have Plan B! You know, the abortion drug.
Seriously though, folks, this was a mess, and I haven’t even mentioned Oswald Danes “heroic” death, screaming about how he’s going to chase little girls in Hell. This show had a ton of promise, and seemed to be thinking intelligently about the rather interesting idea at first. But whether it was budget restrictions, a lack of gas towards the latter half, or no firm plan for where they were going, this ended on an extreme down note.
And that’s too bad. Look, the first two series of Torchwood were pretty bad, with a few bright spots, but it got mildly better as it went. The third series is all kinds of brilliant, though it too ran out of gas a bit by the end. This… Was not good. There was a chance to do something fantastic here, and it felt like it was squandered. Sure, it’s armchair writing, but there were so many missed opportunities, and last second plot additions, it felt like they were scrambling to make it all work.
If I tried to tell you the story of Torchwood: Miracle Day… I probably couldn’t. I mean, I could, but the simple version would encompass about an episodes worth of story, and this was ten episodes long. Hopefully this isn’t the last of Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper… But also, hopefully, they only come back when there’s a really good, firm idea for an entire series. Until then, I think we’ll be taking a bunch of Ret-Con to forget this whole mistake.
*See, the Families used his blood to tell The Blessing to change the morphogenic field of the Earth so that everyone is immortal, while he became mortal. If he sends all his blood into the Blessing, it will reset it. This is so tossed off and inconsequential and full of plot holes – despite being the whole point of this series – I’m putting it in a footnote.