TV Review: TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY – “The Blood Line”

It’s fascinating to look back at the first episode of Miracle Day and realize how much potential there was. It’s depressing to look at the last episode and realize exactly where we ended up.

Chris Swanson


[rating: 2]

A steaming pile of “meh”.

It’s fascinating to look back at the first episode of Miracle Day and realize how much potential there was. It’s depressing to look at the last episode and realize exactly where we ended up.

Our story concludes with Jack (John Barrowman), Gwen (Eve Myles), and Danes (Bill Pullman), in Shanghai following a trail from Jack’s blood, which seems to be homing in on the Blessing. Meantime, Rex (Mekhi Phifer), and Esther (Alexis Havins), are in Buenos Ares, trying to track down the other side of the Blessing. And back in Wales, Rhys (Kai Owen), is trying to track down Gwen’s dad before he’s burned.

Let’s start with Rhys. He’s able to get into the camp where Gwen’s dad is located pretty easily. He has some last words for the old man (who is still unconscious), and engages in some phone time with Gwen. The scenes of her dealing with the fact that the best-case scenario involves her dad dying are some of the best of this show.

In Argentina, Rex and Esther are all ready to launch an assault on the building where the Blessing is located. The Families, of course, have their mole in the CIA and she knows someone who is apparently willing to die and kill a lot of other people in order to prevent Rex and Esther from reaching the Blessing. When that plan doesn’t go exactly as she’d hoped, our two CIA friends are able to get into the building.

And in China, Jack and company have a merry time prancing through the building where that end of the Blessing is, cheerfully snapping many necks along the way until Danes points out that isn’t exactly a moral way to do things. Yes, he was the moral compass for a scene. Our crew puts their heads together and end up going down the Blessing with Danes wearing a suicide vest, and boy, is he happy to see Jilly (Lauren Ambrose), is there for the fun.

Once everyone is in place at both sides of the Blessing, they… talk. A lot. Extensively. They threaten, they exposit, they bluff, and I snore. No one’s actions make any real sense (for example, is it just me, or couldn’t they guy in Argentina have had his guards just grab hold of Rex and keep him from doing anything?), the explanation for what the Blessing is, is very unclear, and the Families motivations for what they are doing make no sense. Apparently they’re trying to take over the world, or something, but I didn’t get exactly why.

Not to mention the fact that the eventual resolution to the problem is, on the China end, predictable, and on the Argentina end stretches credibility to the breaking point (really? Deus ex sanguina? Really?). Then there’s the fact that something happens to Rex, we see him recover from it, and then something similar happens later, we see him recover from that and it’s treated like a great revelation.

As if that wasn’t enough, we have Danes and Kitzinger. Ah, yes. Two characters who both had a great deal of potential, especially Danes. But neither was used well, and both could have been edited out of the entire series without changing the plot at all. Plus Danes’ final scene really annoyed me. Murders and child molesters, contrary to popular belief, don’t generally revel in their crimes. In the final scenes Danes became about as one-dimensional as any villain I’ve seen on screen.

Then as icing on the cake, we have the finale where we learn that nothing’s really changed, there aren’t any real consequences for the Familes, almost everyone on the good guy side is worse off than they were at the start, and that magically the Earth, which had apparently been on the brink of absolute chaos, is suddenly back to normal again.

I don’t know. There’s so many places where it seems like this series could have really been better. First off, it should have been, at most, eight episodes, not ten. Second, they shouldn’t have offed Doctor Juarez, since she was one of the few really interesting characters. Esther’s character was really poorly written and probably should have been left on the cutting room floor, as should Danes and Kitzinger.

I think fundamentally the problem with the show is that it lacked focus, and that really becomes visible at the end. It’s almost like they started filming the first episode without knowing how the last was going to end. I hope that wasn’t the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

Now all of the complaints aside, I didn’t hate this series. I think it was about as good as series one and two of Torchwood, which is to say fairly mediocre. But after Children of Earth I’d come to expect so very much more, and I’m really disappointed we didn’t get it.

If they do another series it will, hopefully, be a return to what has made the show great. But I’m not holding my breath.