TV Review: TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY – ‘End of the Road’

Well, we finally seem to get some forward momentum in this episode, but is it a case of too little, too late?

Chris Swanson


[rating: 3]

Well, we finally seem to get some forward momentum in this episode, but is it a case of too little, too late?

We pick up where we left off with last week’s episode, “Immortal Sins,” as Jack (John Barrowman), Gwen (Eve Myles), and company arrive at Angelo’s house. There his granddaughter (Nana Visitor, one of two Trek alumni in this episode), show them the old man himself, who, while not exactly alive and kicking, is at least alive. She then explains that Angelo went on to have a good life, including a wife and kids, but never lost the dream of meeting up with Jack again. So he put himself onto a special diet and did all sorts of things to live longer (which, bizarrely, his granddaughter says isn’t something you can make a profit off of, despite the fact that people regularly make a profit off pushing things like a calorie-restricted diet as part of living longer).

Eventually the CIA turns up, led by Friedkin (Wayne Knight). He corrals everyone and then takes Rex (Mekhi Phifer), into a private room, unaware that Rex has the magic contact lenses on. He spills the beans about his involvement in Miracle Day just in time for the arrival of his boss, Shapiro, played with manic glee by John de Lancie, who really breathes a breath of fresh air into a story that had grown somewhat stale.

Shapiro has Friedkin arrested and put into an SUV with another agent and the granddaughter. This is somewhat inconvenient for them as Friedkin sets off a bomb “killing” him and the other two. Whoops. I guess that’s why in the real world you search people before you lock them up and walk away. Shortly after this Angelo dies. Yes, he actually, for real, dies.

Esther (Alexis Havins), actually gets something useful to do this episode. First she ties up the little subplot with her sister (something that didn’t actually need to get tied up, really), and then forces Jack to come forth with information about Angelo’s death and a special device they find hidden under his bed; a device of alien origin. It’s nice to see a return of alien tech to the series.

Meantime, speaking of returns, Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), and Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose), are back after a two episode absence. Danes is continuing is odd climb as a media figure, and, drunk with his own importance, tells Kitzinger to get him a prostitute. A legal one, he specifies. After a bit of going “ew”, she does this, and his encounter with the prostitute does not go according to plan. In the end, he’s on the run and Kitzinger finds out she’s up for a promotion.

I was pleased that this episode seemed to be finally moving the plot forward again. We got a few more answers (Angelo didn’t cause Miracle Day, and apparently the Families did), but we still have plenty of questions left. That part is good. I also really enjoyed de Lancie’s performance. Watching him take charge of things and argue with, then eventually deport, Gwen was wonderful fun, though he brought more than a little bit of Q to his performance, which was distracting at first.

But it does seem like a bit too little, too late. I liked finding out the information, but it was mostly me running off a mental checklist. It was good, but I didn’t really care, if you know what I mean. The series took so long to get to this point that now, with only two episodes left, I’ve kind of lost interest in it. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly plan to watch the rest of the show and I’m curious to see where it goes, but not nearly as much as I was four or five weeks ago.

Also this episode and the previous one seem like they were good candidates to be edited into a 65 minute single episode, rather than two 50 minute episodes. There was a lot in both that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Once again, I’m convinced that this story might have worked out better as an 8 episode series rather than 10. Hopefully Starz will keep that in mind if they wind up doing another series, and I hope they do. This series, flawed though it has been, is at least better than the first two series of Torchwood, and that’s no bad thing.