TV Review: TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY – “The Gathering”

You ever been out on a date with someone and they initially seem exciting and interesting, maybe a bit sexy and possibly even a little dangerous, but in a good way?

Chris Swanson


[rating: 2.5]

[insert witty Highlander reference HERE]

You ever been out on a date with someone and they initially seem exciting and interesting, maybe a bit sexy and possibly even a little dangerous, but in a good way? Then they start showing you photos of their twenty cats, and talking about all their exes, and by the end, all you really want is for the check to arrive so you can make your goodbyes and never call them again?

Welcome to episode nine of Torchwood: Miracle Day.

Our episode picks up exactly where last week’s left off and…oh, wait. No, in fact, it doesn’t. It actually picks up seven weeks after the previous episode. We’re told that in the meantime, a lot of implausible stuff has happened and the Miracle is continuing. Esther (Alexis Havins), and Jack (John Barrowman), are hiding out in Scotland, Gwen (Eve Myles), Rhys (Kai Owen), and Gwen’s mom are hiding out in Wales (along with her category one dad), and Rex (Mekhi Phifer), is fully integrated back in the CIA. Jilly (Lauren Ambrose), is being sent to Shanghai and Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), is missing.

So, all caught up?

As the story begins, Gwen is shown breaking into a pharmacy, because somehow drugs are in massively short supply (though one would assume that even if pharmaceutical companies aren’t able to make more, the government could. If nothing else, that would put people to work and help stop the global depression that’s somehow happening). She steals a bunch of drugs, then takes them home where, among other things, we learn she’s selling drugs and using what she doesn’t sell to keep her father pain-free. To her credit, at least she recognizes the irony of a former police officer doing what she’s doing.

Meantime, it turns out that she’s being watched by someone who is apparently after Jack, though he seems to maybe work for the police? I’m not sure entirely. I do know that at one point a government stooge shows up to search her home for her father. He’s quite gleeful at the notion of finding a category one, but fails to do so because dad is well(ish) hidden.

Oh, then Oswald Danes just sort of shows up at their house. He convinces Gwen and Rhys that he needs to see Jack. Jack is brought in and arrives just in time to enter into a conference call with Rex, who has managed to track down some information through an old pulp fiction story from 1938. He’s got some ideas that might enable our team to track down what’s really going on, find the Blessing and put an end to the Miracle, if he can only outsmart the CIA mole…

Let me say that I’m pleased the series is finally moving forward and that the storyline is no longer stagnant. I was also, as usual, pleased by the acting on everyone’s part. I also loved the visualization of something in China that looked really impressive and well done. It was alien, it was eerie and I really liked that.

On the other hand, everything else. The two month skip in story time is inexcusable. There’s no reason for it from a story point of view, it does nothing to further the plot and feels like something that was written because they couldn’t figure out how to resolve last week’s cliffhanger. Here’s a tip for all prospective writers: If you can’t figure out a way to resolve something in your plot and feel that you have to cheat in order to get around it, what you need to do is go back, remove that something from your plot and come up with something else.

I’m also really having a problem suspending disbelief with much of what we see on screen. China has closed its borders? Really? Why? The USA is about to? For what reason? Both are too dependent on trade and tourism. Gwen’s father is category one? Clearly not. The government says he is? What, are all the lawyers on holiday? And where’s this global depression coming from? The only depression I see that makes sense is my personal one over how this series has gone.

Next week is the final episode, and I’m rather pleased about that. This series hasn’t been bad by any means, but there’s so many ways in which it has been lacking and hasn’t lived up to the potential it showed in the first couple of episodes. I think it all started to go off the rails around the time they axed Doctor Juarez (who wins the award for Shortest Lifespan of Anyone Once They Join Torchwood), and the series hasn’t really found its way back. Hopefully it will redeem itself next week and go out with a bang!