TV Review: TORCHWOOD MIRACLE DAY, 4.4 - "Escape to LA"

This was another good, solid episode, though in many ways it felt a bit weaker than the others and I’m not entirely sure why.

rating: 3.5

Esther Drummond (Alexis Havins), is obviously a nice woman, but not, it must be said, the brightest star in the Eastern sky. Last week when we saw Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer), try to rendezvous with his former CIA instructor, he was at least smart enough to do it at a distance and wait in the shadows to see what happens. Esther displays no such smarts when, early in this episode, she goes to visit her sister. She finds out that her sister has gone around the bend and is living in a boarded-up house, absorbing rumors about diseases running rampant through major cities. She has two small children in the house, and Esther is understandably worried about them, so she calls Child Protective Services to investigate, then drives off, unaware that she€™s picked up a tail (C Thomas Howell). Meantime, the Torchwood team packs up and relocates to Los Angeles. They rent a place near the beach and continue their investigation of Phi-Corp. This relocation also gives Rex a chance to visit his father who, it turns out, is a pill junkie. Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), also takes time to talk with Rhys (Kai Owen), and see her baby, so basically I guess the theme for this episode is family. Elsewhere Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), has a conversation with Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose), where she reveals she doesn€™t like him very much, and especially hates his hands because of what they did. Her behavior here seemed a bit out of character, but I suppose I can understand it. She also introduces a new subplot wherein we find out that a Tea Party type is calling for the €œdead€ to be rounded up and removed from society. And speaking of, we also check in with Dr Juarez (Arlene Tur), who is continuing to examine things from the medical angle. In this episode she€™s visiting an abandoned hospital that€™s going to be turned into a treatment facility for the would-be dead people. This quickly turns out to be something other than she€™d expected. And through it all we have Jack (John Barrowman), and company getting ready to stage a raid on Phi-Corp headquarters so they can steal a secure server. It lends a bit of a caper movie air to the episode and was fun€ well, up until the part where it wasn€™t. This was another good, solid episode, though in many ways it felt a bit weaker than the others. I€™m not entirely sure why. We did get more character development and we saw glimpses into the lives of Esther and Rex. It was also very nice to see Rex tear her a new one over her stupid behavior with visiting her sister, especially since he seemed to ignore his own hypocrisy. It€™s probable, though, that due to his own training he was able to make sure no one was watching his father€™s place before he went in. I must say, though, that I have something of a problem with the idea that Phi-Corp is using Danes as a spokesman. Yes, he€™s becoming somewhat notable, I suppose, but I would think they would be more willing to ditch him in favor of the Tea Party lady, who, whatever her faults may be, at least isn€™t a child-raping murderer. It€™s also worth noting that the violence was ratcheted up quite a bit in this story, with one person getting rather brutally shot several times and another experiencing a rather messy end. That last €œdeath€ seemed really gratuitous and rather pointless. Nevertheless, I do still like where the show is going and next week it looks like we might get some more information about what€™s going on. Something to look forward to! Torchwood: Miracle Day Part 4 Dead of Night has aired on the Starz Network in the U.S. and airs in the uk on BBC 1 HD this Thursday at 9:00pm.
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Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at wilybadger.wordpress.com