Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7

Originally written for TV Pixie

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen people still living with their heads partially detached and the surface area of the average branch of PC World after apparently surviving an explosion. We’ve seen a doctor burnt alive in a concentration camp oven. We’ve seen a Tea Party Republican still conscious (if you can ever really apply that word to a Tea Party Republican) and blinking in the crushed wreckage of her car.

Such horror, such unimaginable horror… and all because Jack dumped a slightly weasely Steve Buscemi lookalike with a poorly eye in 1928.

At least, that’s what seems to the case. This episode, as if accepting absolutely nothing at all is happening in the present (other than the fact that people are continuing to die and, with only three episodes to go, we still don’t know why that is), delves into the past to explore a bit of backstory.

But this is Torchwood, so by ‘backstory’, I of course mean ‘saucy man-romp scenes in a Manhattan boarding house’ as we’re introduced to Angelo: a closeted Italian bootlegger with a penchant for time travelling, toothy military types with gameshow host tans. Jack’s in town to investigate some historic alien shenanigans, Angelo’s trying to start a new life in the US because ‘the buildings are taller than the cliffs at home’.

As reasons go, it isn’t great. However, it’s a bit better than my reason for wanting to move to America: namely, my addiction to Taco Bell quesadillas with hot sauce and concomitant love of ultra-conservative, reactionary politics. And guns.

After weeks where nothing much has happened, this unprecedented jaunt into Jack and Angelo’s sepia-toned relationship makes for an interesting, engaging and touching story, but the minute the action cuts back to the 21st century again we get a jarring reminder that we’re not watching an mash up of Queer as Folk, a Woody Allen film and Gangs of New York after all. The contrast makes it feel we’re watching two different programmes entirely: unsurprising given the fact Miracle Day has been a strange hodgepodge of unresolved plot threads and muddled genres: from sci fi to horror to medical drama to gay historical fiction.

Also, the previously rational Angelo’s sudden leap from an accepting Doctor Who style ‘companion’ who’s happy to hang out with alien parasites into fearful village idiot who hands undying ‘diavolo’ Jack over to a suspicious, torturous mob of Italian immigrants seemed a bit unlikely. Although it did at least mirror the present day betrayal of Gwen, who in cut scenes is taking Jack to meet his death at the hands of the potential orchestrators of the Miracle in what must be the most tense and awkward car journey since the last time David Cameron and Nick Clegg had to share a cab.

It’s nice to see Gwen showing some real emotion for a change; however the potential drama inherent in the idea of Gwen handing over someone she loves in exchange for the safety of her family was instantly diffused by a Deux Ex Machina in the form of Rex and Esther. A Deux Rex Esther..a, if you will (sorry). At the end of the episode we’re told they’ve actually been trailing Gwen and Jack all along- apart from when they quickly popped into the Californian branch of Sniper Rifles R Us.

The minute Jack’s potential captors arrive, they’re shot at, disarmed and any potential tension dissolves like so much Alka Seltzer.

But there’s a twist. The strange woman who’s come to collect him insists that Jack will still want to come with her. Why? Because, of course, Angelo’s behind it. We should have realised that all along… and possibly would have, if he’d been introduced at any point before now. But to be fair, it’s not like Russell T Davies has had any time to do that: previous episodes have been so jam packed with… er…. um… never mind.

So it seems the newly arrived Angelo is the driving force behind PhiCorp and their ‘Miracle’. Poor, weasely Angelo, left behind by Jack all those years ago. Not due to the betrayal so much as the typical Doctor Who companion ‘problem’: namely Jack suddenly remembering that he’ll live forever whereas Angelo will die.

Thinking back to the earlier scene where the braying mob collects vials of Jack’s blood – perhaps Angelo has found a way to use that to even the score by making Jack mortal, albeit at the expense of everyone else? Although unless Angelo’s a significantly less attractive 111 year old, it seems he’s found a way to live longer too. Hmm. Seems we have a bit of a mystery on our hands.

One thing does seem to be fairly certain though: if Angelo is behind this it seems the human race really was doomed to unimaginable suffering because of one man’s boyfriend troubles. If so… tsk. Usually when people break up the only people to suffer are my neighbours who apparently doesn’t like drunken, tortured renditions of Bonnie Tyler hits at 1.30am. Philistines.

Let’s hope next week finally brings some long awaited answers. If not, Russell T Davies is going to get a very unpleasant email, with an .mpg attachment of an intoxicated 30 year old warbling Total Eclipse of the Heart after four bottles of Pinot Grigio. That’ll teach him.

——————————————-
Catch up on my other reviews here:

Episode OneReview
Episode TwoReview
Episode ThreeReview
Episode FourReview
Episode FiveReview
Episode SixReview

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

One Response to Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7

  1. Lucie says:

    Great summary as usual. I did wonder whether they were all going to get transported to Deep Space Nine by Kira – and it would all turn out to be a rip in the time/space continuum…………..

    Ah, shit – Have I just ruined it for you now?

    sorry x

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