With the central idea of Miracle Day having been established in the first episode Torchwood is now able to concentrate on showing how people are reacting. Compared to last week ‘Rendition’ by Doris Egan is a vast improvement.
With the Torchwood team being flown to America against their will with Rex on board much of the program is concerned with the new characters. Esther uncovers a conspiracy within the CIA and has to go on the run, Dr Vera Juarez takes an active role in the medical reforms demanded by no one dying and Oswald’s appearance on television opens up new possibilities for him.
We were also introduced to a new character, Jilly Kitzinger, who looks to be trying to trying to influence several of the characters in this story. When she meets Oswald she claims she is a PR agent and upon encountering Dr Juarez she claims she represents a drugs company. Whoever she really works for her red clothing surley indicates there is something demonic about her.
Played by Lauren Ambrose, probably most well known for her role in ‘Six Feet Under’, she did a great job of portraying this intriguing character. Her mannerisms and quirks were a nice contrast to the flatter performances of some of the other actors.
While last episode reminded me of ‘Flash Forward’ this reminded me more of ‘24’. Esther’s escape had a nice claustrophobic feel to it. In order to escape the corridors and the surveillance cameras she had to act quickly but still behave normally in order to avoid tipping off her colleagues.
Director Billy Gierhart did a great job of increasing the tension by having shots linger, especially in the car park scene where we waited to see if Esther’s security pass would set off any alarms and prevent her escape.
‘24’ would also have episodes where characters would be in transit, serving to minimalize their presence in the show and establish the time scale on which events were happening. It was interesting that the title characters were the ones who were side lined.
This was more than made up with by the poisoning scene and the subsequent treasure hunt on the plane to find ingredients suggested by Dr Juarez and her team of experts in the style of ‘Apollo 13’.
The doctor convention was an example of good writing. Dr Juarez’s path to the meeting felt natural, provided the viewer with the specifics of how the Miracle Day was working and then proved important to the other plot thread through Dr Juarez’s connection to Rex.
The information that we did get does go some way to answering my questions. It was interesting that people are still continuing to age even if they’re not dying and that skin cells are still being shed.
We didn’t get a clear answer on whether people will heal from their ‘fatal’ wounds but the fact that Rex seemed to be in much better shape this episode would seem to indicate they will. It will be interesting to see if this will be addressed later.
What these scenes did, which is important to the series as a whole, is show how things have to change now. I liked the dawning realisation that a doctor’s message asking for more antibiotics weren’t a request but advice on how they needed to change procedure.
At the end of the episode we had a short burst of action as agent Lyn Peterfield (Arelene Tur) and her fellow conspirators attempted to assassinate Rex and the Torchwood members.
Although taking it’s influence from ‘Death Becomes Her’ I did like the reveal of Lyn after having her neck broken by Rex, her head on backwards. I hope we see more of the character as Arelene Tur is an excellent actress based on her work on ‘Dollhouse’.
With the main characters now in America things should become more focused, especially as Rex’s plan to interrogate them must surely have gone out the window now. They’re all on the run now, pursued by an agency that has its hooks in the CIA.
Not everything was great in this episode. Oswald’s television appearance felt exploitive, especially when the photo of the 12 year old girl he raped and murdered is shown. It stretches credibility that people would feel sympathy for him. I’m hoping that this is indication that people’s emotions are being affected.
I did think this was another area where limits in the budget showed. I’m sure that there would be crowds of people outside the television station protesting, hordes of police officers straining to keep them back. Instead we only got a reference to how many people didn’t like him.
Oswald is a character who has yet to really make his mark. Yes, he is repulsive character but what purpose will he serve to the story? Will he find redemption? Is he manipulating those around him? What are his true motives?
It doesn’t help that I find Bill Pullman’s choice to speak in a hoarse whisper grating.
Early in the episode the sheer irrelevance of the Torchwood as even Rex confirms that he doesn’t expect them to have any useful information. They are only important because someone is trying to kill them.
Still, this episode showed a lot of progress and I’m interested in seeing how events develop.