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Torchwood: Miracle Day (‘The New World’ & ‘Rendition’ Recaps)

Torchwood is back, and this time, the much reduced team (Only Gwen and Jack are still around), find themselves being pulled into a new world-wide mystery as Miracle Day comes, and no one can die.

WARNING: Spoilers after the cut!

Torchwood: Miracle Day is the new series from STARZ and the BBC. Technically, this is series 4 of Torchwod. The first two series were pretty standard – 13 episodes with an overarcing storyline and an ensemble cast of characters including: Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato and Rhys Williams.

By series 3 (or season 3, as we say on this side of the pond), Owen and Tosh were gone, Jack and Ianto were an item, Gwen and Rhys were closer than ever, but bad stuff was happening. In the end, only Jack, Gwen and Rhys were left – Gwen was pregnant and Jack, tormented by what he’d done and by the death of Ianto, left earth. “Children of the Earth”, as series 3 was called, had only 5 episodes that aired consecutively for 5 days.

The series’ future was uncertain after series 3, until STARZ picked it up and Miracle Day was born.

Miracle Day opens with the execution of a child molester and murderer in a Kentucky prison. Only he doesn’t die. Next we see CIA agent Rex Matheson discussing Torchwood with Esther Drummond, a CIA analyst who is wondering why the word Torchwood was just emailed to everyone in the agency. Worse, like a piece of malware, all references to Torchwood are wiped from the CIA’s systems. Before she can say more, Rex is in an accident and a series of metal rods impale him in his car.

He survives. Everyone survives. No one dies on Miracle Day.

Meanwhile, Gwen and Rhys are hiding in a beach house far from civilization. They live in fear that they will be found, that the people hunting Torchwood, will find them, and kill them.

Back in KY, child molester Oswald Danes is released from prison on a technicality – in that he was executed, but survived. Esther can’t let Torchwood go. For whatevr reason, it’s stuck in her mind, so she charms her way into a hard copy storage facility, finding files on Jack and his crew – and Jack himself, who saves her from an assassin out to wipe out all records of Torchwood, including Jack. The assassin triggers a bomb, but not before Jack and Esther escape. After explaining who and what Torchwood is/was, Jack slips Esther the drug retcon, making her forget all about it.

Back in Cardiff, Gwen and Rhys rush to the hospital when her father has a heart attack. Here, they learn about Miracle Day, but choose to return home and not get involved. In the states, Jack poses as an FBI agent to attend the examination of the assassin from the CIA archive – who was blown up, but is still alive. Even after his head is removed from what is left of his body, he lives.

Rex and Esther realiz that Torchwood and Miracle Day happened at the same time. When the email arrived, people stopped dying. Rex checks himself out of the hospital and flies to the U.K. to find Gwen Cooper. His arrival at Gwen’s house is not welcome, nor is the black helicopter trying to blow all of them up. Jack appears in time to help them all escape, only to be arrested by Rex, who intends to drag both Gwen and Jack to America.

Jack realizes in the end, that the whole world is immortal – but not him. He is wounded and mortal.

“Rendition” begins with Rex hauling Jack and Gwen onto an international flight to America, leaving Rhys behind with the baby. On the flight, a CIA operative is ordered to kill Jack. She slips poison into his drink, and since he is the only mortal person left on the planet, it quickly starts to kill him. Gwen and Rex have to devise an anti-poison from available chemicals on the plane, all with the help of a team of doctors back in the states.

That team of doctors is studying the Miracle Day to see what caused it and what impact it is having. With no one dying and new babies being born every day, the earth is experiencing a massive population explosion. They also realize that sick people are acting as incubators for germs and infections that aren’t dying because the people aren’t dying. Humans are becoming incubators for super germs and viruses.

At the CIA, Esther offers her services to the Director of Clandestine Services in the hopes of being read in on the Torchwood files. She explains that she has been working closely with Rex, who is bringing Jack and Gwen in for questioning. Rather than except her into Clandestine Services, the Director sets her and Rex up – depositing large sums of money into their bank accounts, framing them, then sending people to arrest them. Esther escapes by using a stolen ID Badge.

Oswald Danes accepts an offer to go on national television to talk about Miracle Day, his execution and the crime he was convicted of. Portrayed as a monster, he breaks down on camera, eliciting sympathy from the television crew and the people watching the interview. He is approached by a publicist who wants to help him capitalize on his newfound sympathetic persona, but he refuses.

Rex and Gwen manage to save Jack from the poison, but when they land, they are met by the CIA. Esther calls and warns Rex, so he helps Gwen and Jack escape.

Despite the heady nature of the plot, Miracle Day feels lighter than Children of the Earth. With that series, the tone was very dark – it had to be. Miracle Day has some fun so far, which is great – it helps given the kinds of things going on: child molesters getting out of prison after he’s executed, people being blown up yet still alive, the idea that with no one dying, and people still having babies – the world will run out of food in a matter of months, or that antibiotic-resistant super-germs could become rampant even sooner.

Jack is as enigmatic as ever, not really explaining to Gwen where he’s been or what happened when he left (for a brief detail, see David Tennant’s last episode of Doctor Who). Gwen is Gwen, happy to see Jack, torn between her love for him, and her love for Rhys and their child. Rhys was awesome, per usual.

Newcomers Rex and Esther are interesting characters so far. The conspiracy at the CIA is interesting as well. I know why Jack would want to erase anything related to Torchwood, but why would the CIA?

So far, I am really enjoying Miracle Day. New episodes are on STARZ every Friday night.

About Patrick Hester (527 Articles)
Patrick Hester is a writer, blogger, podcasting dude, Denver transplant and all around Functional Nerd. Don't hate him cuz he has a cool hat.

2 Comments on Torchwood: Miracle Day (‘The New World’ & ‘Rendition’ Recaps)

  1. I’ve been enjoying Miracle Day as well, to my surprise.  I loathed Children of Earth, not because of it’s subject matter, but because the writing demanded people act irrational and stupid to advance the plot.  Miracle Day, on the other hand, has the plot being advanced by people being smart.

    This is especially evident in ‘Rendition’ which, to Davies credit, he hired a writer from House to pen.  Damnit, it showed.  People got out of their predicaments, not by being lucky or with superpowers or super-gadgets, but by being intelligent and resourceful.

    Although, seriously Patrick, I wish that people would stop repeating the whole ‘they are all going to run out of food in months’ line.  The math says that population growth would add an additional  0.7% more per year with no mortality.  That still puts us at less than the wordwide growth rate during the latter part of the baby boom (It’s been going down ever since.)  There are far more horrifying things to consider (like how fully developed a human being has to be for the ‘morphic field’ affect them – think about it.) 

  2. Galileo // July 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm //

    Jack takes a break from saving the world to have explicit sex with a man he picked up at a gay bar.  WTF?  As far as homosexual propaganda this is as subtle as a train wreck.   

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