After two episodes establishing the latest crisis to hit the Earth, the main characters of this season, and the series of circumstances and betrayals that bring the newest incarnation of Torchwood together, we finally see the new team in action…and they don’t disappoint.
This episode – the first written by sci-fi goddess, Jane Espenson – opens with the new fugitive Torchwood making the gutsy move of breaking Rex into the home of Friedkin, the CIA head who sold out him and Esther. Rex confronts Friedkin, who gives up his special cell phone to the mysterious organization giving him his marching order suspiciously fast. The new team gels really quickly and seamlessly to give Rex support in his confrontation and make a clean getaway before the cops arrive.
We begin to see the team dynamic building. Even though there is more than just a little tension between Rex and Jack and Gwen, they’ve learned to put it aside to focus on the bigger picture. We also learn, to this reviewer’s own personal great relief, that Rhys and Anwyn are in a safe house with Andy and out of harm’s way. How long that will be the case is anybody’s guess, however.
As has been the case since the opening of the first episode, “Torchwood” wastes no time in pushing the story and character development further along. Beginning their own investigation into the miracle, our team employs the help of Dr. Juarez to uncover a connection between the drug company Phicorp and the miracle itself. What that connection means is the next step to revealing the big bad of this season. Since Dr. Juarez is being wooed by Phicorp’s Jilly Kitzinger, Rex talks her into attending a meeting to get inside. It’s in that meeting that we learn about part of the greater plan: to introduce legislation that will make all drugs available without prescriptions. While I did roll my eyes a bit at the notion that this whole thing is just some push by drug companies to gain a bigger profit and control over the world, I still get the sense that there is something far more sinister at work here. To paraphrase the movie Clue: Capitalism is just a red herring. We also start to see how Oswald Danes will figure into this whole thing: as Phicorp’s new spokesman, assuming an almost messianic role to convince the world to start taking their drugs. He also has a superbly unnerving scene where he tells Jack about what he felt when he killed that girl, only solidifying my opinion that Bill Pullman plays creepy like a master. The big question for me now: Who is Jilly Kitzinger and what is her real role in all of this? I find it hard to believe that she is just a mere publicist.
Aside from the plot development, there is also very good character development. We see a new friendship developing between Gwen and Esther and a rivalry for leadership brewing between Jack and Rex. The most interesting development is Jack coping with being mortal again. He decides to deal with it by…well…being Jack. After a particularly bad moment between Rex and Jack, they both go off to take care of their own business. The most telling moment is when Jack, after a passionate and drunk evening, calls up Gwen to talk about how good they are and how they don’t need anybody. On Gwen’s end, Esther is able to establish an encrypted video chat with Rhys and Anwyn, and without saying a word, Gwen puts down the phone to tearfully talk to them while Jack continues to ramble. Whatever might have once been between Jack and Gwen is now long gone, and that’s as it should be. Gwen’s priorities are with her family.
Thus far, “Torchwood: Miracle Day” has been a welcome addition to the summer TV schedule. Its tight pacing, great writing and super acting have mad for a truly fantastic season. I just hope that they can keep up this trend for the remaining seven episodes. I feel confident that, with the writing staff they’ve gotten for this season, we are in for quite a treat as the story continues. I personally cannot wait for next week.