Overall, while this was an informative episode, it didn’t really lend too much to the greater story. There was little to no progress, and to have to stop and have an episode-long flashback this late in the game really disrupts the pace. Rex and Esther had so little to do in this episode outside of showing up at the last minute and saving the day. Truth be told, the pacing has been slowed greatly for the last few episodes, and a lot of the fascinating and thought-provoking elements of the Miracle are beginning to get tired and stale. It really is time for Torchwood to step up its game and begin a race to the finish to uncover who is behind the Miracle and put things right. This show started off so strongly, and I would hate to see it fizzle out toward the end.
Jack and Gwen are pitted against each other when a mysterious person hacks her I-5 to tell her that they have abducted her entire family. All they want is Jack, and Gwen must now get him to them without alerting Rex or Esther.
But that’s only part of the episode. The main story is a flashback to Jack’s time in America in 1927. Coming through Ellis Island, he meets a man by the name of Angelo Colasanto. The two of them become close friends (and more), and soon Jack is taking him along on his Torchwood mission. Everything falls apart, however, when Jack is killed during the mission and comes back to life. Angelo, so shaken by this, kills Jack again, believing him to be the devil. This leads to the landlady seeing the death and resurrection, and it suddenly expands into a crazed group of religious fanatics who drag Jack down into a basement and kill him repeatedly. It is unclear as to whether they revere him or fear him, but the one thing they seem intent on doing is brutally killing Jack every time he comes back to life. Some fanatics are bottling Jack’s blood, believing it to be the key to immortality.
During a brief respite from the constant murder parade, Jack is confronted by three men who seem to be coldly negotiating over ownership of him. The three men agree to a joint ownership and seal it with a clasping of arms that forms…a triangle! When it was revealed last week that whatever conspiracy led to the Miracle was very long and subtle in the making, we now see that it goes as far back as the 1920s. During the murder spree, we hear a few people refer to Jack as a “blessing.” So now we know what the mysterious Blessing from last week is all about. Eventually, Angelo sees the error of his ways and breaks Jack out. Jack leaves Angelo by killing himself one last time, and he never sees him again.
What I find a little difficult to believe is that it took Jack this long to remember something so significant. Yes, it happened over eighty years in the past, but I think if a mob of religious zealots murdered me over and over again, that might stick out in the old memory box. There are too many elements in this that directly relate to the investigation for it to have taken this long to finally get to it. I also have to admit that the reveal of the three men who seem to be at the heart of the mysterious Triangle group to be a bit unimpressive. They do speak in a somewhat inhuman way, so there is most likely something more to them. I am getting the sense, however, that all the buildup they’ve been making over who and what is behind the Miracle will ultimately lead to a dissatisfying final reveal.
In present day, after Gwen has kidnapped Jack and is taking him to whoever has kidnapped her family, we have a great moment where Gwen tells Jack in no uncertain terms that, if killing him meant saving her family, she would pull the trigger herself and not think twice. You really believe it. Jack retorts, however, by telling Gwen that he will adamantly and jealously defend his life. I know that this is supposed to create some sort of new tension between them and pit Jack and Gwen against each other, but Jack’s own words just feel hollow. Jack would never be that selfish, and he knows what is at stake. Sure, he’d try to find an end run, but I can’t believe that he would ever take up arms against Gwen to defend himself with her family’s lives in the balance. And when the situation is resolved (which, of course, it would be), the two hug and make up and no-harm-no-foul kind of way. It is a shame, because the idea of Jack and Gwen becoming enemies is fascinating, and I would love to see something like that explored.