After our detour into Flashback Land last week, we come back to the world as Miracle side effects continue to escalate. Now the world economy is falling apart, and there seems to be nothing that can stop it.
As Torchwood reassembles, they go with Olivia Colasanto, granddaughter of Angelo Colasanto, to learn what she knows about the cause of the Miracle. In the Colasanto estate, they discover Angelo, aged beyond reason and hooked up to all sorts of life support equipment…all of which is pretty useless now. It turns out that Angelo has found ways to extend his life and has been keeping a close eye on Jack for the past eighty years. He also knows who is behind the Miracle, and Olivia is now the one to tell them.
The three men who Jack saw in 1927 were, in fact, the founders of a group known as the Three Families. They made an agreement to find a way to manufacture Jack’s immortality, but Angelo broke Jack out of their grasp before they could get to work. Since then, the Three Families have been working on their own to replicate what they saw in that basement. The names of the Three Families are Abelmarch, Casterdane and Frines. Those names don’t exist in any records, which makes this information, while valuable, something of a dead end. Knowing Russell T. Davies’ penchant for anagrams (Torchwood itself is an anagram for Doctor Who), I’m sure the internet will be hopping with speculation as to what those three names might mean.
As we’re learning about the Three Families, an old friend shows up: Friedkin. He is attempting to take out Torchwood before their director shows up. But Rex pulls a fast one on Friedkin and tricks him into confessing his collusion with the Three Families right in front of the I-5 camera. Allen Shapiro, Friedkin’s boss, shows up and takes over. You’d think he’d be a good guy, arresting Friedkin and reinstating Rex and Esther, but he is more of an officious jerk who doesn’t like how independent Torchwood is. And when you want an officious jerk, who better to play him than John DeLancie? He’s ready to put Rex and Esther back into the fold, take Jack into custody, and deport Gwen.
But then the most shocking thing happens. Angelo dies. Now they need to find out how. What made Angelo so different? What did he do to cause his own death? It turns out he had a null field generator installed under his bed. What is a null field, you ask? It is an energy field that automatically negates any other energy field in its area. This plays into Jack’s theory that the Miracle works with morphic fields, and Angelo’s device managed to nullify the morphic field around his bed, making him mortal again.
Jack sees this null field generator as extremely dangerous in the wrong hands, so he steals a crucial element of the generator and has Rex and Esther smuggle him out of the Colasanto estate. But they don’t make a clean getaway, and Jack gets shot in the process. Since he is mortal now, he is dying.
Now one character who has been conspicuously missing the last couple of weeks, Oswald Danes, finally reappears, and we are able to see what is going on with him. He has been secretly reclassified as a Category Zero. This is for people who deserve death. Jilly has learned of this, and is looking forward to it, since she can no longer stand him. Once Danes has fulfilled his usefulness to PhiCorp, he will be put in the furnace. But more than that, Jilly has been recruited by the Three Families, and we also learn that they have a plant in the CIA.
So, with only two episodes left, ‘Torchwood’ finally has a bit more forward momentum, but I’m worried that it won’t be enough for a satisfying ending. Yes, we know about the Three Families, and that is something new. But, as I said before, they’re at a dead end with them. Jack is dying and Gwen is on a plane back to Wales. It does feel as if the show has suddenly been painted into a corner, but then this is ‘Torchwood,’ and they’ve certainly dealt with their share of impossible situations before.
Personally, I’m a bit more concerned about the fact that there is so much still to go in only two episodes. While I am hopeful, I can’t help but think that it’ll be quite difficult to pull off a worthwhile sprint to the finish. This season started off with some great momentum which seems to have slowed down. In the next two weeks, we’ll see if the pace can pick up and end on a high note.