Torchwood: Miracle Day: Episode 7: “Immortal Sins” (review)
Previous: Episode 6: “The Middle Men”
Seven episodes into this ten-episode Torchwoodpalooza, it finally feels just a little bit like Proper Torchwood. Just a little bit. And just for a few minutes.
It was during the bit that had to do with this:
Yea, an alien, finally! (Looks like a Goa’uld, tastes like oysters.) And something approaching adventure! Jack is running booze during the Prohibition in New York City in order to get to the mobster who has a vacuumpunk-cryo-frozen alien he doesn’t realize he has and must be destroyed. That sounds like Torchwood.
That sounds like its own standalone episode of Torchwood, rushed into about 15 minutes of this one. *sigh*
At least the Doctor was mentioned. I honestly thought this Americanized Torchwood wouldn’t go anywhere near the Doctor. It’s nice for lots of reasons: it shows the long-term impact traveling with the Doctor has on his companions. It’s interesting to see that Jack is actually jealous of the Doctor, that he has companions to share his life with. And it’s cool to see Jack with his own companion, Angelo (Italian actor Daniele Favilli is fantastic), and even a bit of sexytime with the companion.
A bit of sexytime. Not a lot. This was too much: all of a sudden Torchwood turns into a Cinemax soft-porno. What is this, fan fiction? I mean, we get it: Angelo is gay in a time even worse than today for that, so it’s a revelation for him to find someone like Jack. Still, though: the seduction scene goes on too long. It’s filler.
And then: Why does Angelo have so little sympathy for Jack and his oddness? I could almost — almost — understand it if Angelo, in the privacy of their room, stabbed Jack after he saw Jack die, after learning that Jack’s been alive the whole time he was in prison, just out of justifiable pique and a smidgen of revenge, and also to see Jack resurrect with his own eyes. But turning Jack over to his landlady and her husband, and then the bloodthirsty mob? This I don’t understand. Calling him a devil? This I don’t get. There’s a lot of Christian commentary and imagery running through this episode, from the praying over rosary beads Jack mentions Angelo does to assuage his guilt to Angelo’s washing of the blood off Jack’s feet, from Jack’s suggestion that Christianity can’t cope with the notion of men romantically loving other men to his snide crack about wine that is “the blood of Christ” being “good enough.” But I don’t see a lot of the forgiveness I might expect from Angelo, particularly after his talk about God being love.
And then: We’re meant to infer that Angelo is still alive in 2011 and “knows how the Miracle began” and has been holding a grudge all this time. Right? And when we meet him in the next episode, he won’t have aged a day. Right?
Cuz Jack — or, rather, his blood — is “the Blessing”
and it has conferred immortality on some people, including the Three Wise (Rich) Men
who wanted to buy Jack, and presumably settled instead for that vial of his blood, which has obviously been the subject of some mad science experiment to reverse engineer the immortality out of it.
Now, though, the immortals are tired of immortality and want to die, and had to flip the giant life switch on humanity in order to do so. (Or so I’m guessing.)
Except: Why do they want Jack? And really, is it all going to turn out to be about the Worst Breakup Ever? Angelo: The ultimate awful ex. I guess he wasn’t kidding when he said, “I’m never gonna let you go!”
Trying to find something more good from the episode, so:
The mob killing Jack over and over again is a horrific scene, and a uniquely Torchwoodish sort of horrific. We wouldn’t see this on any other show, and that’s something else we haven’t gotten much of in Miracle Day: stuff that feels anything other than generic.
Gwen’s bit, too, about loving Torchwood even though it was toxic: that feels right.
But there’s still too much that feels wrong. I can’t see Gwen turning over Jack to anyone so easily, even with her family at stake. And then they’re friends again right after that?
Why wait for the call to go in and rescue Gwen’s family? Why not just go in? On the other side, if Nana Visitor is so sure that Jack will come along anyway, even once the coercion is removed, then why didn’t Angelo just, you know, give Jack a phone call to say hello? Angelo could have done that before the Miracle and it would have been just as shocking and intriguing, particularly if Angelo is still young.
Why would Jack throw himself off the building at the end? After all that death and resurrection, why do that willingly when he could have just walked out the building?
Would Angelo recognize a forged visa? A guy from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere? Does he even know what a real visa looks like? And then U.S. immigration just lets Angelo go, after trying to enter with stolen papers? Theft and fraud are still crimes, even if he did “find” his “legitimate” visa. (Did Angelo not steal Jack’s visa by accident? Is Angelo perhaps an alien or a time traveler looking to make contact with Jack in 1927? That does seem unlikely and illogical, but neither of those things have stopped Miracle Day before now.)
Really? Jack shouts loudly and slowly to someone who doesn’t speak his language?
Finally, isn’t the 1927 Jack impossible?
He hadn’t yet acquired this WWII coat in 1927. That was something he wouldn’t get till, you know, WWII. Yes, the Doctor and Rose met Jack during the Blitz, before he was immortal, but he didn’t wear that first WWII getup again when he traveled on the TARDIS. That was an affectation he picked up when he lived through WWII on Earth. He hasn’t yet done that in 1927. (On his second pass through the 20th century, he was in cryosleep at the Torchwood Institute so he wouldn’t cross his own timeline. So this can’t be that Jack.)
It’s nitpicking, yeah… except it isn’t. This is Torchwood: this is their business. They should get this stuff right.
Next: Episode 8: “End of the Road”