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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Torchwood: Miracle Day: Episode 10: “The Blood Line” (review)

Torchwood Miracle Day Eve Myles and John Barrowman

Previous: Episode 9: “The Gathering”
Can you feel it? The nothingness?

Cuz I sure can.

Worst. Ending. Ever. So rushed! So cobbled together! So laughably ridiculous! But hey, at least it was crammed full of Blessing and Three Families info-dumping. Because that’s what I want out of the big finale to a major, world-changing story. I want manically villain giggling

Torchwood Miracle Day Frances Fisher

accompanied by some “let me tell you our evil plan” monologuing. Even better is when the evil plan has mostly already been figured out, purely by preposterous random chance, by pretty much everyone else.

I can’t shake the feeling that Russell T. Davies and Jane Espenson, as they sat down to script this final episode, suddenly realized that, oh shit, they better figure out what the Blessing is. And then they said, “Fuck it, we’ll just have everyone say it’s a mystery.” Yes, it just happens to be the biggest geological structure on planet Earth, and yes, the geologists have just happened to overlook it. It, um, has a perception filter all around it, okay? But the Three Families can see through it.

It’s just one of those stupid lameass Torchwood things, okay?

This just doesn’t work on any level. Miracle Day hasn’t worked on any level for almost its entire run, but right here it’s all disastrous. All the emotion is misplaced, for starters. Gwen’s story about her dad being accused of stealing money is nice, but it doesn’t jibe with what’s going on. First of all, they don’t know that whatever they’re going to do if or when they reach the Blessing will end the Miracle, because they still, even at that late point, have no idea what the hell the Blessing is, or what it has to do with the Miracle, or anything at all. Second, she’s not killing her father. The heart attacks killed him. He should be dead. He is suffering. Death will be a release for him. She cannot possibly want him lingering in this hell. If Gwen has reason to believe he is about to get that release — which of course she should not have — she should be relieved. She might say, “Today is the day on which I lose my father.” But she doesn’t say that. I mean, I understand Gwen’s complicated feelings, but it seems that Davies and Espenson didn’t trust that we would without having it all bashed into our heads so unsubtly, so hamfistedly.

Hoorah for Rhys saying, “Let him die.”

And hey, good thing it’s now easy to get into an overflow camp, so Rhys could be there just as Gwen’s dad did finally die. Cuz there doesn’t seem to have been any other purpose to Rhys’s excursion. Oh, and I guess his trip was also so that Gwen could take a personal phone call from him in the middle of what she surely must have considered the biggest, most important Torchwood mission yet, one that absolutely could not go wrong.

I would complain about Gwen and Jack taking tactical advice from the likes of Oswald Danes, but it seems they maybe have needed it.

Ah, Oswald Danes. He really didn’t have a damn thing to do with anything at all, did he? I’d say he was the gun on the mantlepiece that everyone has actually been carrying around with them, just waiting for the moment to use it for ten episodes, except Oswald wasn’t even required for his big explosiony scene at the end. The freakin’ place was already wired to explode. But at least he got to stand around and tut “My my my my” at Frances Fisher. That was some incisive drama right there.

Torchwood Miracle Day Lauren Ambrose

Even Jilly Kitzinger is stunned to see Oswald with that soldier guy. Though she’s probably relieved that there’s a character who’s had even less reason to be around that she turned out to have.

God, this was all so embarrassing to watch. Of all the pits in old Shanghai, Torchwood had to walk into mine.

Jack’s “I’m from the future” bit was painful. Oswald did make an intriguing point when he noted that even Jack’s friends seem to fear Jack. But they don’t fear him because he’s “from the future.” And even not, I think, because Jack had been immortal. “I’m from the future” is so reductive of Jack’s literal awesomeness, which is an enormous and sometimes contradictory package of bravery and cowardice, desperation and determination, loneliness and compassion, and reflections of our own misunderstanding of and longing for the past and dreams of the future. Jack is like the Doctor in many ways… and when Jack mentioned the Doctor again (and UNIT!), they seemed really, really out of place, because nothing about this has felt anything like Doctor Who. Not that I expected it to, but when it treads into that territory and gets it wrong, I don’t think it’s unfair to lodge the complaint. Miracle Day suddenly steered our attention toward an awesomeness of Jack’s that it didn’t know how to explain because it has been entirely absent.

Instead, this Jack has been about fetishizing That Coat. For Christ’s sake, I don’t see that Jack wouldn’t show some respect by changing out of it for a damn funeral:

Torchwood Miracle Day Jack coat

Yup, funerals, because everything’s been reset and folk are dying again. Amazing how back in Episode 7, when Gwen asked Jack what really bad thing he had done somewhere in the past that was making someone want to kill him now, Jack just happened to randomly flash back to the Angelo story, which turned out to be exactly where it all began, and how it might end. Amazing. And what a lucky coincidence that Esther collecting all that blood from Jack turned out to be the best thing they could have done, even though they had no evidence to support such a bizarre activity. Whew!

And then:

Torchwood Miracle Day transfusion

It’s the ol’ “transfusin’ the blood into the guy who can’t die from walkin’ around with the wrong blood type because otherwise the blood might get blown up” trick. Gets ’em every time. Zing!

Jack could have died. In a better-written version of this story, Jack’s death could have been the “fine and noble” one the Three Families lady snarks about. But Jack has been so empty a character here, despite the long history we kept hearing about (but not feeling), that it wouldn’t have worked. (Kinda like how Esther’s death is so meh.) So it’s probably a good thing that:

Torchwood Miracle Day John Barrowman

But seriously, the only thing that might have redeemed the otherwise irredeemably awful Rex is his death. But now he’s immortal, too?

Torchwood Miracle Day Mekhi Phifer

*headdesk*

And Rex will be back. Because

Torchwood Miracle Day Plan B

“Trial run”? “Plan B”?

Noooo!

Next: ???



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