The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Americans TouchWood

Written By: Liam Walters

Torchwood is back! Only, it’s been back almost a week, it’s just that the first episode of the new series, named ‘Miracle Day’, was broadcast across the pond, before it was over here in jolly old England. That is, because it is now a joint adventure between Cardiff and America. Has the clashing culture ruined the show, or has it enhanced it to something more than the previous series’ could achieve, or perhaps, in its roots, it is the same old story with a shiny new set to play in. From shouting FBI agents to weirdly affective baby earmuffs and everlasting life, the miracle starts here.

Warning: From This Point Onwards, I Will Be Talking Spoilers. 

So we start off in America, as a convicted murder and paedophile, Oswald Danes, is readied to be executed by lethal injection. He is administered the injection, but it soon becomes apparent that something has gone wrong. Soon after, we cut to CIA Headqauters, as they have been sent a mysterious message only with one word… ‘Torchwood’. It is here we meet our two CIA regulars;  Esther Drummond and Rex Matheson. Esther is talking on the phone with Rex as he drives. She attempts to send him information on Torchwood, just as something attacks the system and deletes every bit of information on Torchwood. A lorry gets involved with a crash in front of Rex’s cars, as two of the poles fall off due to the collision, smashing through Rex’s windscreen and impaling him. We then move to Gwen and Rhys in bed, as Gwen jumps awake, claiming that she has had a mad dream. As Rhys asks her what it was about, she gives the obvious answer: Torchwood.

I have to admit, for a show that is being broadcast literally at the watershed, the opening scenes are pretty disturbing. There is a warning from the continuity announcer, but even so, most of the time people figure the bad stuff doesn’t happen until later on. Here it jumps in straight with a convicted murderer and paedophile, more or less in agony, and then about a minute later, we see a man get impaled. Still, it’s a great way to start the show off, and you can see that Russell T Davies in on form as ever (with no hint of subtlety what so ever).

The Shiny New Title Card

Overall, we follow a few different story-strands, some of which interconnect at points and then split off on their own. One that it kept mainly on it’s own throughout the first episode is Danes’ plot. The first episode, for Danes, is mainly getting him out of prison and back to being a free man, because of his threat to sue for wrongful imprisonment and unnecessary pain, as he had technically served his sentence of lethal injection, even if the rules of earth now don’t allow death, he has, in the eyes of the law, served said sentence fully.

Esther’s story-strand and Rex’s story-stand are close in injection with each other, as when Esther is actively seeking Torchwood, Rex is resting in the hospital. Then Rex begins actively seeking Torchwood, and it is Esther who takes a step back. Esther is the first character in the episode to talk with Captain Jack, being there when the character is reintroduced into the show. Rex’s story strand mainly takes him to Cardiff as he tracks down Gwen.

Jacks story is one we see little of. He is reintroduced into the show about a third of the way through, obviously investigating what is happening on earth, and what involvement it has with Torchwood. He also has his development in the fact that he is now mortal, when everyone else in the world is immortal. His story crosses over with Dr. Vera Juarez, a surgeon working at the hospital Rex was in. Although they talk to each other very little, with Jack using a fake identity (one that fans of Series 1 and 2 may recognise), Jack poses the question of whether the person would stay alive with their head dis-attached. Well…

Remember Kids! If You Blow Yourself Up, You’ll Be Left With No-body

The final story-strand is Gwen and Rhys. I think this is the one I have a problem with, as it just seems to try to give us too much too fast. I mean, they seem paranoid, but there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate reason for them to be. Sure, Torchwood has probably left a black mark on their record, but still seems a little too sudden. There’s no build up or reasoning behind it. Gwen just seems to be acting too irrationally, instead of having the cool clear head we have seen her with before. I also think that the old Gwen would probably have not been so persuaded by Rhys comments at the hospital, and that she would still go ahead and investigate.

Maybe it’ll take a couple episodes for the true, Torchwood Gwen to appear. I also find it a little too soon for her father to have gone into hospital. I think if that was pushed back a few episodes, then it could have raised the stakes more, but it all just seems too much for one episode, and instead of adding on plot lines, they could develop others, and have a deeper look into Gwen and Rhys relationship with the baby, and how that will change things for episodes to come.

Captain Jack seemed a little off as well. Perhaps a little too serious for so early in the series, I’m not sure, I was just getting a strange vibe from him throughout the show. Still, it does seem like an interesting development that Jack can now bruise and die. Though I must admit, I do kind of have a theory of what will happen. Basically, episode 8 or 9, Jack will be killed. In Episode 10, they’ll fix the problem, Jack will come back to life, and the people who could still die in the condition that they are currently in, so people who are old, ect, die, whilst all the people who were in accident and could have healed by this point, even if they couldn’t have originally survived, such as Rex or Gwen’s father, will survive. Captain Jack will also regain his immortality, and be brought back to life.

Speaking quickly of Rex, I think he is an interesting character, and the fact that he may die if he is able to solve the problem seems like it may develop further. Something that I do have a complaint about, is that he seems to shout half of his lines when it’s just unnecessary to do so. In all, despite lacking a bit oh coherence at some parts, it is a good first episode. It sets the plot up nicely and it will be interesting to see how it develops with the episodes to come, and how the characters will develop with each other also (as it was shown in the series preview that Jack may get together with Rex). For a final thought, I pose a question to you… How the hell do those baby earmuffs actually work that well?

Woollen Earmuffs: Because When The Explosion Doesn’t Deafen You, A Gun Will

Torchwood: Miracle Day is on Starz in the US and BBC1 in the UK. Weekly reviews of each episode will be posted every Friday at 12:00pm GMT


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