TV REVIEW: Torchwood: Miracle Day Episodes 2 and 3 – Rendition and Dead of Night
Posted by Mirjana on July 31, 2011
Apologies for the late reviews, folks, but Comic Con completely took over my life these past two weeks. I hope to be fully caught up within the next few days. There will also be a bonus post with pictures from the Episode 3 screening at Comic Con, at which we were surprised by the cast. But for now, “Rendition” and “Dead of Night.” Warning: Contains Spoilers.
Episode 2: Rendition
Episode 2 continues setting up the story that’ll play out for the rest of the series, namely that Torchwood is going to try and figure out what’s going on and someone really, really wants to stop them.
After an emotional separation from Rhys and their baby, Gwen and Jack are transported back to the US by Rex and his crew. It quickly becomes clear, however, that all is not as it seems. Unbeknownst to Rex, one of the operatives receives instructions to kill Jack and Gwen and tries to poison them. While all of this is going on in the air, Esther discovers that someone is trying to frame her in an attempt to get rid of her. Realizing that this has something to do with Torchwood, she calls Rex once he’s back on the ground and warns him that they will try to do the same to him. Sure enough, Rex, Jack and Gwen barely escape from the airport thanks to Esther.
I found a few things interesting about the episode. First is the issue of Jack’s mortality. We who have watched Doctor Who and Torchwood know that Jack cannot die, and we know why. But now that the rest of the world is immortal, Jack is not. He doesn’t heal when he’s injured, and the poison nearly kills him. Given all that he’s been through, one has to wonder if he doesn’t welcome it. Also, I think there is potential here for exploring the science fictional aspects of the story when it comes to the driving force behind Miracle Day. If Jack is no longer a “fixed point in time,” does that mean that everyone else is? Or is something else behind it?
The other attention grabber for me is Rex, played by Mekhi Phifer. Multidimensional characters are always interesting, and so far we’ve seen plenty of that from Rex. At first glance, he’s your stereotypical American (boo), cocky and self-serving; but he works (very well, I might add) with Gwen to save Jack’s life on the plane. I suppose the argument could be made that it doesn’t serve his purpose for Jack to die, but I think that there is good inside of him and that it will continue to develop throughout the season. Another thing to watch is his working relationship with Jack – with two alpha males on board, things are sure to get interesting.
Finally, Arlene Tur is great in her portrayal of Dr. Vera Juarez, the surgeon who treated Rex after his accident. She is asking all of the right questions, and will surely play a large part in figuring out what’s behind Miracle Day.
Episode 2 Rating: 3.5/5
Episode 3: Dead of Night
I was fortunate enough to see this episode a night early at Comic Con with the cast in attendance, so I might have enjoyed it a bit more than I would have had I watched it at home. It is definitely a solid episode, though, and we see the team finally starting to come together as a unit.
In the two prior episodes, even though they’ve worked together to a certain degree, there has definitely been an us vs. them feel about the whole thing – Torchwood vs. the CIA. That shifts in this episode; it’s still us vs. them, but now it’s the new expanded Torchwood vs. everyone else. If there was a theme to this episode, for me, it was how really alone the team is in this whole thing. There is no one they can trust, which Rex learns when he tries to get information from an old mentor, only to find that he was sold out to the police.
Similarly, we get a rare glimpse at Jack’s vulnerable side. It’s understandable, given his unexpected mortality. But the point is really driven home when he calls Gwen seeking reassurance after sleeping with a man he picks up at a bar. They talk about missing Ianto (oh, Ianto), and just when Jack is trying to reaffirm that he and Gwen are in this together, she hangs up on him to talk to Rhys and the baby. Which is understandable, but it really illustrates something that’s been a theme for Jack one way or another throughout Torchwood – ultimately, he’s very lonely.
Oswald Danes, played spectacularly by Bill Pullman, is starting to be a big player. His character is completely repulsive and creepy, but he’s compelling as well. Phicorp, the pharmaceutical company that appears to have some connection to Miracle Day, has chosen him as their spokesperson to push free access to drugs. Jack realizes that he is important to the puzzle and confronts him, but he is thwarted by Oswald’s new security detail.
Another new player is Jilly Kitzinger, played by Lauren Ambrose. She works for Phicorp and sells herself as a PR person – she’s the one that recruits Oswald for Phicorp. To this point, she’s been like an annoying fly, buzzing around Dr. Juarez and Oswald, trying to get their attention. But now that her involvement with Phicorp has been revealed, she is sure to become a key player.
Episode 3 Rating: 4/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana