TV REVIEW: Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 4 – Escape to L.A.

The Torchwood team heads to Los Angeles to find out more about Phicorp and its plans, while Oswald struggles to hold onto the Miracle Day limelight…Caution: Contains Spoilers.

One thing that the writers have been good at thus far is weaving in glimpses of the characters between the action.  That is definitely the case for Episode 4.  You get caught up in the drama of trying to find out about Phicorp’s plans, but they also weave in pieces of back story about the team and their families.

In the last episode, we learned that Esther has a sister who is unwell.  She is unable to resist going to visit her before the team goes to L.A., and finds that her sister has barricaded up her house and will not allow anyone inside, or let her children out.  Distraught, Esther calls social services and reports her.   Later on, she learns that her trip to her sister’s has compromised the team and their mission.  I was really impressed with Alexa Havins here; you want to be angry at her for making a very stupid mistake, but you can’t be.  It’s very easy to relate to Esther, and it makes her so much more human – she’s a very sympathetic character, which is not something I was expecting from the first few episodes.

Rex also has some family issues.  As soon as they get to L.A., he looks up his father, with whom he has a very rocky relationship.  It’s a very telling scene; even though there is clearly a lot of anger between them, Rex realizes that he is living on borrowed time.  My impression was that he was trying to make some sort of peace, and when his father rejects him, it hurts him deeply.  I also think it adds to his anger when he finds out what Esther did – it could have just as easily been him that compromised the mission.

Gwen’s own father is caught up in the mix; he had a heart attack in the first episode.  Rhys has been assigned the task of looking after him, and we find out that he was able to get him out of the hospital and into the government’s “overflow” plan.  Here enters Phicorp’s nefarious plot: they want to round up all of the “walking dead,” so to speak, and to segregate them from the general population on land owned by the corporation.  What they intend to do with them remains to be seen.

In the midst of all this, Oswald changes tactics.  He goes from being Phicorp’s spokesman to being a spokesman for those who are like him, those who continue to survive despite the odds.  Bill Pullman really is amazing in this role; there are times when you almost sympathize with him, and then he reminds you just how cold and calculating he can be.  The speech he gives to the survivors is very moving, and yet you know he’s only doing it to stay in the spotlight.  It’s an interesting contrast, and he is easily becoming one of the most compelling characters on the show.

C. Thomas Howell guest stars as the assassin sent to dispatch Torchwood.  All I’ll say is, he’s certainly come a long way since The Outsiders.

Rating: 3.5/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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