Torchwood Miracle Day Episode Eight: “End of the Road” (Contains Spoilers)

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It’s episodes like this that make me pleased I have not given up on Torchwood yet. After the underwhelming installment last week (I re watched Immortal Sins and have determined the entire Angelo flashback could have been told in under 3 minutes), things really needed to step it up, as that finale is just two episodes away now.

Nobody is front and centre (as it should be) and thank goodness Danes and Jilly are back. That said, it is unusual that the return of a child-murdering monster improves a series but hey, this is Torchwood.

So, Jack meets Angelo again and it’s a huge relief that Angelo is not behind the miracle, he is still alive but has achieved his long life naturally. Having looked after himself very well these long years he is now very old and in a coma. There is a very nice scene where Jack talks about Ianto, this is the first time his death has been truly referenced this series. Angelo had been watching Jack for many years, he has pictures of Jack through the years scattered through his home, even pictures during Jack’s terrible fake moustache phase. Doing more for both the story and series, the completely unconscious Angelo becomes the first person to die since the miracle started.

Danes continues his stadium tour to deliver his message, with Jilly remaining by his side she’s aware the ride is coming to an end. Danes wants a woman, he asked Jilly to make the arrangements for a normal, legal aged woman. She arrives and assumes Danes wants something particular, but instead he wants to pretend to be a couple, he craves to have something normal. She finds this disturbing as she can accept Danes being a monster and doing outrageous things, but wanting to pretend to be normal was just too much. This was yet another example of Bill Pullman stealing the show, you nearly feel sorry for him as he awkwardly asks the escort out on a date. But Oswald Danes is a delicate kind of sociopath, when his advances are rejected he erupts with rage.  As she leaves she lets slip a piece of information she had heard from some of her ‘high level’ clients.

The government is to implement category zero, a category for all those people who have ‘earned themselves a place in the ovens’. There’s no love lost from Jilly when she explains to Danes that he is category zero. Naturally, Danes does not take this news well. He reacts badly to Jilly‘s taunts and justifications “we both knew it wouldn’t last forever”. Danes beats her badly and flees the safety of the hotel.

John de Lancie makes his Torchwood debut as Shapiro. Taking command of the operation he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. This was a very nice bit of casting, and I will say this for all of its faults; Torchwood has had a brilliant selection of guest stars for Miracle Day, it would have been nice if Martha or Captain John Hart made an appearance but we can’t have it all. De Lancie works really well as the jaded Shaprio. Wayne Knight makes a brief welcome return and then had an explosive exit (pun intended) from the show. We learn that Jack was right about morphic fields, but we’ve yet to discover ‘the who, the where and the why.’ Gwen gets on the wrong side of Shapiro and he has her deported back to England.

Rex starts to get concerned about what will happen to him now the miracle seems to be wearing off as Angelo died, but maybe Jack’s kiss had something to do with that. Of all the new characters I think Rex is my favourite. It took a while to get him but he is a good addition to the team. Esther, where do I start? I’ll be honest I tried to warm to her character but she requires so much work, it seems she is either crying, near tears, having a breakdown or being perpetually told to pull it together. Now granted if I had endured a fraction of what Esther has I would likely need 742 years of therapy, but I’m not a CIA agent now am I, or am I? No.

The three mysterious men, who purchased Jack back in the 1920s, have vanished from all records. Their names never existed. Purged from all records, these people and their ultimate plans are still unknown. Oswald’s teasing line “I can’t die yet, I haven’t found them,’ finally half confirms he knows far more about ‘the family’. In the final few minutes Jack is shot during the escape, and the wound is likely to prove fatal. Esther bundles Jack into the car and makes a break for it. Time is running out and quite how it’s all going to end is anybodies guess.

I’m still optimistic that we will get a good ending to this series Judging by next week’s trailer we might just be getting a payoff that is both satisfying and heartbreaking. The penultimate episode The Gathering is on Next Thursday BBC One at 9pm.

Chris Suffield

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