Torchwood: Miracle Day. Episode Five: The Categories of Life. (Contains Spoilers)

We are now at the halfway point and it has started to hit a comfortable stride.  So it’s somewhat of a shame that it has  lost a few viewers along the way (although I-player figures are higher than Children of Earth) as it’s really starting to pay off.

Jane Espenson returns to writing duties and after last week’s slightly underwhelming installment it’s good to have things well and truly back on track.

Gwen leaves the team to investigate the overspill camps in Wales, still hoping to find her father inside. She also gets to rejoin Rhys and their Daughter for some much-needed family time.

The categories of life have been changed, instead of the standard two; alive or dead; the government have added a third. Category three is for normal healthy people, category two is for those who were injured after the miracle and category one is for people who are undying but essentially dead.

Dr Juarez joins team Torchwood and it isn’t long before she is volunteering for covert missions.  Finding out information about the overflow camps, Esther discovers hidden structures at every camp. Nobody knows what these are used for, only that they are called Modules. Rex being the only category two amongst the group, pulls rank and decides to get a closer look at the camps from within.

This leads to a genuinely funny scene where Rex gets taken away in an ambulance giving Jack a chance to embarrass him, category Jack style.

Meanwhile in Wales Gwen finds her father and with Rhys’s help they attempt to get him out. During the escape her father suffers another heart attack, Doctors take him away and re categorize him as category one.

Man on the inside Rex makes a startling discovery, category one subjects are being stored in chilled rooms. Filming all he can for evidence Rex leaves the module in search of more answers.

What’s worse is the treatment of those with no insurance. Mistakes in categorizing patients are being made, hospital standards are dropping and the already buckling system is now simply failing. Juarez takes a tour of the camp with the sites admin manager,  a character who exudes sinister undertones as soon as you see him.

Buildings full of category one patients are referred to as ‘storage’, again presented as a temporary measure. This highlights how poorly the camps are being run by a faceless and soulless pharmaceutical company. Before the miracle he had never done anything like this before, hardly qualified to deal with the task at hand, he crumbles.

Danes and Jilly continue their campaign to hog the media spotlight, taking the word of Phicorp to a stadium-sized crowds. Becoming more frustrated with the speech rewrites, Danes has some words of his own he wants to share with his growing followers. I think Danes is starting to suspect he is nothing more that a corporate puppet, but is using his moment for his own agenda.

Jack gives Danes the chance to use this moment to get the truth out, Danes reward would be to help end the miracle and he would get his wish, to finally die. Jack plays perfectly to Danes ego, and for a moment I thought Jack had convinced him to. Whilst trying to give his overly prepared speech Danes is momentarily conflicted, hecklers start to taunt him and Danes delivers his revelation. He used bits of what Jack told him and ended on the buzz word Phicorp had instructed him to. He might be a puppet for them but is clearly using it to his advantage.

I wish they would stop using the inspiring speech music they use every time Danes gets up to talk. Personally speaking the scene would have been much more powerful without it. Jilly gets the recognition she has always wanted from a shady character, I’m sure we will be seeing more from him soon. It has to be said that Lauren Ambrose is fantastic in the role and it’s great to see her back on television. She reminds me a bit of Entourage’s Ari Gold. As Entourage is ending this year, is it too much to hope for an Ari/Jilly spin-off? If she survives that is.

In an unexpected scene one major character is shot and dumped in a module amongst the other undying. This sets up an even more horrifying death scene than last weeks car crushing. A very tense final five minutes ends in tragedy and the truth about what is happening to the category one patients in the modules is shocking. This makes the second episode in a row that has a grisly death right towards the end, and based on the teaser for next weeks installment we might be in for some more main character deaths.

A very strong episode that pulls no punches, Torchwood continues next Thursday on BBC One at 9pm.

Chris Suffield

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