Torchwood: Dead of Night

Ah. I’d forgotten exactly when it was that I decided to give up on Miracle Day the first time round, but I think I’ve pinpointed it. It’s to do with Oswald Danes, who I must say Bill Pullman plays excellently, but was certainly a bold choice for a recurring character. The problem is that I don’t believe the speed at which his public perception is changing. Even in a world where Trump can become President, I simply don’t buy the idea of people starting to see a paedophile as a cult leader.

It’s never made clear exactly what those masked chaps in the street are protesting about, nor what exactly Danes has done to earn anyone’s respect. Meanwhile, the show wants us to feel sympathy for him when he’s harassed in the street and beaten up by cops, but that’s a hard sell. And besides, if he’s still at the stage where people want to see him lynched, why in God’s name do the big scary pharmaceutical company want a convicted child murderer as their spokesman? It’s nonsense.

Meanwhile, just as I was saying how this is nothing like Torchwood, they bring back two old favourites: the magic contact lenses, and really long, tedious sex scenes. Rex manages to get in on the act in his first full episode as a team member, and then Jack decides to follow his nookie with getting a bit melancholy and blubbing about Ianto. He ought to find himself a nice tall building to stand on, get it out of his system.

The rest of the episode concerns the discovery that the aforementioned big scary pharmaceutical company might be behind the whole thing, and also Rex going off in a huff then coming back again. This is what’s so frustrating about this series so far – there’s so much story to tell, but the plots they’ve chosen move so slowly that you can summarise each episode in a couple of lines.

They’re not doing anything more than pay lipservice to all the wider implications of the miracle. That should be where the juicy stuff is, but they’re not showing us any of it – there’s just a scene or two per episode where a bunch of scientists or news reporters tell us about what’s happening around the world, but this stuff never impacts on the main plot. It feels like these are cutaways to pad the thing out, whereas the unfolding situation should be driving the action.

For reasons that are not thoroughly explained, the climax of this chapter involves Jack confronting Danes, and as soon as the latter started talking, I identified the moment I decided to stop watching. It’s him describing in great detail what he did to the girl, and why it was the best moment of his life. It’s not that it’s offensive, it’s just a deeply unpleasant reality to be confronted with, and it’s not as if the rest of the show is entertaining, clever or enthralling enough to compensate. I didn’t see the point of putting up with such discomfort when there’s little or no reward.


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