You know what’s really annoying? I could have watched Doctor Who tonight. The last few episodes of Miracle Day overlapped with the start of Series 6B, so if I was sticking to strict broadcast order, I’d be killing Hitler right now. But alternating between the two for a while would be a bit annoying, and I’d rather just get this nonsense out of the way once and for all, so I decided to crack on with Torchwood and get it over with.
My decision was instantly punished with quite possibly the dullest hour of television that Torchwood has produced so far. Perhaps I was in a bad mood with it because it’s not Doctor Who, but I spent the last fifty minutes taking in everything that was being said and done, and not one bit of it affected me emotionally or stimulated me intellectually. I’d have got an equal amount of enjoyment from reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, and it would have been much quicker.
The appearance of your man from Breaking Bad raised a smile, and your man from Jurassic Park blowing himself up raised an eyebrow. That was about it for the bulk of the episode. Angelo, like PhiCorp before him, turned out to be another red herring, and instead we’re introduced to yet another mystery in the form of “the families”, and only two episodes in which to explore it. We’re 80% of the way through, and the identity of those behind the Miracle is no closer to being revealed – we’ve always known it was some shady people in the background, and that’s still as far as we’ve come. All we learn here is that they were apparently responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis.
The worst thing was that Jack has got back into his old habit of withholding information from his fellow team-members – and therefore the audience – in order to look mysterious and brooding. When the one thing you want from a series is for it to answer some of its mysteries, it’s so frustrating when you know the answers are right there, but they’re arbitrarily choosing not to tell you. It’s also far less dramatic when you know for a fact that the situation could be resolved by one character simply telling another what he already knows – any jeopardy is false, generated solely by this wilful schtum-keeping.
Meanwhile, everyone’s favourite right-wing paedophile is back, and we get to enjoy watching him bully his female employee and intimidate a prostitute. We’re then seemingly supposed to feel sorry for him when he’s condemned to a new type of death sentence and forced to go on the run. I mean, I’m against the death penalty in all circumstances, but it’s hard to make that argument when you then see Danes slapping and punching a woman. Send the fucker to the module.
I’ll admit that I did have one moment of genuine surprise and intrigue: when (the now mortal, remember) Jack got shot. Not for the first time this series, it’s a great cliffhanger that serves to raise the stakes for the next episode and take the story in a new direction. It’s just a shame that you could have cut the preceding 48 minutes or so out and still got the same effect.