Review: Torchwood, Miracle Day (Torchwood comes to the colonies)
By: +David Herron; Date: 2011-07-16 20:10
They've spent the first two episodes introducing a cast of characters and also establishing the transition of moving a Cardiff-based show to America.
In the first episode we see Gwen and Rhys having set themselves up in a small house in the far side of the back of beyond, so that they can feel safe after all the stress of having been in Torchwood. We also met the American crew, a smattering of stereotypized CIA agents, an emergency room doctor, a despicable killer, etc. We also learn of the head scratching danger that would appear to be the topic of the season. During the first episode the action result in the arrest and "Rendition" of Gwen and Captain Jack, with the actual rendition (done on board a 747) occurring during the second episode.
The head scratching danger? "Miracle day" is named after the day at which death stops. There have been earlier movies and stuff where "Death" takes a holiday and nobody dies. However in Miracle Day the topic is approached with a certain amount of realism. For example, a suicide bomber attacks Captain Jack and the woman CIA agent with the forgettable name and annoying voice. The suicide bomber is later shown as a crispy creature, very little flesh, seared and roasted, clinging to bones, but the bomber is still alive and aware, even after they snip his skull from his body.
Oh.. the show is a bit gruesome. Rex, one of the main characters, a comic book stereotyped CIA agent, is shown getting into a car accident where a bunch of poles fly off a truck, through the windshield, piercing his body, and so far through the two episodes he's still alive and bleeding badly because death has taken a holiday and he cannot die. Did I say gruesome?
As I noted earlier (Looking back at Torchwood seasons 1-3 - Torchwood coming to the Colonies), Torchwood has circled around issues of Life and Death. That's what they get when their leading character is immortal, having been rendered a fixed point something or other that can never die. Having a character like that is an obvious invitation to explore Life and, well, Death.
In Miracle Day everybody is now immortal - except for Captain Jack - who loses his immortality and can become damaged and perhaps could die.
What do I think about it? On the surface it's way over the top stereotypized and the premise of why the CIA would renditionize Torchwood is completely cockeyed. Basically we're asked to believe that a CIA agent acting on his own could decide on his own without consulting superiors to leave his hospital bed on flimsy evidence for no real reason that we can discern and kidnap (arrest/rendition) Torchwood to bring them to America? Say what?
But my ears perked up a bit when Captain Jack started talking about morphogenic fields and morphogenic resonance as a potential cause for the headscratching puzzle danger.
Also.. the show, if one bothers to pay attention to what they're saying about the danger, is actually demonstrating the peril we all face in the real world from overpopulation.
We don't need whatever alien intervention it is they'll eventually expose - we have modern medicine, refrigeration, and other modern marvels that have enabled a huge population explosion. All the issues demonstrated in the show about outstripping food supply, or space to live, etc, in the show it's happening very fast (within a few months). In our real world that very same thing is happening but slowly enough that one could miss the problem being formed because it's happening in a decades-long time-frame.
There isn't enough shown yet to begin to predict which direction the show will be taking.
One of the characters is a secretive high level CIA guy who seems to be pulling some of the strings causing events to occur, and he seems to be using some kind of electronic magic eight ball to make his decisions. It may be that the magic eight ball thingy is connected to whatever the alien threat is, or maybe he's just a cukoo-brain guy who can't make his own decisions, but I doubt that given his position.