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Review #2982: Torchwood: Miracle Day: Part 8: “End of the Road”

Posted on the 28 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

“Miracle Day” is one of the most perplexing viewing experiences I’ve ever had. Why has it been such a dismal experience? At every turn, “Miracle Day” seems to thoroughly waste its own potential, ruining potentially interesting characters and taking us on a convoluted, meandering, potentially pointless journey. And yet, the whole time, I continue to let it pull me along as it drops hints and promises of things to come.

Review #2982: Torchwood: Miracle Day: Part 8: “End of the Road”

After the initial realization that “Miracle Day” was not turning out as I’d hoped, “Immortal Sins” was the first episode to restore some of my optimism for the show. Unfortunately, “Miracle Day” has fizzled once again in “End of the Road”, and once again we’re left with the feeling that this season of “Torchwood” has been a grand waste of time and talent. Characters still make preposterous, inexplicable decisions. Shallow attempts to inject drama into the narrative fall flat. Much of the time, it’s simply a mess.

I might make it sound like there was nothing to like about “End of the Road”, but that’s not completely true. In fact, I’d say that this episode comes close to epitomizing both the best and the worst of “Miracle Day”. There’s another interesting guest star, John de Lancie, who I’ve been a fan of since “Star Trek: TNG”. Actually, I think he’s probably the best-utilized, high profile guest actor the show has had so far. And though “Miracle Day’s” plot progression remains frustrating, there are enough reveals to make the episode feel somewhat relevant, which is more than I can say for the whole Phicorp/overflow camps arc.

At least now we finally have a name (three names actually) for the shadowy enemy that’s “really” behind the miracle: The Families. There’s three families, represented by the three men in Jack’s flashback. But are they really behind the Miracle? “Miracle Day” has jerked us around a lot in this regard. For all I know, The Families could be just the human arms of some great force (an alien intelligence?). Regardless, we’ve known for a while now that there was some kind of conspiracy at work that wanted the miracle to occur, and more recently that they’ve been looking for “the blessing”, which they appear to have finally found. We’re 8 episodes into a 10 episode season, and this is essentially all we know. Could this “blessing” have something to do with the “specific geography” they were searching for?

It was interesting to hear Olivia going on about anti-aging research, even if it seemed like the writers just gleaned their info from Wikipedia (which I’ve done a fair amount of myself, given my own interest in the subject). Olivia mentions one of the few known biologically immortal organisms on Earth, though I think she’s stretching it quite a bit to suggest that some have existed for thousands of years. And the comparison between Jack’s immortality and biological immortality is pretty weak, I think. Biologically immortal organisms aren’t indestructible. They still die from injury and disease. They just don’t physically age the way most lifeforms on Earth do (the telomeres in their cells don’t shorten as the cells are copied). This is why it also seems odd to me that the manipulation of the morphic field didn’t result in everyone on Earth gaining the type of immortality that Jack had.

We jump back to Jilly Kitzinger and Oswald Danes again this week, much to my disappointment. I would have expected to have gotten to know these two characters better by now, but I’m even more confused by their actions than ever, and even more so by their supposed relevance to the story. Both characters are despicable and completely unsympathetic. Anymore, anything interesting about their characters can be attributed primarily to the actors’ performances in the roles. They’re doing the best they can with their roles, but it’s not enough.

To be fair, Jilly has now grown into a slightly more consistent character than Danes. Her obsession with furthering her career gives her some semblance of a character arc. Her “promotion” seems to fall into place with that arc. But Danes is as nebulous as ever. What did he mean when he said that “he hadn’t found them” yet. Is that some clue that he’s been searching for the Families this whole time? I suppose giving Danes a secretive motive behind his actions this season would give the character some much-needed relevancy. But given how similar “clues” have panned out already, I’m not very optimistic.

“Immortal Sins” was not the beginning of an overall turn-around for the show, as I’d hoped. It continues to tantalize us with interesting possibilities and sporadically good writing and acting (sometimes enough to make me forget that I’m watching a show that typically ranges from mediocre to downright bad), but “Miracle Day” is still failing in the most integral of areas. The characters are poorly written, never as believable or sympathetic as they should be. The plot drifts between intriguing and infuriating. By now, the best I can hope for is an unexpectedly good finale to wrap things up, though it seems more likely that it will end with some kind of cliffhanger.

Rating: 6/10

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