Torchwood: Escape From Part of L.A. (and Wales)

If there's been one episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day so far that we could've skipped without losing much of the overall story, Friday's "The Middle Men" was probably it. It's not like wasn't entertaining, but as far as getting closer to solving the mystery of the series—which is probably why most of us are hooked on the show—we only took about half a baby step toward learning the truth. Overall, the episode was all about escaping the overflow camps and blowing the whistle on the bad guys.

I got the feeling that the purpose of "The Middle Men" was simply to bridge the last episode with the next episode and reset things, so to speak. Get Rex and Esther out of the San Pedro overflow camp and get Gwen back to the States. Mission accomplished. Golf clap. But as far as real meat to chew on, we didn't really get any.

Instead, "The Middle Men" revealed just how much the Torchwood team flies by the seat of its pants. Rex filmed a bunch of stuff, faked being passed-out, punched a guard in the face, put on his clothes, announced he was smoking to get past security, and was finally caught because, well, he had a pretty flimsy plan. Esther kept on breaking lockdown rules, Jedi-Mind-tricked a guy into telling her where Director Maloney was, and couldn't come up with a convincing lie when she was confronted by him. Rhys just figured he'd drive a truck through some checkpoints and gave up Jack's name for lack of a better wit. No one had a plan, because they're all just winging it. This is understandable, given their circumstances. The problem is it can make for frustrating viewing, since in the end they pretty much just punched their way through whatever obstacles appeared before them. Or in Gwen's case, exploded her way out with a BOOM that would make Michael Bay jealous. Seriously, that was an impressive pyrotechnical display.

But—and I'll say this over and over until your ears bleed—even with some sketchy plotting, I'll watch Torchwood: Miracle Day 'til my eyes dry out as long as the main characters stick around. The originals, Jack and Gwen, lead the pack, but Rex and Esther have continued to grow on me. Russell T. Davies even manages to create memorable throwaway characters, and that goes a long way. The "They're all illegal immigrants, this is wrong, this might make sense in Mexico" guy was great! The tattooed landlord who loves tarts was hilarious! The gay flight attendant was memorable! That extra effort that Davies and his staff put in to make the universe they've created come alive makes the show very watchable—and it's arguably the most important part of giving a series an identity. The more depth the world has, the more we can immerse ourselves in it, the more we can forget about our horrible jobs and escape our banal existences, and that's exactly what Torchwood: Miracle Day does so well. It's like Calgon on your TV.

Beyond that, I'm kind of grasping at straws trying to find something to discuss about this episode. We learned that "the blessing" might be a key component to Miracle Day, though I wouldn't trust the COO of Phicorp (Ernie Hudson!) as far as I can throw him. We know that someone tapped into Gwen's contacts and is demanding she turn Jack in. And... that's about it. No Oswald or Jilly. We're no closer to the mystery of Miracle Day or proving/disproving my alien life-dust party theory. But we did get to hang out with some of our favorite TV characters for another hour, and that works for me.

Notes:

... It was nice to see some of you validate my theory that the cremations might be part of a plan to make some weird super life powder. Maybe I'm not as crazy as people think... aww who am I kidding?

... Eye-gouging! Biting! Screaming! Esther fights just like I do!

... Even if I knew I couldn't die, I wouldn't jump off a 45-story building. What's up with the 45 Club?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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My best friend saw this on Cartoon Network. Even they're taking shots at Torchwood.



Torchwood What happened? LOL

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/594/torchwoodfail.jpg/
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The American version has been a disaster ride of horrible writing, annoying characters, and stupid one liners...
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I didn't think the episode was that bad... beats the pants of everything else that's going on at the moment.
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OMG I am just loving Torchwood ( rearranged Dr Who) Truthfully I don't want to say my opinion because I watched all the other seasons of torchwood and think it has something to do with the doctor and the time travelers.
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I was still getting over the disturbing image of the lovely Starz drama veteran, Arelen Tur "Dr. Juarez", getting burned alive. I can't believe how much that scene, with Mekhei Pheifer's standing there recording but not doing to stop it bugged the s#it out of me.



Loved having "Warden Glen" er Ernie Hudson around and hope that he wasn't just given a one off. Him chosing the German defense of, but I'm just a middle man., was creepy.
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I'm still of the opinion that this has something to do with the Arch-Angel network that the Master set up. I mean, Oswald Danes referred to people as Angels after all, and the Arch-Angel network does have the capability to connect everyone the way they seem to be in this show.
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As the 88th member of the network, I would like to extend a cordial congratulations for uncovering our labyrinthine conspiracy.
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i have been a fan of torchwood since bbcamerica days and i will tell you this capt jack is always in a jam throwing the last hail mary pass and it always keeps me on the edge of my seat
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I feel ripped off.



They have dragged out the big secret of the "miracle day" way, way too long. I didn't even finish watching this episode, I thought it was that stupid. And reading what happened after I stopped has only reaffirmed that decision.



This is not Torchwood, but then again, Children of Earth was very different, too. But at least for all the slow, cloying melodrama COE delivered some really creepy alien stuff and the big reveal heart wrenching and jaw dropping (and I don't even like kids).



This Torchwood is not miraculous, just tedious.



Keep posting reviews. That is how I will finish out this story. I don't have time to actually watch such an illogical drawn out "story".
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I loved the old Torchwood, and love Jack, but this new series is dull as dishwater. No drugged upped space aliens or horrifying supernatural phenomena to explain what's behind the "Miracle". The only "conspiracy" shown so far is that the government is burning bodies that are unconscious or horribly maimed but can't die, which quite frankly seems to be a pretty good way to put them out of their misery to me. Gwen, whom I loved on the old series, bullies everyone in her path to get her father out of the Cat 1 camp, but has no concerns about leaving all the other cat 1s, behind. Hope the writers wake up soon and figure out where this is all going.
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You said it: the writers don't seem to know what is going on so they are resorting to caricatures and fights and explosions to fill up the time.



I noted that Gwen is now mommy, Owen and Tosh all rolled into one big mess (airplane ep) and very militant and bossy. It was good for a laugh at first but now I am wondering why no one has punched her.

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And what was up with Gwen blowing them all up in a terrorist-like bombing. Was the building magically empty? It wasn't two scenes before. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
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she blew up the module...witch was separated from the rest of the compound
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The investigator in Shanghai that was taking a look at a piece of land.

What the hell did he see that made him go join the 45 club or was he forced somehow....



The rest of the episode wasn't really worth discussing, except the ending prob :)

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With its latest episode, Torchwood writers have solidified their role as "the middle men" between smart sci-fi and mindless action.
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I hope Ernie Hudson does appear in another episode. He clearly is also trying to find the truth about the Miracle for his own reasons.
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The 45 club are losers :)
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great episode, loved the ending, right on
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I like the title of this piece, surprised you even know what Wales is, I have a band shirt from an American act that says Cardiff, England, and that just about says it all............(Cardiff is the capital of Wales, for the Americans that didn't even know that either.....>)
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So are you saying people in the UK have a natural affinity for geography? Cool story bro. 10 out of 10.
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By far def. the weakest episode... it dragged on for ages in those camps with those uninteresting prison characters getting unnecessary screen time... please let's get on with things...
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Really? This episode didn't advance the plot as much as the other episodes? I feel like this one did about as much plot advancement as every other one. Rhys/baby got kidnapped and a new(?) baddie made contact with Gwen, all while Jack got a slightly better idea of what to look for in order to figure the entire thing out, AND the rest of the planet pretty much got caught up with what Torchwood knew, minus the Phicorp thing. Other than that, I was pretty happy that there wasn't any Oswald in this episode, even if I think they spent a little too much time on the Rex/Esther thing.
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I honestly like this show better every week. It's so bad-a$$ and entertaining!! and I can't believe they turned Dr. Juarez into Nesquik chocolate powder! (dead). I saw her listed in imdb for 10 episodes, so I wasn't sure..... The show introduced the 2 Torchwooder's: Jack and Gwen; the 2 CIA'ers: Esther and Rex; and then the same episode that doctor Vera joins the group, she is shot twice and then incinerate alive! That sh..it gave me chills.... So this past episode was a step down from -that, but Glasses Face Murder Spree (or GFMS for short) took over as the episode's villain in place of an absent Oswald.... glad that guy is "dead" and can't wait to see what happens next!
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