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Torchwood Fails to Pull Off a Miracle Ending

Apologies for the tardiness of this story, but my last vacation before the fall season starts delayed my recapanalysis by a few days. Next time I go camping I promise to bring my own personal wi-fi satellite.

After a fairly enjoyable start, the second half of Torchwood: Miracle Day inspired many hopeful mutterings. "It might get better" and "I just want to see how this ends" aren't exactly ringing endorsements, but I invested nine hours in this thing and liked some of the characters enough that I decided to stick it out. I suspect a lot of you felt the same. Friday's season finale, "The Blood Line," didn't wrap things up coherently, nor was it particularly satisfying, but at least it made a concerted effort to be entertaining.

I'm speaking of the final fifteen minutes or so, when everything went completely insane. Oswald had a bomb strapped to his chest, blood was oozing from Rex and Jack, and other characters were dying or at least near dying. That part I liked, somewhat guiltily, simply because it was ridiculously over-the-top and just stopped giving a f--. It was almost as if, while creating the episode, the writers looked at their watches and said, "Oops! We got so used to dragging things out way longer than they needed to be dragged out that we forgot to check the time! Let's kill some people off and blow some things up." And so they did.

In the process, we got a totally unsatisfying explanation for the Miracle Day phenomenon that I think went something like this: Some pink alien thing in the center of the Earth did it. I say "I think" because things got so ludicrous that who really even knows. The Three Families—the show's true villains—didn't show up in earnest until Episode 8, and their big plan was to cover up the Blessing with a bunch of dirt. Legitimate questions about the Blessing (the thing we've all been waiting to understand) were left unanswered. The Three Families' Shanghai representative even went so far as to respond to one of Jilly's questions with, "No idea. Isn't that wonderful?" Then she spouted off a few statistics about regional life expectancy. Well excuse us for asking!

Later we found out that the Blessing has been living symbiotically with the human race, and Jack postulated that it's been keeping everyone alive out of love. This crumbling pink chasm has a heart! How lovelyl. But it turned out the Three Families manipulated the Blessing by feeding it immortal blood (Jack's, from the flashback) in Phase One of their plan to take over the world. Ooooookay. Sounds like somebody just graduated from Supervillain College and spent most of their days sleeping in instead of going to class. If I have everything correct, which I'm not counting on because honestly I stopped caring, the Three Families were going to cleanse the planet by determining who lives and dies, and then they were going to take control of the banks... the domino effect being they would eventually rule the world.

Jack thought he could make the world right again by throwing his mortal blood into the Blessing, thus resetting its "plan" for everyone on Earth, but the Three Families informed him that both ends of the Blessing—the one in Shanghai and the end in Buenos Aires—must get mortal blood at the same time for such an operation to work. And when all was seemingly lost, Rex dropped a doozy: He'd transfused Jack's blood into his body. Bam! Take that ridiculous turn of events, Three Families!

So that's what those aforementioned fifteen minutes of insanity began. Esther got shot, Gwen's dad died, Jack died and then un-died, the bald guy got thrown into the Blessing, cargo elevators went up and down and then up and down again (seriously, did they need to show a close-up of the elevator over and over?), GIRLFIGHT! between Jilly and Gwen, then Oswald blew himself up while screaming incoherent babble. It was one of the most spectacular cover-ups of an ill-formed finale I've seen in quite a while and the only reason I don't consider the whole thing a complete waste of time is that I'm a huge fan of big-budget nonsense. One thing Torchwood excels at is making it seem like the show is doing something when it's not.

But the madness didn't even end there: Esther actually died, Jilly had another nonsensical meeting with the mysterious stranger, Charlotte was outed as the traitor, Rex got shot then killed Charlotte, and then Rex un-died in Captain Jack fashion. Cut to credits. So I guess we can now expect Jack and Rex to scuttle through the universe as a team? I don't know.

But that's how Torchwood: Miracle Day wrapped things up. Somewhere, even Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are feeling ripped-off.

Perhaps what's so maddening is all the wasted potential. There was so much to explore thematically that the show didn't cover—or tried to cover, but unsuccessfully. We got early looks at the world descending into chaos when no one died, but as the global situation got worse, the scope of the show got smaller and focused only on the core characters. In short, a great premise was based on was squandered.

However, it's still impossible to stay completely upset with the show. Jack and Gwen are two of my favorite characters on television right now, and Torchwood has been very entertaining at times. But am I going to care whether Starz or the BBC renew the series for another season? I doubt it.

Notes:
... Re: the Angelo-and-Captain-Jack-in-the-Roarin'-'20s flashback... now that the season is over and nothing really came of it, can we declare that a total waste?

... Oswald Danes goes down in history as the most interesting useless character of all time.

... If the Blessing wanted Jack's mortal blood, does that mean it decided being nice to people was a bad idea and it wanted us all to die?


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

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Ts, all that hate. Honestly, I liked the finale.
The plot was dragged out too long, yes. There's no second opinion on that.
But as I read it, the author of the article wanted to have things wrapped up nicely.
Well, sorry if there was too much *mystery* in the finale of a bloody *mystery* show! (Please read this with a welsh accent)
For me it made sense completely, maybe I paid more attention.
And for Rex... one blood transfusion doesn't make him immortal, not for long anyway.
Every season of Torchwood was different and surprising. I didn't know what to expect and that's something you rarely get these days!
Every show has its ups and downs, but frankly my only serious criticism is the length of the 4th season. Five parts like the third would have been enough.
Besides that I feel very much entertained, including the finale.
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Torchwood is just shyte, it has been from the beginning. There were about 3 maybe 4 good episodes in season ONE and then it's been, unbelievably, getting worse with every subsequent season. But you nailed one thing - it really does excel at thinking something really clever is coming... which never arrives. Instead what arrives is a giant steaming pile of turds and the writers admitting they... can't actually write.
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i hope torchwood comes back but i prefer the old torchood when they were five. But i still love it if you take off gwen and jack it will be a disaster

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Wat ever man, Torchwood still is one of the best shows out there. With the stupid story lines every other show gives us latley. Torchwood gives us the same thing it always did: mystic. I say keep up the good work Torchwood, come back soon.....
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I finally watched all 10 episodes (i had been waiting for it to finish).. overall, i liked it, but there's a strong chance that's just because i've watched Torchwood since season 1 years ago. the first 8.5 episodes were good, but the last 1.5 suuuucked. it was obvious Rex wasn't going to die, but i wish he had. can't stand that character.. Esther was so much better and they killed her off? wtf! but glad that Charlotte got what was coming to her, i blame her for Esther's death. and the Blessing - mother earth's vagina? what?! whatever! Torchwood is a show about aliens, not terestrial crap.. COPOUTCOPOUTCOPOUT! i hope Starz/BBC renews it though, i'll watch anything as long as Captain Jack and Gwen are along for the ride. maybe if they don't, whenever Amy Pond leaves the TARDIS, Jack can go back and take Gwen :p
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I definitely like the original torchwood better, but i'll watch any torchwood as long as Jack Barrowman and Eve Myles are in it.
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IT's JOHN BARROWMAN !!!! but I can understand the confusion Jack or John who cares? I love them both!!!
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I absolutely loved the scene where Jack tells Danes who he is, really. Maybe the best scene out of all 10 episodes.
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I liked it but I didnt... if that makes sense lol. The "what if" scenerio had so much potential... What if nobody died?

I was disappointed that Oswald was just a creepy bastard after all & there wasn't much more to his story

I think the Angelo story was just a complete waste of time. It was sad how Esther died though, I actually liked her. I didnt mind Rex becoming immortal, it made a nice little twist at the end.

So all in all, a nice start, a bit disappointing towards the end, but not a complete waste of time.
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The origional Torchwood is one of my all time favorite shows.I loved the every cast member,they were so great together neutralizing aliens and some of the "fun" artifacts they used when Jack wasnt looking. I still love Jack and Gwen,maybe they can come up with a mutation of the two shows to show the network and get another shot. Remember, it was the emergency prequel to Spartacus when unfortunately the actor was dx w/cancer and so to give him time the prequel had a MUCH bigger following and kept the show alive. I hope something like that will happen.I love John Barrowman,and if it cant be me with "Captain jack" then I accept Eve Myles as Gwen!
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I preferred the plots that lasted 1-2 episodes... and occasionally the big "OMG look what the villians have been doing this whole time" for the season finales. But yea- they brought in way too many new people and changed things up too much. This isn't classic Torchwood. The story was too dragged out... we need more "lets go kick some a**" attitude that Jack and Gwen have. The one thing I did like in this season, was Gwens character.. how she got really protective of Jack whenever he was in danger.
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Totally terrible take on Gaia Theory and eartly symbiotic relationships.. I was dissapointed at best. :/
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I really hope Starz has some inkling of an idea as to just how bad ,dull and corny this Torchwood not so amicable.... nor to Miracle-ish Day experiment was...

I don't remember where I read it, but Starz basically guaranteed only this season, but was going to keep the Torchwood Torch lit and options open, as long as Russ T. Davies brought them a great new and fresh idea, they would be happy to make another season. Ive got a great idea about a turkey sandwich for season 5.... and Gwen;s baby has rift powers, but eats the turkey sandwich, gets gas, needs to be burped.... yeah, almost as exciting as season 4.... ugh
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I really didn't understand the final standoff at the two poles of the The Blessing. Why didn't they stop Jack and Rex from releasing their blood? They just stood there and watched it happen! I get that they couldn't shoot them, but they could have, I dunno, snapped Rex's neck? Or those big guys with guns could have could have subdued them and tied them up. They could have done many things to stop them... they just stood there. Lame!
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Gave Miracle Day a miss, no Ianto, no Torchwood!!
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I didn't watch it as they forgot to bring back Ianto in this new story. But frankly the reviews I can see so far will not change my mind...And Jack looks OOC.

I think that they should really start back at the end of Season 2 and forget about this silly alternative universe they are trying to build since COE.
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I sure hope Torchwood will be back!
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I enjoyed the series, though was a bit disappointed. The writers had a great idea, but did not plan it out well over 10 episodes. They should have either shortened it to 6 episodes or lengthened it to 13 and completed all the different routes and questions the started.



However, I will always enjoy watching Jack and Gwen. And even though his character kinda lost its point in the series, the final moments with Oswald were quite entertaining.
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Even though I agree on some points I think you missed a few spots.

But it's not a total shock since Dr Who isn't what it used to be, or to be even more correct science fiction isn't what it used to be.



I think you are viewing it from a reality drama point of view, and that's what makes this a review a failure.



It sucks that Esther died...
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All I can say is I love Gwen even more but the rest was a big disappointment. A great idea wasted!

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the season finale isnt on the UK til Thursday eve, why is this published on the tv.com UK news section?!
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Um.. what's Thursday Eve? Do you mean... like... Wednesday?
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It just because us Americans want to rub it in your face.

**We stole your TV show ha-ha-haha-ha!**
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first of all we didnt steal there tv show, starz and bbc are just working together, and filming took place in the us and uk, the actors/actresses were also from both places.

second of all, grow up
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where the hell was the spoiler warning on this page!?!?
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when the title reads "Torchwood Fails to Pull Off a Miracle Ending"



wtf do you think is gonna be in the article?
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Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse: "Wow that was good!"
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I like the season finale, but felt it was seriously lacking more depth and sci fi goodness. I wanted to delve deeper into The Blessing, and what it was, where it came from etc.....

I think the characters were interesting, but some may have felt useless, but then again isn't this just how some people are, haha.
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Yeah I don't really know what happened to RTD. He use to be good with the setup and gave a pretty decent follow through. Now his setup is wonderful and his endings are kind of hum drum. There were just way to many hanging threads no one ended up giving two craps about. Ester's sister was a complete waste of time. Those "soul-less" people in masks were a waste of time. The fact that they couldn't find a thing cool to do with Oswald was ridiculous. Overall though it wasn't a bad summer series.
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Damn, this used to be good.



I'm going back to watch s1 & 2 where Ianto and Toshiko rocked and the 'verse made sense, this crap is just RTD subjecting us to yet another of his impotent wet dreams.





























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Didn't this show get a DirecTV/"Damages" style pick up when Starz picked it up? I thought it was guaranteed at least two seasons on Starz when the agreement was made which is why there were cliffhanger issues left.



I thought the finale was fine. The previous nine episodes had problems but everything was fast paced and we got our second reference to the Doctor of the season. (Why, oh why, couldn't they just find a way to get Matt Smith a brief cameo in an episode or better yet David Tennant's Doctor - that would have been very cool. The Doctor was definitely in the back of Jack's mind this entire mission.) Sure it had many nitpicky problems but the final hour did something the previous 9 couldn't, it made me care about Esther. Unfortunately, it still couldn't get me to care about Rex and if it comes back we have to deal with that stupid character with Jack's immortality.



I thought this was a sometimes shaky but fun 10 episode run of "Torchwood" but if usually reliable Jane Espensen and her fellow writers can't do better they need some new writers. I feel bad for Bill Pullman and Lauren Ambrose, they are good actors that in this series weren't given enough good material to work with. Ambrose's "Jilly Kitzinger" needed more screen time and a better story. Pullman's character never made sense at all.



There certainly were a lot of the same writers and producers from Joss Whedon's stable working on this show. This seems to be a theme on this show and "Spartacus". I think its safe to assume if Whedon ever gets back into television its going to be on Starz.
More+
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I don't remember where I read it, but Starz basically guaranteed only this season, but was going to keep the Torchwood Torch lit and options open, as long as Russ T. Davies brought them a great new and fresh idea, they would be happy to make another season. Ive got a great idea about a turkey sandwich for season 5.... and Gwen;s baby has rift powers, but eats the turkey sandwich, gets gas, needs to be burped.... yeah, almost as exciting as season 4.... ugh.
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agree, Angelo and Jack's 'love' episode was mostly waste of time. That was the most obvious filler episode. With less eps the show could have been much much better. Even so, I love Jack and Gwen's characters way too much to dismiss the whole Torchwood: Miracle Day as a total waste, and I do hope the show will be renewed in some near future (never enough of Captain and Gwen to me), though something must be done with Rex's immortality. there should only be one immortal scoundrel charming his way through time and space - JACK ;)
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love this season.one of the best.awesoooooooooome
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Compared to the previous "Children..." season, this was a load of Hollywood-low-budget-style SF dreck with plot and logic holes, slow pacing, terrible dialogues. May it not happen again.
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I really do hope that they will renew it, but I hope that they will then return to the original make of the series, i.e. different cases each epiosde like they still do with Doctor Who. Personally thats why I prefered season 1 & 2 of Torchwood to 3&4...
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Well it was all too obvious this was a way to start an american version of Torchwood. Set in the USA, and well the ending became quite obvious when they revealed Rex transfused himself with Jack's blood, and when the world resets voil, they have an american character who is now also immortal who will now obviously set up a Torchwood branch in the USA.



We cannot american producers realise that they cannot properly reproduce a British show just like that. British shows, although made for showing in the UK, can be watched by anyone in another country and they'll like it. American shows are made to americans, but many of them are not liked by people from other countries, especially when they are remakes.
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I thought The Office (in the first few seasons) and Being Human are both excellent remakes. It's wrong to say that all that American producers/writers are incapable, it has to do with someone's individual talent. If you have distaste for remakes-- fine-- but don't speak as if the entire world hates the American entertainment industry. American film is the most appreciated (in terms of revenue) of any country in the world, and in history. Heck, America INVENTED film!
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The whole series was such a let down. I was waiting on tender hooks for TW to start back. I do sincerely hope the BBC take this back and do not use RTD ever again. This has probably ruined Torchwood. What was the blessing, it looked like a vagina in the ground? Has RTD got Latent Heterosexual Tendencies?
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Well, well! What a total crock. I'm pissed that they killed off Esther and kept Rex, partly because if the next season features both rex and Jack there will be two Chiefs and one Indian (and let's face it, Gwen is practically a Chief now too) but mainly because I liked her character more than the others (and yes, I had a litte crush). I used to really enjoy the kind-of-screwed-up team dynamic when this show started and now there is hardly a team.



Anyway, FranVanster is absolutely correct about Jack (which I had forgotten). He is the fixed point in time, not his blood! Obviously the "blood transfussion" has somehow given Rex has immortality. It just seems to me that Russel T Davies tried to deliver big-budget and shocking rather than thoughtful, insightful and interesting and in the process he practically urinated all over the original concept of this show. What a huge disappointment.
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An episode of Doctor Who will explain the Blessing.
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They should fire RTD. His stories are just bad!
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Horrible ending, seriouslt dissapointed with this season, should go back to bbc, i agree
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This show is still on? xd
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Torchwood should go back to BBC. I think Russell T Davies went a little bit nuts with the big budget and forgot about the story line when he had so much explosions to fit into the series. They could also have done the whole thing in 6 episodes or less instead of dragging it out.
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Really big plot-hole with Jack's blood. He, himself, is a fixed point in the Universe and that's the reason he's immortal, not his blood, not something in it. But, whatever, I enjoyed the season. But I'm disappointed with The Blessing - it was just big butt cheeks.
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SO glad you're back, Tim. I want you to know, your reviews are far more entertaining than the show.



Sorry, I gave up several eps before the end. I am no fan of having my chain yanked like MD did. But I have been enjoying your explanations.



As to your questions:

1. Probably. It seems the writers suffered from oxygen deprivation or perhaps some form of brain damage several times during the course of trying to make MD clever and coherent. So a lot of red herrings that weren't meant to be showed up in the mix.

2. Probably. But a child rapist and murderer just never set right with me, no matter what else the character did or said.

3. No friggin' idea. (Obvs there were several spots where the writers appear to be about as illuminated as well.) LOVE the comment about Lost.



Thanks for taking one for the team so I didn't have to actually watch this.
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Actually, Rex didn't shoot or kill Charlotte, it was some white Dude that shot her.

What really sucked to me was that they killed off Esther and kept Jilly alive. But my mother told me (who watches the show much more religiously than me) that Torchwood is notorious for killing off liked characters (Ianto for example).
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Thought Torchwood has something to do with more aliens and not whatever this Miracle shit was about. I agree this season was the worst ever, Starz does suck along with most of their shows. Not surprising.
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I have been thinking about this and am wondering if they were trying to pick up a whole new audience. Cos as someone who has followed Torchwood from the beginning, they lost me.



But reading the other comments, there seem to be a bunch of people new to the party who loved this.



No accounting for taste, I guess.
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Okay jack says his blood isn't special, it's like normal blood right, so how does it make everything immortal, yeah his blood is an immortals blood but, his blood doesn't make him immortal, thereby NOT being the template of his immortality. If they wanted that they would need to get them a tardis and open her up. The whole season makes no sense in the Doctor Who world. At least with Owen it made sense.
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That was the thing you missed there, Jack's blood was normal, mortal blood. Nobody else's was. The Blessing needed mortal blood from Jack (the only source left on the planet) to reset its morphic field over the planet to make everyone else mortal again.
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It looked to me as if they were trying to end the season in a way to setup a continuing story for further seasons. And I expected Jack would come back to life after things went back to normal. (Remember the "Face of Beau" thing from Dr. Who?) If things went back to normal then Jack would be immortal again.



I found this was about the only really interesting episode of the season. But now that the world's economy is a complete mess, what's next?
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yeah this season has been the worst ever.... it can be fix if bbc takes over instead of starz
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I actually purchased Starz to watch this show. I though the BBC version of Children of the Earth last summer was some of the greatest TV ever. WOW, this Starz version of Torchwood was a total disaster, and a waste of time and money. The writing was awful, the over-acting was incredible, and nothing made sense and like Tim said, at the end I did not even care to try to understand it all. I was disappointed that they killed off Esther and let Rex continue (he is one of the worst actors I have ever seen). I think they should skip any further Torchwood, and just replay Children Of The Earth. At least now I can cancel Starz.
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I don't think the actor is the problem; the character is just so unbelievably unlikable.
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Children of the Earth was alright, but the ending was just mean!
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And to clarify for those unaware, Jack's BLOOD is not what makes him immortal. So the whole Rex reviving this is BS. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxZksQh26RU -- 2:32 -- "I bring Life" The other creatures she wanted gone were. And when she brought Life, it was Jack and Jack alone. I'm done.
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All I'm going to say... ONE FIXED POINT IN TIME. ONE. ONE. Time Vortex. F*U RTD for messing with Jacks incredible uniqueness. Yes, I would take another TW, but they better kiss Rex's ass GOODBYE like they did with Owen (and undying) Very annoyed. I'm pretty let down. Now back off to Part 2 of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for those who like TW fun.
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Apparently you missed the whole speech from Angelo's granddaughter about Jack being far from the most special or unique thing on the planet. Still, if Jack is so unique, immortal, and unchanging, wouldn't it stand to reason his blood would be too? His blood may not be what makes him immortal, but it is a part of him none the less.
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Was I the only one upset to see Rex live? It was like yes he's dead, then he comes back. GRRRR I think it's the actor I don't like. I don't think his acting changes no matter what he's doing. And then he asks Jack something like what did you do to me. And I'm screaming at the screen, well stupid YOU put his blood in you.
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I was SO annoyed. I had the exact opposite reaction when Tara and Debbie got offed (fist pump!). Rex should have died. Inexcusable and lame.
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I hope it does continue, so that we can have another great concept with tons of potential (a second Captain Jack) and the Three Families Plan B.

The fact that they even have a Plan B makes me think they purposely waited for Torchwood to show up and ruin the original plan.

Sucks to be the people who jumped off buildings... if only they waited 2 more months...
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