Torchwood: Miracle Day's fifth episode, "The Categories of Life," provided the most horrific look yet at what happens when no one dies. With the undead and undying piling up, the government has gone into Gestapo mode, rounding up the "children of the Miracle" and cramming them into "overflow" camps just like, well, take your pick—Jewish people in Europe in the early '40s, Japanese people in the U.S. later that decade, or fat kids every summer.
New sanctions have been approved by the United Nations and legislation has been signed in the U.S. to clarify the definition of "life." You're no longer just alive, you're either "healthy alive," "unhealthy alive" (Category 2), or "dead alive" (Category 1)—which is basically dead. Naturally, some people have a problem with this. The whole idea is a clever and messy mashup of the real-world principles of universal versus privatized healthcare and pro-life versus pro-choice, with the government deciding who gets what kind of medical care and what exactly "life" means.
Russell T. Davies has succeeded once again in keeping things accessible and interesting while theorizing on what would happen in a world where death takes a holiday. Halfway through the series, Davies' initical concept is still going strong, and I'm totally Category 1'ing to find out what happens next because I can't wait to see what happens to world where no one expires. I'm guessing your current level of enjoyment of the series comes down to how into the concept you are, and whether or not you were just hoping for some alien intervention. Personally, I'm completely fascinated by the idea; it's really solidly grounded sci-fi. But maybe we just haven't seen aliens yet.
The big reveal in "Categories of Life" was that the government is now taking control and, for reasons unknown, providing facilities that put the near-dead into EZ-bake ovens. They're essentially cremating the living. But why? To free up space in crowded and overworked makeshift hospitals for those who have a chance at survival? Fat chance. I'm guessing that the bodies, forever blessed with the magic of life, are being turned into ash so that crazy aliens can snort it at kick-ass alien parties. Or maybe they can dissolve it in some liquid to make alien Emergen-C? Granted, these theories are ridiculous (and awesome), but there's something unsettling about the fact that ultimately, these ovens are producing are a lot of ashy remains. Ashy remains that are still alive.
We happened upon this knowledge by watching Dr. Juarez get lit up on her first (and likely last) assignment as a member of Torchwood. It's her fault, though— she could have avoided getting broiled if she'd played it more cool. Knowing that cover-ups run deep, she should have kept her fussing to a minimum and escaped with the knowledge she had. I'm not going to shed any tears over you, Juarez, because you were dumb. Admirable, but dumb. And dumb people get themselves killed.
Elsewhere, Oswald set out for the Miracle Rally to speak on behalf of Phicorp. This thread is totally losing me. I love the character of Oswald, but I'm just not believing his situation, and the show isn't convincing me otherwise. Was his deranged, nonsensical speech about humans becoming angels so moving that he's become a voice for the people? And why were the people wearing "Dead is Dead" shirts (the slogan for Oswald's car-crushed opponent) suddenly jumping on the bandwagon? This Oswald storyline needs to grow some legs... fast.
All told, "The Categories of Life" was another entertaining chapter of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Sure, the series is the equivalent of a conspiracy theorist going off the deep end, but it's tons of fun.
... What do you think is the purpose of the Module ovens? Come up with a better theory than my alien dust-snorting party, please!
... Under what circumstances, if any, would you listen to the words of a child-raping murderer?
... Who was that mystery man who talked to Jilly?