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Torchwood: Miracle Day: Agents on a Plane


Spoilers ahead for Torchwood: Miracle Day's second episode, "Rendition."

It's fair to say that Torchwood: Miracle Day dialed things down a bit in its follow-up to last week's explosive season premiere. Still, I think the series is the kind of thing that you're either on board with or not into. As I said last week, the first episode of Miracle Day introduced a great concept (What if no one died... ever?) that tickled our intellect but didn't ramrod our brains with heavy science. Complementing that concept were over-the-top action (spinning helicopters! RPGs! People jumping out of exploding buildings!) and a pulse-pounding pace that made the experience feel more like a summer blockbuster than another Starz show soaked in blood and bouncing boobs.

But what happens when a lot of that action goes away? "Rendition" happens, that's what. A lot slower than "A New World," "Rendition" made the mistake odd decision to strap Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper in airplane seats for about 50 minutes, effectively deflating the balloon that carried the premiere to such lofty heights. I could have done without the poisoning Captain Jack plot, because I always can do without any plot that involves putting a show's main character in danger of dying. (Spoiler alert: He's not going to die.) Would we have missed that much if we'd seen the plane take off then cut to the plane landing? This smacks of Russell T. Davies and his writing crew stretching things out to 10 episodes. Perhaps that's why Torchwood: Children of Earth, which was only five episodes long, was so dense and able to sustain its pace. Have we already seen a "filler" episode just two episodes into the season?

Though this week's episode sputtered out a bit, you wouldn't know it given the music and active camera cuts. Such audio and visual cues are both a strength and weakness of the series (at least from what I've seen between Children of Earth and Miracle Day). When the intensity of what's actually happening on-screen matches the swelling music and frenetic camerawork, it's awesome. When it's attempting to get us all worked up over the crew pulling apart the intestines of an airplane to locate a substance we know they'll eventually find in order to save the life of a person whose life we know will be saved, it kind of falls on its face.

But even though watching Gwen and Jack on the plane reminded me of flying from Oakland to Burbank, I'm still enjoying Miracle Day for a few reasons. First and foremost, "Rendition" managed to retain the first episode's tone of "f*** it, let's just make this fun." The "I'm not gay" flight attendant was one of those jokes that got funnier as it went along; Rex's hard-headedness, initially maddening, is becoming incredibly entertaining; and you will never ever hear me complain about a leggy woman walking around with her head corkscrewed backwards. Is the whole thing ridiculous? Absolutely. Is it watchable? You bet. Going into Torchwood with the correct mental state—playful is preferred—is a must to get the most out of the show.

Walking into our lives for the first time this week was Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose from Six Feet Under—which is kind of ironic now that no one can die), a bottom-feeding PR firecracker who brightens the screen with a flurry of red. I think her performance is a perfect example of one of Miracle Day's strengths. It's so obvious that all the actors involved with the show are having fun making it, and that joy infects me when I watch.

There has been plenty of criticism against the show and I think I may be going a bit easy on Torchwood: Miracle Day, but that's a testament to its characters. As long as the show features Captain Jack and Gwen (even though she cries every episode), I'm going to tune in.

Question: How are you feeling about Miracle Day know that we're two episodes in?

Notes:

... I loved Gwen's reaction (pictured, above) to seeing Lyn walking around with her head turned backwards. Just an "oh boy, here we go again" with her eyes.

... I liked this exchange: Gwen: "Why should we go anywhere with you?"
Rex: "Because I have a car."
Why does that crack me up so much?

... I noticed a curious thing while trolling around the Torchwood pages on our site. Miracle Day's first episode earned an 8.9 rating from users on the Torchwood: Miracle Day page, and because we have a duplicate for some reason, an 8.2 rating on the Torchwood page. That leads me to believe that longtime Torchwood fans aren't liking the show as much as Torchwood virgins, which is to be expected. So: Longtime fans, how do you feel about Miracle Day two episodes in? Let us know in the comments, please!


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

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I've seen every episode from the first three series multiple times and have read (most of) the novels at least twice. I never really got into the magazine (too expensive), but I am a longtime Torchwood fan. I think that what I am struggling most with is the absence of Owen, Tosh, and Ianto. It wasn't so bad in CoE because we at least had a UK cast replacing the three... but an American cast has made me completely lose the the sense that this blockbuster-esque show is really Torchwood. I think that the ten episode format is entirely too long and everything definitely drags. The actors also don't have all that much to work with. I mean, I'll watch because I am an old-time fan, but I believe there are many aspects to this new series that will off-put new and old viewers.
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It's a filler episode only if you focus on the plane ride, but other things happened to other characters not on that plane (and there were some pretty big reveals).
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I actually thought Ep2 was bettter than Ep1. I loved the humor and the character interplay on the plane. The only aspect I'm not enjoying is the Jilly character. I find her terribly annoying.
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As a long time viewer, I thought the second episode was fantastic. After all the action from the first episode, this one set up the exposition for how things are getting exponentially worse. The medical panel scenes were great, as it really illustrated how the "miracle day" is just the opposite. The nerd in me was impressed by the science and nuance that was injected into those scenes, added to the sense of foreboding that the future will hold as Torchwood gets into the thick of things. But really, I thought I was reading an article written by Lily Sparks, what with the bi^^hing and complaining about an exposition episode. Every season is bound to have them, so deal with it. So you didn't like the poisoning plot line? Well tough ti^^ies! It wasn't about putting Jack in danger, it was about illustrating how devious this sub-sect of the CIA is about deleting everything and everyone that has to do with the Torchwood Institute. The Jack in danger scenario was just a side effect of showing the conspiracy going on around them. Yes, we knew was was going to happen, but it was still fun to watch Gwen take over and start ordering everyone around.
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It was Superb, I really enjoyed watching it and especially Gwen she was perfect :D
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@CynthiaMacFar No you don't. Enjoy!
Great transition episode and the team is taking shape and the involvement of different characters to the story is becoming a little more clear. Time for Jack and Gwen go to work.
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@CynthiaMacFar - No. I haven't and I do.
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i have always liked torchwood, even though the first season was uneven in quality,. One of the things i liked was it;s hard core, no prisoners taken attitude. Take a different route no problem, kill beloved lead 1 2 3. This is cheeseball tv, it;s like compairing heroes to misfits, same basic idea different attiitude

The added cast members have not shown anything that i see as a plus, Rex is useless, blondie well if the cia is reliant on these people boy is the usa in trouble. i'm finding less and less reasons to watch this,
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Do you need to watch Torchwood season 1-3 to understand what is going on now in Miracle Day???
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While I liked the episode overall, am I the only one that wants to see Rex have his head detached like the blown up guy last week and shoved where the sun don't shine? Like Gwen said, such a full of himself, clueless little man. Hopefully, know that he realizes he is expendabe his attitude may change.

I think this was more of a transition episode than filler. They had to get from there to here, and maybe tried to stretch it out a little too much. But they also established that the CIA is compromised and involved in the plot to destroy Jack and Torchwood, that people aren't actually immortal just remaining animated post death. (So Rex and The Pedobear are indeed doomed). The flight attendants best line, "I'm not GAY It was just ONE time!!!



I think Jilly is more than just an ambitious PR agent. She knows too much and showed up at the Doctors conference giving a few too may hints. If she's not directly involved, she knows who is or works for them. I feel that this episode was like a baseball manager submitting his line up card. We now know who the players are and can now get on with the game, so, I can't wait for next weeks episode. Welcome to Torchwood indeed!
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So far AMAZING !!
I'm a newb to torchwood or dr.who but this one is so intense can't wait to see the next one :)
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I love it!! :)
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I am liking it so far, the style has changed, and everything is on a bigger scale (story- and locationwise). Rex is going to get his behind handed to him, so Mekhi is toning it down already.
And Gwen is making it awfully clear, that from now on, this is a Torchwood Operation ;)
So, thumbs up! RTD made the jump to America and made it quite nicely.
I just wish, I could unsee the series spoiler from the BBC, that was really uncalled for!
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As someone who has watched Torchwood from the beginning, I think you're probably right that newbies might be feeling the love more than longtime fans, because there are, at least ostensibly, differences in the dynamic (J&G answering to Rex, etc). I'm hopeful that that's a misreading, though, and coupled with that I will observe that I, like @TemiTC, didn't feel like this was actually filler. The first episode put the pieces on the board, which is perfectly fine and was a whole lot of fun. The important work that the second episode did was to set up (reasonably) plausible scenarios that would allow for Rex and Esther to get cut off from their initial CIA allegiances, so that they could become part of the team. Gwen had her tagline at the end of E1, when Rex exploded about "who are you people?"--her reply was "We're Torchwood." There was a similar moment at the end of E2, when Esther is freaking out and wondering what's going on, and Gwen says "Welcome to Torchwood." First ep was about establishing (mainly for new viewers), what Torchwood is. Second is about putting together the people who are going to be on the team. Done and done. Also we now have the face of the Little Bad (the CIA dude who used to be on Seinfeld), and the rotating triangle as an indicator of the Big (or at least Bigger) Bad. Also, Tim, I'm honestly not sure why you find Rex's shoutiness so appealing...I certainly didn't, because it's so one-note. I was actually really relieved to see him beginning to dial it down at the end, as he seemed to realize that, yeah, Jack and Gwen are far, far more badass than anything he's used to (that was actually another important function of the episode, too, because it was a change in attitude that began on the plane, when Jack started talking about morphic fields and then Gwen took charge of improvising an antidote, and made it work).

Some of this business is clumsy, and clumsier than it was when Torchwood was solely a BBC property, but I think this was actually an important episode, and while it could have been done more gracefully, it achieved its objectives in terms of building the story arc. I am optimistic (guardedly so, anyway), about seeing what will transpire in E3. And in any case, I'm glad to see Gwen and Jack back in action.
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The two characters (Gwen & Jack ) haven't changed at all. I'm a big fan of both Dr. Who and Torchwood, and the only thing Miracle Day has toned down on is the sexual/nudity side of things. It definitely has a more "Dr. Who 2005" feel to it, just a bit more intense. I love it so far and am looking forward to the rest of the new series.
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I've asked staff several times to remove the Torchwood listing for Miracle Day "New World," they refuse to do so. The reason there are two separate Torchwood pages (Torchwood and Torchwood: Miracle Day) is because Starz wanted their own page. Which is fine with me, but why staff won't remove the one under Torchwood that was approved before we knew there's be a second series page, I don't know. If you want to remind them, Tim...
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I've seen all of Torchwood and I'm pleasently surprised by the new season so far. I had stalled watching the first episode until today, because I was still mad at the show for killing off so many characters I liked, but I've got to say, that I'm pretty hooked all over again (even though the two remaining characters have never been my favourite ones). And yes, I've noticed the high heels as well and they're ridiculous. I'm always wondering how women wearing this kind of shoes can still run and don't break their necks ...
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I loved it! Cpt Jack rocks and Gwen is just hilarious. I also liked the doctor and Rex very much!
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the episode was just awesome.am having fun.lovr gwen and captain jack
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As a long time fan I can certainly agree with your guess that we're not enjoying it as much as the newbies. You say that watching Torchwood you should go in with the right mind set, playful, but that's the problem for me, the show isn't nearly as playful as it was in the first two seasons. That's largely in part due to Rex's character for me he imbues the episodes with a tone that's very jarring and not at all Torchwoodesque to coin a phrase. In the past the Torchwood crew would have left him with his jaw gaping and his head spinning he wouldn't have known what hit him, but now they're answering to him. They're like birds with their wings clipped which sucks all the fun out of them so for me it's just not fun yet. I keep waiting to see the Gwen and Jack I remember but so far there's no sign of them. Mind you, they already were somewhat different in Children Of Earth so it may just be a natural evolution, but I'm just not feeling it and am having trouble coming along for the ride.
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Never seen Torchwood before, but so far Miracle Day is awesome!!
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I have seen all Torchwood, and I almost couldn't bear "Children of Earth"! So I got very happy when I discover that the series would be maked in America. Meki Phifer's caracter "Rex", I thought in the beginning, was an odd decision, but now I think the caracter is perfect for him. I had a hard time trying to adjust to HHSS. It's not the heels, but that she reminds me so freaking much of Sally Field ...!
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I am starting to realize that I have to look at this as a completely different show than the previous seasons because of the new format and structure. It may take some time but it is good to see the show back in any form and it is good that they are throwing in references to the characters and stories that came before. Though I am surprised that Jack or Gwen has not mentioned that this is not a complete switch in that while everyone is now immortal, they are not able to heal like Jack was. At first I thought that maybe the earth has become a fixed point in time like Jack was but now it seems this company is involved.
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OMG. I am so glad i'm not the only one that noticed the heels. COME ON!! They are ridiculous!!!
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I normally agree with the reviews but the episode didnt feel like a filler at all!
It was excellent. And no they werent in the plane the whole time!
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So we are two episodes in and I still want to beat the living daylights out of Rex and his soppy sidekick, preferably using her stupid hooker heels (a la Single White Female). They are a complete waste of airtime and are, so far contributing absolutely nothing to the story line. Oswald Danes is played to brilliance by Bill Pulman who is, in my opinion, a highly under rated actor. As for Freidkin (the boss played by the idiot from one of the Jurassic Park movies) I just cant wait till he gets his come-upance and preferably dispatched in the next episode. I get a feeling that this drug company Phi-corps are a big part in the 'miracle' based purely on them pushing the red headed 'PR' woman at Danes and the Doctor who fixed Rex. The episode loses a half a mark each for the over use of Rex and HHSS (Hooker Heeled Soppy Sidekick) so only a 9 out of 10 this week.
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I loved it. I am actually warming to Esther - although god - get rid of the heels -girl, and this felt like Torchwood to me and I've been there since day one of the show. Smart and sexy Jack, was a favorite. Watched it twice and cannot wait for next week.
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So far so good. Still has a bit of the funny side to it, with Lyn walking around with her head backwards. That's still the Torchwood we know. Though it did have some elements of Doctor Who in there as well. The part where they are making up the counter cyanide solution was reminisce of Doctor Who - The Lodger as well as another previous episode with David Tennant. I'll definitely be watching the rest of the 8 episodes :)
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Two cuts pf the show, are you suggesting there are two edits of each episode, one fo the US and the other for the UK, cos many people have seen both and for the life the them can't find a jot of difference between the two, other than the UK putting the (what feels like) 20+min spoiler at the end.
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Someone who thinks Torchwood is light, playful, and just for fun, must not have a very wide range of tastes, does not get out much, or does not like to experiment.
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cant wait to see more
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Should be noted that there are two "cuts" to this show.
One is the US version - cut as a brand new show.
and the other is the UK version - cut as the next season of what we already have (old torchwood).

That may be one reason why you have two pages, and why you likely should have.
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OMG, it was an excellent idea, I loved these two eps sooo much :) gay-not stewart, agent wich broken neck and Jack was all funny, I can't wait to see the rest of the story :))))
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There is definitelty an adjustment going on. I am not giving up.
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I think we have the american influence to thank for this "fk it anything goes" attitude, cos imho British TV is never able to embrace such fabulous abandonmentness. :)
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As a long time fan of the show, I was a bit wary coming out of episode 1. I really enjoyed it but it felt a little bit too over the top. To be honest though, most of that feeling probably came from the fact that tonally, Miracle Day is clearly a very different beast to Children of Earth. Acknowledging that, I enjoyed episode 2 a lot more. I preferred that they didn't rely on explosions and action movie type scenes to bring the thrills of the episode and I loved the fact that the show slowed down because, in my opinion, Torchwood's best episodes are the more talky ones (see Captain Jack Harkness from season 1, or A Day In The Death from season 2). I must admit, while I hope the show continues the dark and morbid tones set forth towards the end of Children of Earth, I am totally loving the whole "f**k it, anything goes" attitude that this series has so far.
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i think Jilly Kitzinger is a major character in the show im very suspicious about her maybe i'm wrong but the way she forced her buissiness card in the hands of that doctor might be something to think about maybe its laced with something and she is a alien causing miracle day
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Loved ep2 to bits. Didn't feel like a slowing down at all. And all the apollo13 type affair of creating the antidote, loved that too. The "well it was only one time", yup, loved that as well. And the uber redness of the 6feet under lass, and the head screw. Also love that the writer seems to have put in a great deal of thought into the consequences of no-die, all that stuff about cells and skin stuff. I'm just full of love here man :)

btw: all you Americans should thank your lucky stars you didn't watch ep1 in England, cos after the show the BBC, in all their wisdom, ran a 3+min extended preview of the whole seasons storyline. Spoiler filled galore. Cue thousands (well maybe 10s) of peeved off viewers flooding forums with their peeved off ness. America rocks :)
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This show is amazing and great
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I will always love Torchwood, and I'm enjoying Miracle Day, but I must admit, it's painful to watch each new episode just because they killed off 60% of the main cast by the end of season 3. Now I'm watching and missing Tosh, Ianto and Owen... Now all we're left with is Capt. Jack & Gwen (Yay!) and a bunch of new characters I don't really care about all that much. =( Nor do I want to get to know. I mean damn they even shipped Rhys back over the pond! =/
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what is the name of the guy(gay) flight attendant!!!!!!!!!!! i feel like i've seen him somewhere else on tv????
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