Torchwood: Miracle Day: Count Your Blessings

Previously on Torchwood: Miracle Day: Gwen was deported! Rex was headed back to the CIA! Esther was driving Jack to an unknown destination, forcing us to spend the week in a state of terror over the possibility that Captain Jack Harkness, our so-handsome-I-question-my-sexuality hero, could—*gasp*—die. Oh, how I've been shaking in my boots for the last seven days!

But to no one's surprise, Jack lived. How? Who cares—the writers certainly didn't. "The Gathering" took place two months after the events of last week's "End Of The Road," which was simultaneously brilliant and a cop-out. Brilliant because the episode essentially served as a reset button for the series, which was in dire need of a fresh start after the last few episodes pushed the show into the orbit of planet Irrelevant. Cop-out because oh my god what was the real point of flashing back to the 1920s and spending an episode at Casa de Dead Italian Lover? Maybe the finale will bring all of that back and make me look like an idiot. I hope so.

But regardless of what happened before "The Gathering," the episode itself was pretty good, and I don't know if that's by comparison or on its own. The biggest difference between "The Gathering" and the three previous installments of Torchwood: Miracle Day (everything after "The Categories of Life," which might have been the series' highpoint) was that it actually made some progress. About as much happened during "The Gathering" as in the last three episodes combined. It went back to the pace of the season's early episodes constantly moving things forward (or at least making its side-steps interesting). Let's face it, Miracle Day could have could have gotten away with a six-episode season, and probably would have been better for it.

The big reveal of "The Gathering" was the Blessing. It isn't Jack, as many suspected. It looks like a gigantic, chapped, vertical sphincter and extends all the way through the center of the Earth, popping out in Shanghai and its—what's the word they used? Oh yeah—"antipode," Buenos Aires. This forced the team to split up, with Rex and Esther headed to Argentina and Jack, Gwen, and Oswald (Oswald? More on that in a second) off to China for what Jack said was their "biggest mission yet." I normally would have groaned over such blatant self-horn-tooting, but Jack managed to exhibit such childlike enthusiasm that it was impossible not to get caught up in the moment. Oh Jack, I'm putty in your cleft chin.

But let's get back to Oswald. How the heck did he get caught up in this thing? One problem I've had with Torchwood: Miracle Day (and Children of Earth) is that, toward the end of the series, the script ends up being held together with tape, glue, old chewing gum, and a little bit of snot. In Oswald's case, the writers obviously needed to find a way to get him to China with Jack and Gwen (for whatever reason that we'll find out next week). So they had him fly in from the States to seek out Gwen and put him in a room while Torchwood formed its ultra-secret plan, allowing him to blackmail his way into the gang by threatening to tell everyone what he just overheard. Fact: No members of an super-secret underground organization would plot their save-the-world Pièce de résistance with a convicted murderer, child-rapist, and potential arch-enemy in the next room. But that's what happened on Torchwood.

The coolest to happen in the episode, at least in my opinion, was Jack's blood being pulled toward the Blessing. For one, it looked really cool. For two, it clearly links Jack to the Blessing and will hopefully tie things together nicely. I'm really looking forward to seeing Rex's arm get pulled out of its socket when his briefcase full of Jack's plasma gets yanked toward the Buenos Aires end of the Blessing. That'll be a hoot.

One other step the show has taken in the right direction is creating a clear-cut villain out of Charlotte, the mole inside the CIA. Damn, I hate that b*tch so much and want her to die! But at least we have someone to hate after several episodes' worth of minor villains. Even Oswald has become likable in a weird sort of way, and who can hate Jilly? It's nearly impossible not to constantly fall in love with Lauren Ambrose.

We've got one more episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day left, and it's going to have to explain a heck of a lot. As of now, things are at least moving in the right direction. But even if the finale lands a perfect dismount, I'll find it difficult to recommend the series as a whole. What do you think?

Notes:

... Soooo, are aliens behind this or what?

... How would you describe the Blessing? Does "chapped vertical sphincter" do it justice? Could the Blessing be God's butt?

... How suspenseful was that scene where those jerkwads were looking for Gwen's dad? Answer: VERY.

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to little to late and way to much plot contrivance-it has been hard to take this series seriously-my love of Torchwood has diminished each episode-Gwen has just become annoying -way to much ranting for me to take her seriously as an action heroine-Oswald puts me to sleep -and the new charactors fail to engage-agree the rolling tele kinetic blood balls were kind of cute but the pink vagina was just a huge letdown --expect the ending will just be more explosions and a Gwen monologue if the clips are anything to go by--as for the source of the miracle sadly I am beyound caring
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How beautiful has Lauren Ambrose looked in every episode she's been in? This season has been weak but watchable. The worst part of the entire series has been the ridiculous score that is one of those awful scores that tells the viewer exactly how you should feel. With Jane Espensen on board as one of the writers, why didn't they use her SYFY connections to get Bear McCreary to do the scoring?
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Torch this show.
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I'm curious how they are going to tie in existing cannon with this. Firstly, Jack can never die as long as he remains Jack Harkness. For starters we find out in season 3 of Doctor Who that he is "The Face Boe" and not even the Doctor knows how truly old he is. Second, Jacks immortality comes from the heart of the Tartis which Rose used to resurrect him in the season 1 finale of Doctor Who. So the question here is are they planning on having some tie in back with Doctor Who or are they going to change the cannon. Thirdly we already know whats at the center of the Earth, a Racnoss Starship. This is occurs in the special "The Runaway Bride" in which the Doctor and Donna go back to the beginning of Earth's creation and see the ship form the Earth around it. So I'm really curious to see how this all rolls in with the existing cannon.
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I like the Oswald character, but yeah the season has been all over the map quality wise and never really seemed to know where it was going. Not even close to the excellent Torchwood: Children of Earth from last year. I imagine only die-hard fans are still watching - not good by any means, but i'll finish it out next week. Weak writing for the series as a whole though - very weak.
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I liked the overall show. From the first to this 9th episode. Yep... at times it slowed the pace... but I rather have a 10 episode Torchwood than a 5 one even if the other 5 are fillers. It let's me take my time to evaluate plots that are, let's say, a lil bit more elaborate than the usual.



I hope the last episode will be fantastic, and leave us with the need for a season 5.



IMHO
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Hmm, so first Davies pretends that Jack is gay (which he isn't, he screws pretty much everything as long as it's attractive) and now the big evil doomsday thingy looks like a giant vagina. Come on!
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greast episode, finally moving forward
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As far as the Oswald story goes, I think that his character was used by "The Families" as a test to see how well Jilly could manipulate public perception. At least that is my guess after watching the last episode. But before that, I thought that maybe he was a descendant of "The Families." Hopefully all will be answered in the final episode and there will be no cliffhangers.
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@raziela12, Wow, I never said that I like Oswald or his story. Although Oswold's character should not have been developed as it was, I was just agreeing with the article that Oswold has now become an odd addition to the final episodes. It is extremely weird and totally nonsensical that now he has become part of the team that is suppose to stop the miracle.



I think initially, Miracle Day was trying hone in a lot of religious connotation. The writers wanted to show that this event was more supernatural and religious. That is why there were a lot themes based on redemption and other stuff in which they tried to feature Oswold. But it failed miserable because that is not Torchwood. Torchwood is all about sci-fi and aliens.
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@watashii , there's one problem with "oswald doesn't fit into the show anymore". He never fit in to begin with. His whole Arc made no sense, we had to endure like 7 episodes with the pedophile with unbelievable story development, that went nowhere... He simply has no purpose yet, and I can't think of any way they are gonna change that in the last 50 minutes in a way that makes sense and is satisfying. If I had to watch all this oswald bullshit for no reason other than him telling the gang some miracle name last episode, which they could have gotten by any other deus ex machina plot device, that wouldn't have wasted 30% of the shows screen time, I'll be mad. Also still no explanation why they chose a pedophile of all people in the world...
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I was glad that the show hasn't lost its science fiction theme. For the past few episodes, it seemed that it was going towards the route of secret societies and government conspiracy. I hate the fact that all of the things are coming together in the last two episodes. I agree with Oswald's story. It just seems that he doesn't fit into the show any more.



The saddest part of the episode was when Gwen and her mum 'let go' of the dad, accepting that just because he was breathing, it doesn't mean he was still alive.
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Became bored with the original Torchwood series long ago, loved this one. I agree though, they could've easily trimmed a couple episodes and tightened it up. Wouldn't be surprised if it was originally shorter, but padded with more at Starz request...
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I think it's improving, its still no Torchwood: Children of Earth yet, but its definitely better than Torchwood season 1!
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And btw, that 2 month gap redefined the "Sookie-esque cliffhanger." From now on, if a main character gets shot at the end of an episode, don't take it seriously, hell the writers sure don't.....and it's getting old.// However, at least this episode did a good job of getting the action moving again..and gave us some interesting answers as well.. but I'm starting to suspect that 'Miracle Day' may be longer than just 1 season. TV.com now has it listed as Torchwood: Miracle Day- season 1; so maybe a season 2 is in the works? Either that, or Deus will Ex his Machina and 54 minutes later, the miracle will be over, someone important will have died, and Mr. Davies will have a new cashmere handkerchief.
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Point of contention: Rex and Captain Grumpy trust the ---single most important piece of evidence in human history--- to ONE person!!!! ...who may or not be "the mole?!?!?!" and in an ironic twist, that actress has several recognizable moles on her face.. so how she avoids suspicion completely is beyond me?? Especially after she delivers news that the DNA on the knife was a bust.
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I liked this episode, Miracle Day has redeemed itself for those few, let's just say, not-so-good episodes. Though I do agree with you, it would have been better as a 5 or 6 episode serial.
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This episode was MUCH better than the last two or even three. There were some major short cuts (ie. they arrive in China immediately, Jack is suddenly better when he looked more or less dead at the end of the last episode, etc.), but the pace was good and it ended the soppy and somewhat meaningless character development (of characters who are dead at that!).



How would I describe the blessing? I don't think I can say it in a public forum. Another comparison that came to mind, though is that if one side is the sphincter, as you suggested, and the other perhaps a mouth, maybe it's a sea urchin -- that's all they are comprised of, more or less.
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This episode was great! I was afraid I'd have to be ashamed of my beloved Torchwood for good. I thought the blessing looked really cool. I like how they made its image relative to the viewer.. I wonder what it will look like to Jack!
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How much you want to bet that the secret surrounding the Blessing and Jack is going to be brilliant and stupid all at the same time.
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i think that everytime someone gets hurt or should've died the hurt bits of their body go to the blessing eg if someones arm got chopped off it would go there but since everyone is immortal then the blessing has an unlimited supply of flesh and blood and humans to supply it until that huge gap is closed and it's whole.
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Great happy ending next week: Everybody is dying again!
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So, episode nine of ten. I agree that there were some good spots in the episode but the brightest element is that it is the penultimate episode of the series. My god, has this been boring!



Not surprisingly, we are set up for a deus ex machina ending to the series next week. We have accumulated absolutely zero information about how such a thing as the end of death could happen, so a quick, silly explanation is due.



Somehow, Jack's blood is connected to this Blessing. The blood moving was a great effect but brings up more questions that it answers. I will watch the final show only as a former fan of Torchwood.



Enrique mentioned his thought that there would be a season 5. It gives me a great fear of a cliffhanger ending. I can only pray this will not be the case.
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I have a theory about The Blessing. There is one thread that interweaves throughout most of Torchwood and that is 'The Dark'. Remember Suzie, the Risen Mitten, Owen's death, Abbadon - all of those events had major tie-ins to the idea of 'the Dark'. I've come to understand this concept as some sort of realm that belongs to, or is inhabited by, the 'unliving'. There are also some implications within the show that it is perhaps connected to the darkest, most hopeless recesses of a persons' soul, so to speak. Even Jack's own immortality has been connected to this concept within the show. Perhaps The Blessing is some kind of gateway into that realm, that once created on a massive scale, causes the Miracle Day phenomenon that spreads across the globe, and forces Jack's mortality.



"There is something moving in the dark... and it's coming Jack Harkness. It's coming for YOU."
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What if, say, back in the 1920s or 30s, some of Jack's blood was moved to Buenos Aires and some to Shanghai? Could the families have encouraged it to grow towards each other? It does look like a big blood vessel. Maybe it's "Big Jack" and since it exists, there can only be one immortal Harkness, so "Little Jack" doesn't count anymore, cosmically speaking.
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Something like that might actually give this series some continuity with Jack's Doctor Who backstory...it seems to be like the Face of Boe, which got revealed somewhere to actually be the remains of Jack at the end of time, seemed to me to be awfully big. Not sure you're right, but it is a good theory.
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Your theory is the most likely from the one's a read so far. Would explain a lot. Very inventive!
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Gotta agreed , a lot to like in this episode

- jack childish enthusiasm about gearing up for the "biggest mission yet"

- oswald wicked smile while blackmailing the team

- rhys was funny in his determination to categorize one oswald

- the thing about gwen's father watered my eyes. Seriously so so sad !!

-the BLOODWALK was Awsome !!!

BTW is it me or things gets exciting again when jack and gwen were back to england soil ??!!!
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England soil? England?:) Do you remember how Gwen reacted when the CIA agent/stewardess called her English?:))) She is WELSH! It's Welsh soil, England is another country. Or UK soil, as they are both in it.
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Oswald likeable???? Have you hit your head? I'd have dug a bloody big hole and buried the f*cker.



Anyway, I don't think it's aliens, although clearly some alien technology is somehow behind all this. Am I the only one who thinks it's obvious that the Blessing is being thrown in to the "giant vertical sphincter" to emerge through the 'giant vertical oesophagus'? You know Jack is going to go throuth it, right?



Also, you're right Tim (bet you don't hear that often), it's impossible not to fall in love with Lauren Ambrose!
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Have u seen Dr who, or the first seasons or torchwood? It's obiously alien. What else could it be. Remember the alien tech under the 1920's guys bed. That has to relevant to the blessing, cause from what I recall, jack still has that little piece in his shirt pocket. Unless he lost it between those two months. Or whatever number it was to the next episode. And its clearly not over. I'm sure they will put up season 5 soon. Yes, I said 5. This is season 4.
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"We've got one more episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day left, and it's going to have to explain a heck of a lot." I fully concur with this. I liked the episode, I really did. It had a wicked pace, and revealed a lot of information. But at the same time a lot of stuff went completely over my head. What did the dead guy from the 30s have to do with Buenos Aires? Why did Jack smuggle Oswald out of the US and why didn't anyone question this obvious point? Oh, so many questions. And what's worse is that I very much doubt they will answer all these open questions in the last 50 minutes of the season. They still have to deal with loose threads like Gwen's father probably dying (just my guess) when the miracle ends.
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Jack didn't smuggle Oswald out of the US Oswald said he'd made his own way there. What SHOULD be questioned is how Esther removed Jack's bullet and kept him from dying (gut shot must of AT LEAST nicked a bowel), scored a mess of blood bank bags AND got them BOTH to Scotland after escaping from CIA custody. Obviously the US borders are made of swiss cheese!
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Lol, Barbara... like the real U.s...

enter and go out as needed and wanted..
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Excellent use of jerkwads. I would have also accepted assclowns.
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