Torchwood: Miracle Day, Ep. 10: “The Blood Line”

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Torchwood: Miracle Day Review, Episode 10: “The Blood Line”
Written by Russell T Davies and Jane Espenson
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Airs Fridays at 10pm (ET) on Starz

This week, on Torchwood: We get an expodump, re:Blessing, Jilly drinks the kool-aide, there’s blood-letting all over the place, and Rex wakes up

It’s been a long and uneven season for Torchwood: Miracle Day. Everything has been building to this finale and after weeks of ups and downs, Miracle Day goes out in such a way to prompt this reviewer to disappointedly put it on the shelf with other “didn’t happen”s (such as the Star Wars prequels, the Matrix sequels, Indy 4, etc.). The payoff doesn’t justify the weeks of filler and runaround and certainly doesn’t live up to the best of Torchwood’s previous seasons. It’s an episode of exposition punctuated by a few punches and explosions, with just a dash of “Gotcha!” twists. There are no real answers given about the Blessing, other than some mumbling lip service paid to the Doctor and the Racnoss and the Silurians. If that’s what the destination is going to be, then the journey had better be pretty phenomenal, and this journey was anything but.

Not only does Oswald Danes prove insignificant (it could easily have been Gwen strapped to that bomb or ready to trigger a remote detonator), so does Jilly (though apparently she can keep up for a while with Gwen in a fight?). None of the main villains do anything particularly of note over the course of the season, besides speak ominously and obliquely, and even Esther does nothing of interest in the finale, besides act as a hostage. Rhys is sidelined all season and while PC Andy’s appearances are welcome, he is wasted as well. Gwen doesn’t change over the course of the season at all. Rex changes by the end, but let’s not even start on the absurdity of that development, and for a character so desperate to hold on to life a few episodes back, Jack is happy to throw his away here. The very little time spent exploring the relationships of these characters have been poorly executed, on the whole, and much of the development of the past seasons has been forgotten. Jack, willing to sacrifice his grandson when push came to shove in Children of Earth here isn’t sure if they should sacrifice Esther? It’s ridiculous- it not only makes Jack weak, it trivializes the end of CoE.

Though Gwen is given a few strong moments, all of which Eve Myles knocks out of the park, the majority of the script is groan inducing. The previously mentioned “Gotcha!” moments are particularly frustrating. The “The blood bags were just a red herring!” reveal would feel a bit forced, but acceptable if we hadn’t been treated to an earlier scene of Rex and Esther discussing how important they are (when no one else is there to overhear them). No one knew that they had them- who were they planning to fake out? Also, why did Jack and Gwen need to think they were dead? They weren’t communicating with the CIA or anyone who could possibly be a mole, so how could it hurt to clue them in? Lastly, to go a bit Whovian for a moment, shouldn’t the Doctor have a better idea what the Earth is made of than the Families, considering he saw its creation? He seemed to think the main thing at the center of the planet was the Racnoss. And the Blessing is more powerful than the Time Vortex? Not only does this finale manage to undermine the end of Children of Earth, it does the same to “The Parting of the Ways”, the series 1 finale of NuWho.

One of the major strengths of the season has been Lauren Ambrose as Jilly Kitzinger, but here she’s over the top and hammy. Bill Pullman continues to overact as Oswald Danes, though to a lesser extent than in his earlier appearances (until his last scene, at least). Mekhi Phifer never rises above ordinary, which is frustrating considering he is usually a strong, charismatic presence, and Alexa Havins leaves little impression in the finale. Eve Myles, however, once again proves herself a talented and incredibly likable actress; it would be great to see her break out into more high-profile roles. John Barrowman does his best with what he’s given, and Jack’s take down of Danes is particularly strong, but there is only so much he can do with this script.

The episode ends with a clear setup for a potential season 5. The Families reveal through Blue Eyes Guy that (once again, “Gotcha!”) the Blessing is also a red herring and their evil plot for World Domination is still on. Rex somehow gains immortality, so either Jack’s blood is magic after all, contrary to everything we’ve seen on Torchwood so far, or the Blessing is intelligent and powerful enough to pick someone to turn immortal (for funsies! For hilarious season 5 hijinks! To keep Torchwood strongly tied to America!). Not all of Miracle Day has been a waste. There have been some interesting, thought provoking, fun, and kick ass moments, but taken as a whole, the season has been an utter disappointment. Starz has indicated that they only have interest in a fifth season of Torchwood if creator Russell T Davies comes up with another concept he’s interested in exploring, as he did in Children of Earth and Miracle Day. Many speculate that this means a continuation of Torchwood is at the least a few years away, if any will happen at all. Earlier this summer that would have been a disappointment. Now, pardon the pun, it feels like a blessing.

What did you think of “The Blood Line” and Miracle Day as a whole? Drop a line in the comments!

Kate Kulzick

Follow me on Twitter @theteleverse to see what else I’m watching and stay up to date with SoS TV

15 Comments
  1. James says

    Badly plotted and scripted season. I’m a fan of series 1&2. There are so many great stories written by the masters of sci-fi over the past 60 years to adapt to Torchwood. Missed opportunities.

  2. Peter Cimini says

    I know old fans were not happy with the some characters and their development, with the plots and the writing. But I never heard of let alone saw Torchwood before this. So the writing was silly at times but you know what? I love Jack and Gwen and when you love you overlook a lot.
    2 things: Wrong name for Wayne Knight character. Would have been great to see the Captain sneer “Hello Newman.”
    And the sequence of Jack hung up being muredered again and again was un believavble. Thanks for everyone’s insight.

  3. kevin maltby says

    For me, Mircacle Day was average – with it being over 10 episodes compared to 5 for Children of Earth, it felt they needed to put more of the world collapsing as a bridge between the opening and the finale. It could have been done with less episodes which personally I think would have been slightly better. Rex gaining “Jack” immortaility at the end for me was wrong. It has been clearly stated t5hat Jack’s immortaility is as a result of him being a “FIXED POINT IN TIME AND SPACE” as a result of Rose bringing him back to life with the heart of the tiem vortex in Parting of the Ways. I think it would have been better for Rex to stay ‘immortal’ but in the way he has been durign the season, almost in the way that Owen was towards the end of series 2, but rather than the dead man walking, a living dead. Being like Jack and dying then returning to life is a cheap shot. As a whole I enjoyed the series, but at times felt it was a bit too long. I felt Alexa Havins was brilliant and it was such a shock for her to die at the end, sanme as Vera Suarez. I would like to maybe see Micky and Martha in the next series. I think Jack, Gwen, Martha and Micky would be a fantastic team. I think next time there should be 2 sperate 5-episode stories in one year as opposed to one mega 10 episode storyline, as I feel it is slightly better

  4. theoncominghope says

    This season was so disappointing that part of me wishes that the show would die a merciful death.

    But if it doesn’t, here are my 5 wishes for any future series:
    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/09/5-things-i-like-to-see-on-next.html

  5. CJ says

    Why Oh Why are so many so disapointed in Miracle Day? I thought Blood Line was the best way to close out the Season, I mean if it had to be closed out! I was glad to see that Rex will join Torchwood having lived with Capt. Jack;s blood for a while. Were you really surprised to find that they both gave up so much blood and came back once the blessing was restored to it’s naturale state of being? Get a grip people! I mean really? I don’t ever want Capt. Jack to stop gracing my Television set with his adventures. It’s about the journey kiddies, not the destination! I feel the journey this Summer was well worth the price Starz! Rock On!

  6. Carl says

    I see Rex’s immortality as a plot device to either split the show into American and British versions or as an option if John Barrowman chooses not to continue.

    What’s been said that hasn’t already been said. As finales go, it wasn’t awful. It’s just that the series it’s wrapping up as just so disjointed and mediocre.

    I have a real question for those who did enjoy it. What happened in the first 5 episodes that was in any way relevant to the resolution? Prior to the final two episodes, what did the Torchwood team actually accomplish?

    So much of this series was handled through exposition and not even of the way typical mysteries handle it. In a typical mystery, the detective is the one who puts the pieces together and explains it. Torchwood had to wait for a hundred year old man to send his granddaughter.

    Remember how Jack signalled a ship at the end of CoE and left Earth? Wouldn’t doing that again have restored his immortality since he’d be out of range of the Blessing? If Angelo could rig a piece of technology to block it, certainly a few light years would work too. It might have saved him from two months of healing.

    Someone can get into CIA HQ with a bomb in their purse?

    The whole last scene felt tacked on. Wouldn’t have it made for a more interesting next season to have had them recruit Charlotte as Esther’s replacement?

    Of course Charlotte’s another problem. She’s little more than a cameo in ep 2, and suddenly important once we’ve forgotten all about her. It’s like Wayne Knight’s sudden reappearance in the series in episode 8. This could have been easily addressed if they’d actually peppered in a few scenes of the CIA hunting for Torchwood in the early going.

  7. Kate Kulzick says

    Hey Justin- I wrote the article. Sorry you think I’m a moron, but I am glad you enjoyed Miracle Day. I just wish I had.

  8. Piecar says

    This was the best episode of this season. This is not saying much for the season, which has been a slackly paced mess. People are stupid because the script requires them to be, only to be smart later. Characters get introduces only to be dropped with no follow up. Other characters, (and by this I mean DANES) stick around the entire season for absolutely NO REASON. That is the biggest thing that irked me. What exactly was Danes supposed to be doing? He’s famous for surviving an execution, and so becomes some sort of hero? Hello? EVERYBODY survived an impending death for a time…..And if everybody who was supposed to die died after the event was over, shouldn’t he have just died?
    And we have the world’s most boring Mexican Standoff to watch. Speechifying and talking while not facing each other and saying you’re going to do something, but not doing it. Rex talks about, letting blood loose from his body for what seems like half an hour before he pulls off the amazingly airtight gauze bandage that was thwarting The Blessing’s efforts to get the blood all that time. They didn’t have a gun. Couldn’t one or all of assembled guards just run up and hold him down, or conk him on the head or something? Job done! And we’re all supposed to be surprised that Rex is suddenly immortal? Didn’t they telegraph that ten minutes before the big shocker?
    You’re spot on about Eve Myles, though. A terrific actress, and she just kills every soliloquy she has to deliver. I was so happy she was the one who got to mention the ridiculous amount of make-up Kitzinger was wearing. And nice blowing of the hair after the fight was over.

    All in all, it was a horrible season, and the best tools in the toolbox were mostly wasted. Jack had almost nothing to do all season, there was no real sci fi-y stuff in evidence til close to the end, and even the “big event” were made dull by the crappy pacing.

    I assume Rex being immortal goes to Gwen’s speech about The Blessing’s grace while leaving the Chapel. The Blessing DID give a final gift. It just gave it to Rex (one who was sacrificing himself) and not Esther (apparently it was watching the series too and realized she was basically an expositional device and so was expendable.)

  9. Justin says

    Whoever wrote this article is a moron. I would first like to confront the comment that Miracle Day did not live up to past Torchwood. The entire first two seasons were nothing but a slightly okay spin off of Doctor Who and was mediocre at best. I honestly found myself finish the first two seasons for my love of Doctor Who. Children of the Earth is what really started my enjoyment of Torchwood.

    Overall I would say Miracle Day is more of an art work than a show. It has gone above and beyond writing and storytelling of Doctor Who in my opinion.

    The last two episodes were a bit rushed, but I feel the character and story development made up for that.

    As for not explaining what the Blessing really was, what did you expect? The Blessing’s mystery is what made the series so interesting!

    All in all Davies is a great writer. I loved the constant plot twists. After all I would say Davies is the king if plot twists, THAT is what is evident from Doctor Who. Russel T. Davies is the man who brought a dead series back from the grave and made a story that touched the hearts if millions.

    Miracle Day was great, and I look forward to the next great series.

  10. Faye Nance says

    I watched every episode but some were hard going. I didn’t connect with any of the characters even Jack. The concept, the idea was great but they didn’t deal with it as well as they could have.

    Children of Earth was just so good, which meant Miracle Day had a lot to live up to.

    I still love Jack and want to see more of him, but send him back to England.

    What annoyed me was the over the top action scenes, the drawn out story of Gwen’s father, I mean the guy could have gathered frequent flyer points the no of time he went back and forth to the “camp”

    Bull Pullman’s character whilst good a times seem to turn up an inappropriate momnets when they could have done just as well without him.

    The series could have been two episodes less and probably would have been better, it was just to drawn out. Remembering Children of Earth was only five episodes and each one felt like five minutes they went so quickly. Miracle Day didn’t have that feeling.

    There were many unanswered questions which you shouldn’t expect to be answered in a “possible forthcoming series” that may never eventuate.

  11. Serena says

    I doubt if Torchwood will be renewed after the fiasco that is Miracle Day.

    Check the credits: RTD did very little of the actual writing. His strengths were always snappy dialogue and character development, and not plotting, so having lame American writers try to write scripts around his plot ideas just meant we had plot developments that made no sense, new characters we didn’t care about at all (Rex, Esther, Danes, etc.), and almost nothing of the interaction/development for the characters we do care about (Jack and Gwen).

    I fast-forwarded through most of the episodes of Miracle Day. Episodes 1, 2 and had some decent action and episode 8 had some good Jack moments, but the only episode I could watch in its entirety was Episode 7 (“Immortal Sins” – Jack’s past and Torchwood mythology). By this time, I’m sure most viewers had already stopped watching.

    I know I’ve been fast forwarding a lot, but what happened to the null field alpha plate that Jack removed from Angelo’s house? And why couldn’t the plate have been laid on Jack’s stomach to cancel the morphic field locally until his wound healed? And if the Blessing “switched” Rex because he had Jack’s mortal blood in him at the time (?!?), is Rex therefore only immortal now as long as he is on Earth and within reach of the Blessing?

    Maybe I should stop trying to make sense of this mess, but I can’t help trying to salvage something from season 4 because I love the character and mythology of Captain Jack so much. What a shame, after the heartbreaking tragedy, spine-tingling suspense, and fantastic continuity and character revelations in Children of Earth.

    I am hoping that the Doctor unravels this particular timeline (“Time can be rewritten” — Tenth Doctor to River Song, The Forest of the Dead).

  12. Matt Marquissee says

    It was a decent episode, but the series was badly organized as a whole. Davies has to go. He cannot handle big arcs or big ideas. Doctor Who is proof. It was able to become more complex without Davies and it’s well-received. It’s must-watch show for me now.

    Miracle Day was just too big for him, maybe.

  13. Evert says

    Couldn’t agree more. I hate it when continuity is thrown out of the door and emotion for the sake of emotion, and FX for the sake of FX take precedence over established storylines.
    On itself the story may make some sense on its own, but as part of the whole Who/Torchwood picture it certainly doesn’t. It feels like it was written independently and then shoehorned into a Torchwood storyline?
    It leaves me with a nasty aftertaste that will take some time to get rid off.

  14. Emmitt says

    First off, this episode was pretty much a dash of fanservice (a “what what what” at the end?, that’s awesome!) + exposition + teaser for series 5 (see comment after fanservice).

    I must say that it’s definitely in the top half of this series in terms of my (varying) enjoyment throughout the 10-episode arc, but it’s not as great as it could have been.

    This series has, overall, been disappointing, but I’m not sure if it was the fact that the series had too many episodes or that the writers just didn’t know exactly what they were going for… it was still, at times (primarily in the first few episodes, then 7 and 10), a heck of a ride.

    And now I just have to prepare myself for Doctor Who to end in a month… I’m definitely going to miss THAT, especially since it sounds like there won’t be a regular series next year.

  15. Joshua Sharmant says

    …..Strangely similar to Illuminati theories…

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