Torchwood: Miracle Day
The New World
By DJ Forrest
It has to be said that after ‘Children of Earth’ the return of Torchwood with a new format and a new location, received a lot of mixed reviews. Not everyone was happy with the story line, nor where it was set – no longer the streets of Cardiff, but across the pond to the US of A. It had a different theme tune and it just felt very new. And most of all, no matter how many people Jack would be seen with, nobody was going to be a patch on Ianto Jones.
That being said, Miracle Day allowed us to see more Jack time that probably wouldn’t have been allowed back in 2006. Plus, a lot more action with car chases, scenery and outside filming than we saw in the first three seasons. And with a larger cast list of well-known actors from the world of film, not just of television. I mean Bill ‘Independence Day’ Pullman, as well as the guy from Star Trek and the unfortunate guy from Jurassic Park, who I used to also like in Dirty Dancing. (Brian Friedkin)
So let’s catch up with Jack and Gwen and the story thus far:
It’s been over a year since the 456 and the destruction of the Torchwood Hub in Cardiff. Gwen and her husband Rhys along with daughter Anwen – (remember, Gwen was pregnant at the start of Children of Earth), are living in the remotest part of the Gower Peninsula, in a house overlooking the vast beach. Still wary that at any time they could be facing off an enemy from air, sea or land, both adults are armed and ready when two presumed hikers knock on the door asking for directions. Shocked by her own reaction, gun behind her back, Gwen fears for the moment when she might just fire at the wrong person, and bring the might of the world to their own doorstep. That’s Torchwood for you.
Across the pond, convicted paedophile, Oswald Danes is facing death by injection at 6am at the Montrose Hill State Penitentiary, in the state of Kentucky. The mother of the dead child Susie Cabina watches. Everything appears to go as planned, except as the poison is released into Danes’ body, he begins to jerk violently. So violently in fact that he tears the wrist restraints from the bed. Guards rush in and the curtain is pulled around.
Esther Drummond, Watch Analyst to the CIA is on the phone to her boss, Rex Matheson, who is currently driving in the pouring rain, somewhere in Washington DC. It’s a lousy night.
She asks him if he’s ever heard of Torchwood, as the name has been emailed to every single East coast section chief, completely bypassing security. Noah, and Charlotte, two other analysts are also following the trail as the screen in front of them, and all screens across the room begin to flicker, and everything to do with Torchwood, vanishes.
Rex isn’t interested in Torchwood. It’s a British thing. It would be too much hassle to try and unravel the administration behind the Institute. The truck ahead of him slams on its brakes and a loose steel pipe flies off the back of the truck and harpoons him.
In Wales, Gwen awakens from a nightmare.
Rex, despite his severe injury which would have seen any normal man die, is still alive. But then according to Dr Juarez, so are all her other patients. For some, their injuries were life threatening, but yet, nobody has died, and the morgue staff are having a party, as let’s face it, no body means, no work, and hey, an early night!!!!
Of course, by now we know something is going on, and if this is Torchwood then we know it’s not something of this world, but what on earth could it be?
Flying over the farmhouse, a helicopter disturbs Gwen. Out in the remotest part of the countryside, where cars need to park a distance away, where there are no trains and transport could mean across the sea, Gwen finds the helicopter a distraction too far. Rhys however, fears nothing. What could possibly harm then now?
When they receive the knock on the door from those two hikers I mentioned earlier, Gwen goes into Torchwood mode. Of course, in her mind, her sane mind, where babies and living in a quite remote area of Wales, without ever having to think of Torchwood and her life on the run during the 456, how could two middle aged people dressed in hiking gear be anything more than civilians?
Esther sits in the hospital in Washington DC at 3 in the morning, when Vera Juarez comes to see her. She knows Rex quite intimately but at this point, we don’t know that. Expecting the worst, Esther prepares herself, but Vera surprises her with news that he’s going to make it. Of course, everyone who is wheeled in from an ambulance is going to make it, from gunshot victims to car crashes to suicides. Nobody has died, nobody in 24 hours. Vera had phoned her ex-husband in Cedarbrook, and her friend in London at the Royal Free Hospital, and since the start of their shift, nobody had died.
News reporters across the state are declaring that after Oswald Danes survived his execution, and reports coming in from hospitals that all patients on the critical list hadn’t died either, that this was in fact, a Miracle Day.
So, the question remains, what do you do with a convicted paedophile who survived his execution? Ideally you’d prefer he remained incarcerated because let’s face it, the charge of paedophilia still remains. He still murdered Susie Cabina. And nobody will ever let him forget it. His infamous quote at the trial – ‘She should have run faster’ will sit in everyone’s craw for many years to come. But what do you do with him. He has after all served his time.
Danes, an educated man, underneath it all, runs rings around the representative from the governor’s office, Alexander Peterssen. Quoting the Fifth Amendment that no person could be subject for the same offence twice, Danes threatens Peterssen that for every second he remains incarcerated, his lawyers would sue the governor to high heaven, if he were not released.
Esther is not going to give up on Torchwood. When you have a bee in your bonnet, you want to get to the bottom of it. When every search engine draws a blank on the name Torchwood, Noah finds it odd, and Esther knows that although much of the world is digital these days, there will be paper copies somewhere. Noah advises her to drop the search, as every person who worked for Torchwood died young.
Rex, awake is bored out of his mind. A nurse breaks this by telling him that his survival was not an isolated case. So flicking through the channels he finds much more of the same thing. People across the world, not just the US of A, but Asia, Africa, Europe, the story is the same. Nobody has died.
People who should be dead, who were dead, are now sitting up in their hospital bed. It’s freaking nurses and doctors out and many refuse to treat them. It’s unnatural. Which if you think about it, would be pretty freaky.
In Wales, during a spot of DIY, Gwen’s phone rings. It’s Andy with news of her Dad, who is sick. I think at this point I felt that if they’re not going to kill off the main cast, then family members were easy pickings. She has to return; this is her family after all.
At the Archives building, the archives manager explains to Esther that Friedkin has removed all the Torchwood files but Esther knows as does anyone, that there will always be some files somewhere that haven’t been lifted, and to convince him, she’s there to check. And so she does. Up ladders and on her knees, she goes through a series of references till she finds the one she requires. Listed under JF3238, she finds the 456 file. Opening the folder, she finds newspaper cuttings about the Children of Earth, photographs of the old team, and one of Gwen Cooper. Distracted for a moment she glances up to see a shadowy figure wearing a long great coat, at the end of the aisle. He instructs her to come with him, but spooked by his appearance she runs.
She finds the archive manager dead at his desk and turns in time to see Jack Harkness in front of her with a gun in his hand. He yells for her to get down and opens fire on a man with the machine gun behind her.
Not a field operative, Esther is notably scared. As she ventures up to the injured man on the floor, she worries that he may die. Jack informs her that ‘nobody dies these days’ to which the man on the ground opens his jacket to reveal C4 explosives. Jack and Esther leave through the upstairs window, into an ornamental fountain several floors below, as the building explodes.
Esther’s first meeting with Captain Jack Harkness gives her the information about the Institute, about when and why it was set up and who were still alive. But what it couldn’t answer, was why someone had been searching about Torchwood in the first place. Unfortunately for Esther, she would never remember any of the information, as good old Jack Harkness, true to his Torchwood form, had slipped her Retcon in her drinking water. What bothers Jack however, is not so much that someone had been looking for Torchwood, in order to bring him back onto the scene, for him to release malware to destroy all hard copies of the Torchwood files, but that he had received injuries after the fall, that were not healing, least not as fast as they should.
Jack visits the hospital where the gunman lies in the autopsy room. There has to be a point when a life can be severed, but when the surgeon detaches the bits connecting the skull to the torso and the man is still alive, something is horrifically wrong. Jack has to find out who is behind this.
Gwen discovers that her Dad has had a mild heart attack. Andy makes light of the situation, joking that he picked the right day to have it. Of course, living off the grid, Gwen has no idea what Andy is talking about. So a little catch up on the hospital computer puts her in the picture. With her Torchwood senses pricking up, she wants to find out more, but Rhys is not too keen on this, and voices his concerns later when she points this out in a quiet corridor.
When Esther wakes up, she’s surprised to find herself back in her room, and equally surprised to find a huge bruise on her body. Jack is equally surprised at the size of the bruise on his body. This shouldn’t be happening. He should have healed by now.
Back in work, Esther is given the last remaining Torchwood file from Noah and puts it in her drawer.
Rex is curious about the mortality rates in every single hospital in the world and asks Esther if there’s a database correlating the figures. She mentions that Torchwood files have gone to Friedkin. She feels the whole Miracle Day scenario is somehow connected to Torchwood but doesn’t know how. Rex recalls the first email with Torchwood and suddenly he sees the connection.
The last deaths in Shanghai and Washington DC had been reported in pretty much the same time, given the time difference. Rex was excited, Torchwood was the key to the whole thing. He instructs Esther to give him all the details of Torchwood while he pulls on his clothes, albeit awkwardly. Popping pills and borrowing a crutch, Matheson makes his way out of the hospital, despite Vera’s insistence that he remains in bed.
He tells Esther to get him a Requisition 15. He is going to the UK to find Torchwood and maybe solve the biggest case of his life.
His housekeeper meets him at the airport with his passport. Unable to get a gun onto the plane he instructs Esther to get him a handgun from UK security.
Once on board the plane, he keeps his phone attached to his ear, and demands to know from Esther, everything she has on Torchwood, and Gwen Cooper. When he doesn’t put his phone away at the bequest of the flight attendant, the passenger beside him snatches his phone away before Esther can get his passcode to get into the database.
On the ground finally, Rex is given a handgun. He gives Esther his password and hires a car. Esther gives him the information as he drives to Wales.
Reaching the remote farmhouse, Rex pulls out his gun as Gwen meets him at the door. His shirt is red with blood from the open wound. He’s sweating profusely and before he’s even got chance to say all he needs to say, he collapses.
In Kentucky, Oswald Danes is released from prison, against a backlash of disgust from people who think he should have remained in prison.
Rhys is hopeless at tying knots unless it’s for wrapping presents. Rex is able to unravel the knots securing him to the radiator in the spare room. Rhys and Gwen are hurriedly packing when they hear the helicopter again. As Rex enters the hallway, spouting off about his injury, about how he should be dead but isn’t he really wishes he could hear himself speak above the noise of the helicopter. It’s at that point a bazooka fires through the window. Fortunately, it goes straight through the back window, striking the mountain in a ball of flame. Gwen with baby in arms, wearing furry ear muffs, opens fire on the helicopter as it flies to a safe position. She hits the would be assassin who falls back into the helicopter.
It’s time to leave and quickly. Piling out of the house, they run to the car but the helicopter fires off a series of rounds across the grass.
Another hail of gunfire throws the helicopter back and Gwen sees that it’s good old Captain Jack, standing on top of a Land Rover 90.
‘Can’t leave you alone for a minute.’ He calls over, resting the gun against his shoulder, smiling.
Rex stares in disbelief. It’s the man who sat beside him on the aeroplane, the man who snatched the phone out of his hand.
One of the best scenes I’ve seen in a long time is the ‘copter chase across the beach. Jack bombing down the sand driving the Land Rover, Rhys holding Anwen, and Rex finally helping them out by firing a machine gun at the black helicopter as it chases after them. This to me is Torchwood at its finest, and Gwen shows absolutely no fear at firing back at the helicopter with a bazooka.
After watching the ‘Behind the Scenes’ of the chopper crash, it still amazes me that they made it look so real, that the cast were staring in the direction of the ‘crashed chopper’. I loved that scene, especially where Jack smiles broadly. The old team, back together.
When they reach the Roald Dahl Plass later in the evening, the team discuss Anwen’s childcare, what equipment they still have from Torchwood, and Jack’s cuts that are not healing. When Rex who finds the whole conversation less than stimulating between Gwen and Jack, is told to get his injury seen to, Rex can’t believe the timing. His ride has arrived, along with the might of the UK police force. All weapons pointing at Torchwood. There’s nowhere to run.
Rhys is informed that Rex isn’t arresting them. This is a rendition. Quoting the 456 amendments to US code 3184, Rex is taking the Torchwood team to the US of A.
Whatever you might think of Miracle Day. It still happened. It brought our team together, and hopefully, Torchwood will remain as popular as Doctor Who, if not more, and will continue to be so for a very, very long time.
Next Month - Rendition